20 April 2017

Critique and makeover: Weeding the library

Today’s contributor is Jodene Pappas. This poster is a bit of a break from the usual natural science that we see here on the blog, for which I am grateful. Click to enlarge!

My computer was not able to import the font correctly for the makeover I am about to show you. So the text does not quite represent what the author intended. But I wasn’t focused on the text, anyway. No, I want to talk about those arrows.

Arrows generally represent not only a failure of design, but a public admission of that failure. It says, “I know I screwed up, and that the order doesn’t follow the normal reading rules.”

The ethos of this blog, though, is to make things better. This means you work with what you have, and not always throw away the existing style.

My first concern is that the arrows are darker than almost everything else on the page. And the dark blue fill isn’t represented anywhere else on the eposter. This makes them stand out optically more than almost everything else on the page. The first step was to make the arrows lighter and harmonized with the other colours in the poster. I pulled the colour from the blue down in the left hand side.

The next things I wanted to address was the placement of the arrows. The arrows weren’t obviously aligned in any consistent pattern. I tried to center each arrow to something, but still had to give up in the top right most one, which pointed into white space.

Another little bit of colour harmonizing was in the text boxes. In the versions above, there is a thin light line, surrounded by a heavier, darker shadow. I make the two of them the same colour. I also wanted to make the shadows equally thick, but couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Finally, the placement of the arrows was still bugging me. The arrowheads weren’t consistently clearly past the outline of the box they were pointing to. I moved them so that the flat end of the arrow was flush with the text box it was emerging out of.

I turned the lines around the images from a black to the same light colour that surrounds the text boxes and outline the arrows.

Now, when you look at this poster, the emphasis is on the content, not how you navigate through the content.

Here, you can see the changes unfold:

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