17 April 2014

Critiques: Newtown and white noise

This following two posters come from a contributor who has asked to have identifying information removed from these posters. The creator of these wrote:

Coming from a design back ground, research posters have somewhat astounded me.

I think you can see the design sensibilities in these. There’s a lot more thought to typography, colour, and layout than I usually see (or do myself!).

First, we have a neighbourhood poster that pulls off some sophisticated grids (switching from 2 column to 3 column layout), has good use of icons, and interesting type choices.

I would be a little concerned if this was hung in a conference session where the light was low. Some features, like white text on the light blue background, might wash out if it was in dim lighting.

The next one is notable for me because I always find “portrait” posters (taller than wide) tricky. This one uses colour to make the reading order, in bands, clear. The muted colour palette is effective and appropriately calm (for a hospital poster). The drawing of the hospital bed combined with the large and evocative type used for “White noise” is an excellent entry point. Indeed, the “White noise” is an excellent example of the beginning typesetting exercise, “Make the word look like the thing is represents.”

My concern is that there is a lot of small text there. I would be deterred from stopping at it because of that.


Mike Taylor said...

Yes indeed, these seems to fall into equal-and-opposite errors from those of typical academic posters. I'm often astounded that designers seem to think that pale grey type of slightly paler grey background is a good way to communicate, and the white-on-sky-blue of the first poster is scarcely any better.

Just imagine if you got a designer (who cares about form) and a scientist (who cares about content) in a room together!

Julia Gustavsen said...

I really like the icons for the methods section on the Newtown Assessment poster. Graphics like this, if tastefully done, could really bring more interest to the often drab methods section.

The-Boyce said...

Thanks for the feedback. The two things for either poster turned out to be true. in the low, yellow light of the conference hall, the white letters were washed out. And when the white noise poster was stuck behind the snacks table, you couldn't read the small type. Luckily the topic was something that interested a lot of the faculty. I gave a whole prezi talk to my class in about an hour to help them design their posters. 3 years of design, in 60 min. fun stuff.