I’ve been reading bits and pieces of Geometry of Design, by Kimberly Elam, which I found randomly on a shelf in our Art and Architecture library. The book has many great examples of design and composition, and thoughts on the wonders of golden rectangles, pentagrams, and other shapes. It devotes a few pages to this excellent poster by Jan Tschichold from an exhibition of constructivist art:
It’s beautifully clean, conveys information, and draws the eye to the prominent “setting sun.” One can get a sense of how neat, and non-obvious, the arrangement is by flipping it upside down, which looks awful:
There’s a striking asymmetry in how we look at images — if I stare at the upside down poster, I find that my eye “wants” to move left-to-right, top-to-bottom, but is thwarted by the elements at the upper left. (Coincidentally, we spent part of my Physics of Life class today exploring our anatomical left-right asymmetries and their origins — a fun story for another time.)
I was thinking about this since our hosts-and-microbes systems biology center is organizing a symposium for this summer. The symposium looks like it will be great, and it already has a neat poster made by a postdoc in the center, with images and text describing the point of the meeting, speakers, registration information, etc. I started wondering what a more minimal, “modern” (in the historical sense) poster would look like. Cutting and pasting and lifting a flagellum from an old drawing, I tried to modify the Tschichold poster, but in a “upward and rightward” sense — unlike the waning days of constructivism, we’re in the waxing days of studying host-microbe systems. I came up with this:
The symposium title isn’t quit correct in typeface or in content (it’s actually “modeling our microbial selves”), and I obviously didn’t bother typing in the correct participant list. (Sadly, Piet Mondrian won’t be showing up.) I rather like it. It’s too uninformative to fly these days, but we can use it when inventing alternate histories of scientific research…
One thought on “Konstructing a poster”
I love it. We should use this some how.