12 December 2013

The one inch rule

One of the most common problems on posters is that things are too close together, which creates the impression of clutter. Let me propose an easy to remember rule for you.

Every element on the poster should have one inch between it and anything else.

The tricky part is to determine what makes up an “element.” For instance, I would treat the following as single “elements.”

  • The title, author credits, and institutional affiliations.
  • A heading and the text below it.
  • A figure and its caption or legend.
  • A column.
Examples of different “elements” that should have one inch of space between them:

  • The title and any logo.
  • The authors list or institutional affiliations and the text below it.
  • The bottom of one section of text and the next heading.
  • Every picture or graph, top and bottom, left and right.
  • Separate columns.
Here’s a quick way to check. Sinply draw a long, skinny, one inch box. Or maybe two: one horizontal, and one vertical. Send these boxes to the “back” layer so nothing autoflows around them. Drag them anywhere to make sure there is enough separation.

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