10 September 2015

Critique: Quality mitochondria

Today’s poster comes from Arunas Radzvilavicius, and is shown with his kind permission. Click to enlarge!

The layout, the colour, the generous space, the use of graphic touches are all things to like on this poster. It’s very nice. But sometimes, a poster’s own worst critic is its designer. Arunas wrote:

The optimal amount of text on the poster is something I still can't seem to get right. I always seem to reduce the amount of text to the possible minimum, but that often leads to the poster becoming unintelligible to people not familiar with the details of my research.

How much to write on a poster is always a challenge, although most academics have the opposite problem of Arunas and leave in far, far too much.

The low amount of text is inviting to a reader from a distance, but perhaps confusing when you get up close. Here’s the start:

Isogamy: mitochondria inherited from only one (UPI) or both (BPI) mating types. Ancestral metazoan state. BPI if mutation rate was low.

This is so condensed, it’s close to shorthand. I struggle to revise this into full sentences, because some of the logical connections between words have been erased by the editing. I think this might be close to true:

In isogamy, mitochondria are inherited from one (uniparental isogamy, or UPI) or both (uniparental isogamy, or BPI) mating types. Isogamy is the ancestral metazoan state, with BPI favoured if the mutation rate was low.

Full sentences add more clarity than they take up space.

Seeing this poster shrunk down, it might benefit from the headings being a little more prominent. The poster is a little dark overall, and the reduced contrast dos not help the headings to “pop.” Likewise, using all capitals for the headings make them a little harder to read from a distance.

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