03 October 2019

Critique: Agricultural landscapes

Aleksandra Dolezal will testify that Neil Gaiman’s law of typos, originally applied to books, also applies to conference posters. It doesn’t matter how closely you check, you will find a mistake as soon as the thing is printed and you can’t fix it.

Double, triple checked my poster PDF before printing and after it was done I found a small alignment mistake. Damn you brain for not seeing it earlier 🧠!! Oh well what’s done is done. I like the colours so still happy 🤗

Click to enlarge!

Before it went up, Hannah Brazeau said,

This very well may be the most beautifully designed poster I’ve seen. Amazing.

Hannah was not alone in her opinion. This poster won the award at the joint meeting of The Canadian Society for Ecology & Evolution, the Entomological Society of Canada, and the Acadian Entomological Society (or EcoEvoEnto2019 for short)! And the competition was fierce.

Aleksandra collaborated with her sister to achieve the distinct look of the poster (lightly edited from email).

Me and my sister, Amelia Dolezal, came up with this idea together. She helped make the flowers and icons. She was more of the fancy design guru whereas I was the logical researcher fitting in the blanks.

I’m pleased to give Amelia more visibility for her work on this poster, since her name was not on the original poster. Amelia has some graphic skills that she is putting into work as a tattoo artist.

This poster is a legitimate work of art.

The whole poster was drawn by using a tablet with Photoshop cs6, using a several different brushes. And all that text? That isn’t a font. The entire thing is hand lettered by Aleksandra. She wrote:

This was done with hand lettering in my own handwriting. I wanted it to be as personal as possible. I wanted it to look like my field notes and lab bench.

My only comment on the graphics is that I might like a tiny bit more contrast and/or brightness in some colours. When shrunk down (like for the preview on this blog), some of the text and images fade away. But when expanded to full size (three feet wide by four feet tall), I could see everything fine, so this is a very minor problem.

On her own blog, Aleksandra describes some of the creation of the poster, focusing more on the conceptual side of things rather than the nitty-gritty details. I particularly like this:

I have around 6 analyses in my these project that all have awesome, cool results but for this poster I decided on focusing on 3 that I think really put out the message I wanted.

It’s easy to look at the tasty visuals and conclude that’s why it’s successful, but Aleksandra clearly did the hard editorial work deciding what to include and what to cut.

External links

My advice for creating an academic poster on Aleksandra’s blog

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