At the recent Ecological Society of America interacting with (protected here and here), this was one of the posters that “popped” out at me. This poster likes, and dislikes me greatly, because there are many things that I would normally choose at on other posters, but bother me here don’t. For instance, I normally tell people to limit themselves to two colors; there’s at least four on display here. When speaking to the presenter, Dan Brooks, about it, I found out something uncommon: he previously not made it.
It was made by Marcia Hoang, a specialist graphic designer who works together with the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Marcia graciously agreed to answer some relevant questions for me about this poster and design. Q: Because you’re a designer, not a scientist, have you ever gone to a scientific conference before and seen the posters?
A: I have never been to a scientific conference before, but I do work at the Houston Museum of Natural Science as a visual designer for displays. I believe that helped me a lot when making this poster, knowing what factors to point out and what points were less very important to viewers see initially. Q: Would you describe the process of dealing with the researcher, Dan Brooks, on this? How much of the text and graphs does he offer you, and exactly how much do you create?
A: Dan Brooks was great, because he previously everything he wanted on the poster all set, and a resource of images and graphs. Although Dan provided me with graphs and pie charts, I wanted to redesign them in the order that they were easier to read and had the same look and color scheme as all of those other poster.
Q: What software do you use to put the poster together? A: I used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Q: One of the things that is very striking about this poster is the use of color. I advise people to stay away from many colors on posters often, since it seems easy to do more damage than good! Was there any sort of plan behind the use and selection of colors? A: I believe color is very important to a poster if used correctly. I selected colors that originated from the goose to inspire the rest of the poster. I then used these colors to separate parts of information from each other.
Q: I see on your website that you’ve done other science-based images, like “Biggest stars” and “Skull wall structure.” Is creating a scientific graphic any different than other projects? A: Yes, both of the tasks you called were for the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land. Designing a scientific image, for education especially, has many limitations.
Often times, the sort must be quite large for audiences of all age range to read it, and color schemes have been established by the main topic of the graphic already, i.e., the stars in outer space glow with certain colors already. While certain design liberties are not accessible, it is part of the designer’s job to push these boundaries, to be creative, to have the ability to catch the viewer’s eye. Q: Do you have any advice to help a scientist making a poster?
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Putting it another way, what exactly are the pitfalls that individuals not trained in design fall into again and again? A: I see insufficient hierarchy in text often. Hierarchy is vital so that viewers may scan a large poster with an abundant amount of information and know the overall points it covers. Another mistake many people make is putting photos that are or pixelated not well photographed onto their shows. We are extremely visual, so beautiful images tend to be the very first thing to draw the optical eye.
Q: Straight graphical design geekery now: Are you experiencing a popular typeface? A: I trim towards thinner typefaces usually. I am a big fan of Archer. Also, to add to the prior question: please stay away from Comic Sans, Papyrus, Courier, and the wants. Stick to something easy to read and you shall be all right.