Design Challenge: Poster Session

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My classmate Sunshine Baker and I worked on a paper together for our Quantitative Research Methods class.  Earlier this year, our project was accepted for the UCF Graduate Research Forum Poster Session.  We excitedly began working on our poster.  Sunshine typed up all of the relevant information into the PowerPoint template we were required to use.  Here is our “Before” poster:

beforeposter

After adding in the content into the template, Sunshine handed over the first draft to me to focus on design.  We had a list of requirements from both UCF and the Nicholson School of Communication.  I compiled that list of requirements together in a Word document.

Next, I took a look at some sample posters while considering how I would approach our design and layout.  I was not impressed.  To learn more, just do a Google search and a Google image search for “poster session examples.”  YIKES!  Hideous.  I also did a survey of the posters in our graduate lounge and the graduate conference room, but I wasn’t super impressed by anything I saw.

I turned to other places for design inspiration.  UCF has a page on their website called “Brand and Identity Guidelines” explaining our school fonts, colors, and design samples.  I used this as inspiration for the poster to promote a sense of school pride and spirit.  I decided to go with black, white, and gold for our colors based on the brand and identity guidelines, and I selected the fonts used by our school: “Americana” from the UCF logo and “Adobe Caslon” from many marketing materials.

After I decided how I would approach the design for our poster, I realized I just couldn’t work in PowerPoint 2007.  After calling the poster “help” line and hearing that the template only existed in PowerPoint, my genius designer/superteacher BFF Chiara Ojeda suggested that I just open the template in Keynote.  Voilà!  (And also: why didn’t I think of that?)  I began designing the poster using Keynote, a far superior program if you asked me.  After many, many long days of work and the help of Flickr and The Noun Project, I created our finished product.

Here she is, our “After” poster:

diningdishingposter

If I had one more week to work on the poster, I would be 100% happy with it, but knowing the time limitations, I am definitely satisfied.  The final task in this journey is to prepare for the Graduate Research Forum.  The posters will be judged first, and then the poster session will begin.  Sunshine and I will be talking to people about our research and answering questions about our work.  I can’t wait!  Since this is my first poster session, I am nervous because I don’t know what to expect AND excited because it’s new and fun and challenging.

Have you ever been given a serious design challenge you had to work hard to overcome?  Share with me!

Design Inspiration

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When I begin creating a new deck of slides for my class, I first focus on storyboarding my content in the “Presenter’s Notes” section of Keynote.  After I decide how I’m going to organize my information, I begin the presentation design process.

It has been a few months since I’ve created a new deck of slides, so I wanted to ditch the old favorite layout, colors, and font to design something brand new and beautiful.  To do this, I turn to a folder on my computer and a Pinterest board called “Design.”  Using these two mediums, I collect design ideas – colors I like, web design that speaks to me, text on a shape that looks good, for example.  Today, as I’m still thinking about the design for this upcoming slideshow, I want to share some of my favorite design inspiration with you:

First, I am loving the simple packaging of Forever 21’s new makeup line:

forever21makeup

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Second, I love the new Lilly Pulitzer website.  With its moving elements and interconnected pieces on the home page, Lilly Pulitzer takes the prize as the first website I’ve ever seen that keeps me coming back not only for the clothing but also to see the tiny tweaks and updates in design.  For example, a few months ago, I “Pinned” this shot on my “Design” Pinterest board because of the combination of type and image.

Third, I’ve been really into a two simple, kitchen-inspired color palettes from Design Seeds:

designseeds

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Last, but not least, I am loving these tips on how to mix and match fonts.

How do you find and then keep track of your design inspiration?

Ethos3’s Your Business Needs Visual Content

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Slideshare began supporting infographics in addition to slideshare decks a few months ago, and I love the important and well-designed messages I’ve been seeing.  For a stunning example of the new, scroll-down layout, check out Ethos3’s infographic.  Designed with their signature color scheme, the message is important: visual content dominates.

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Since we talked about the importance of visuals in Professional Communication and Presentation on Friday, I especially loved Ethos3’s infographic about mid-way through.  The data visualization explained that from 2008 to 2013, bullets were banished and more images were used.  To all of my fellow presentation designers, thank you for your good work!  We are seeing a significant increase in effective slides.

What is your favorite piece of Ethos3’s “Your Business Needs Visual Content” infographic?  Have you used Slideshare’s new infographic tool yet?