Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Crayons & Paper

The deadline for submitting our ACRL LibGuides poster to campus printing services draws near. After determining which poster format to use, keeping in mind the printer guidelines, we hit a blank wall, literally. It's amazing how overwhelming a blank eight foot canvass brimming with expectation can be.

Earlier this week we had a break-through concerning poster design and layout. Confident it will be visually appealing and properly support our abstract and outcomes; we are now suffering with a few lingering qualms about size; text box size, font size, graphic size and readability sizing to be exact. The problem? We are judging said readable size on a poster that is eight foot by three foot currently depicted in miniature on our computer screen (see rendering @ 25% below).

While we know the font sizes range from 40 to 60, the long view is overwhelming (if not microscopic). Sections by section representations increased to 50% and 100% are helpful for specking pixel distortion, but not particularly helpful viewed across the room to gauge that readability factor.

This afternoon I decided the best way to allay this finicky concern was to create a physical representation of the poster. Luckily, I have easy access to just the tools in the Instructional Resource Center and commenced using crayons (it needed to be in color), white bulletin board paper (its three foot wide), and a yard stick to make a "to scale" map of a corner of our poster. Though I garnered several odd looks, I was working at the reference desk, I was soon able to color, cut, and tape my way to virtual poster success. I taped the finished product to the desk, stepped back the requisite three feet, was able to read all of the text, and could judge sizing of graphical elements to be suffice.

The mock poster is now patiently awaiting the verdict of my fellow presenters. To be honest, I am flush with success and wondering if I should tinker a bit more with the file in question. Maybe it could be bigger ...

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