MOAR ACRL Posters — This is the end, folks

Poster

April and I are wrapping up our series on stellar conference posters today with some wonderful submissions. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. It’s such a tricky medium, and I think the more examples we can see of good work, the better the quality of posters at professional conferences will become.

Data Management and Broader Impacts: A Holistic ApproachTitle: Data Management and Broader Impacts: A Holistic Approach
Presenter: Megan N. O’Donnell, Scholarly Communications and Science & Technology Librarian, Iowa State University Library

Megan’s poster is available via the Digital Repository at Iowa State University. Here’s what she had to share about her design process:

I wanted my poster to be bold, easy to understand, and fun. Since the topic was likely to be unfamiliar to some of the conference attendees, I also needed to accommodate some wordy bits for context. The layout was the most time consuming part – I had everything I wanted pretty early but getting it all to fit and look good took a long time. The wordy bits took up more room than expected but that’s partly because they were in 45 point font as I wanted it to be readable at a distance. This meant losing some valuable space but it was needed. I did save some time by using icons from Microsoft and Icons8.com though I did tweak, combine, and recolor everything on the poster because I was sticking to a limited color pallet. I guess the last thing I should mention is that this is a BIG poster. It measures at 7.5 by 3.5 feet. I did this on purpose. I like to maximize the space I’m given, but it also meant it was going to be expensive to print and a pain to travel with. In the end I decided to pay extra to have it printed on “polyfab” which is a thin vinyl like fabric that can be folded up and packed in a suitcase. My printing choices, while expensive, were worth it. The size of the poster was perfect –everything was readable–and the polyfab, while not without some quirks, was fantastic.

Growing a Sustainable Workshop Series

Title: Growing a Sustainable Workshop Series
Presenters: Chantelle Swaren, Assessment & Outreach Librarian and Nicole Tekulve, Team Lead, Information Commons, The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

Chantelle and Nicole had buttons, y’all. BUTTONS!!!!! Here’s Chantelle talking about their design process:

Nicole started out sketching her idea for the poster in PowerPoint since she is most comfortable working in that program. After the design direction was established, Chantelle built the working file in Photoshop for more design flexibility and to ensure high-quality output.

We wanted to give a visual nod to the ACRL theme of sustainability while keeping the poster as crisp and readable as possible. To that end, we discarded photos and intricate images in favor of simple icons and limited text. We converted all images and other design elements to fall within our established palette: Pantone 158C, 575C, and white. Many of our images came from openclipart.org and pixabay.com which are great resources for icons and other images.

Throughout the process, we sought input from friends and colleagues, including design help  from Nicole’s partner who runs the silkscreen and design business Grand Palace. If you are working on a poster, our advice is to invite other people to critique your work; it usually improves the final product! After you’ve looked at the same design forever it helps to have a fresh set of eyes suggest minor tweaks (as an example- that’s how we ended up adding the green bar within our poster’s header, which helps to anchor the title).

We decided to print with PosterPresentations.com and chose the SuperSaver Student Special option – and we were thrilled with the quality. We resized our design to best fit the canvas-size offered;  we adjusted the content to maintain fidelity with our original design, and the new dimensions allowed us to maximize the use of white space.

ButtonsChantelle was kind enough to share the original Photoshop file of their poster, which is now available on the Librarian Design Share Google Drive folder.

 

 

 

 

 

dancingdogsTitle: Dancing, Dogs, and Disco Balls: Sustaining a happy library outreach community
Presenters: Kathy Anders, Graduate Studies Librarian, Stephanie Graves, Director of Learning and Outreach, Elizabeth German, Instructional Design Librarian, Texas A&M University Libraries

Elizabeth German describes how the librarians from Texas A&M created their poster (and how it almost looked like a disco floor!):

The design process really started with the content. We had a couple brainstorming meetings drawing out ideas for what we wanted and we knew that we wanted to have a “happy” poster that embodied the same spirit of our outreach program.  At one point we thought about replicating a disco floor with the different squares being different sections of our poster. But things didn’t start taking shape until we had written everything that we wanted to be on the poster and then we tried to fit it into our design ideas, the dance floor just wasn’t big enough. The idea of a dance pattern just came to me in the middle of the night and we really liked the idea of the movement it implied. Again conceptually, we thought the different points might be inside the shoes of the dance pattern but once we were working with the content, it wasn’t going to work. In the end, I kept fiddling with the content and arrived at this design.

In terms of technology, we went old school and used PowerPoint. It’s a classic and has staying power for a reason. I used Photoshop to manipulate the photos. We don’t have administrative access on our computers, so if you want to install a font you have to send in a help desk ticket every time. I’ve gotten around that (with permission!) by having them install SkyFonts. It’s software that allows you to download whichever Google Fonts you’d like and so that way I had more creative control over the look of the poster. We used Wordle.net to create the wordle. For the data illustrations, we weren’t happy with the excel charts so I created those in PowerPoint. I think if I had more time, that is the one thing I would have gone back to fuss with more.

Take-aways:

  • Don’t sacrifice your content for the design
  • Let go of great ideas when they don’t work.
  • Try creating your own illustrations for data (instead of using Excel’s).

 

 

Spotted at ACRL: Posters, Part 2

Poster

When looking for the latest trends in services and cutting-edge technology, you should head to the Poster Sessions of any conference. Beyond introducing you to new concepts, you get to connect with the poster creators and really hear the story behind their research.  Through this series of posts, we hope to bring the virtual poster session experience to you.  Here are a few more of our faves from ACRL:

lisa support tickets

Title: Support Ticket Systems and Reference: New Opportunities, New Challenges, New Service Models
Presenter:  Lisa Campbell, Digital Learning Services Librarian, University of Michigan Library

Here’s Lisa discussing her design process and best practices for poster making and presenting:

I’m often facing limited time and frequent interruptions when working on conference materials. Design constraints help me to work efficiently and manage my stress. Starting work on this poster, I knew I wanted to fill the allotted space (a whopping 4×8 display board) and to use limited fonts, colors, and shapes.For the text, I picked Myriad Pro, which we use for many library communications. Sometimes I’ll seek fancier choices (I like Google Fonts, Font Squirrel, and dafont.com), but here, I wanted a font with which I was familiar. For the palette, I isolated 3-4 colors from a graphic I liked. These became swatches in Illustrator.

I took layout cues from my original poster proposal. I pulled 1-2 key points from each paragraph and pondered how to communicate them visually. I settled on a simple grid with a timeline, screenshots, and key takeaways. I sourced icons from The Noun Project and paid a licensing fee to use them without attribution. Then, I spent hours futzing with Illustrator until–voila!–the poster was done.

If you’re looking to create better posters, I encourage you to inventory your available resources (skills, support, software, printers, budget, etc.) and to let those, along with any guidelines you’ve been given, inform your design decisions. Any poster can be effective so long as its informative, organized, legible, and to-the-point.
And don’t forget to figure out how you’ll transport your poster. Were it not for some very last-minute magic involving a coworker, a hacksaw, a roll of duct tape, and two poster tubes, mine would not have made it to Portland.

nicole acrlTitle: Write Now: Supporting Student Success by Partnering with the Writing Center
Presenter:  Beth Anderson Schuck, Director, College of Southern Nevada Library Service, Nicole Sandberg, Reference & Instruction Librarian, College of Southern Nevada Library Services

Nicole discusses their design process:

We opted for a ‘flow-chart’ look because we thought that would reflect the fact that the project has been an evolutionary process and not just a static idea.  We supplemented that information with the pie charts to illustrate the differences between when students visit the Writing Center versus the Writing Center in the Library.

Based on Beth’s expertise from multiple previous poster sessions, we made the text as large as possible so that it could be read from far away.  For this reason, we kept the amount of text to a minimum and we also felt this encouraged people to ask us questions, which we wanted.  We thought a nice background image would enhance our theme, and found a simple image related to writing from Microsoft PowerPoint templates that blended well enough into the background.  Finally, the blue font and the box background (lower right corner) and the yellow box (lower left corner) closely match CSN’s school colors.

Strengthening Information Literacy  Collaboration Title: Strengthening Information Literacy Collaboration Between Library and Faculty Through a Faculty Associate Program
Presenters: Dorothy Ryan, Sarah Sagmoen, Nancy Weichert, Brookens Library, University of Illinois Springfield
Poster Librarian Designer: Janelle Gurnsey, Outreach & Communications Coordinator, Brookens Library, University of Illinois Springfield

Here’s a bit from Janelle about her process:

1. Content is King: You can design something beautiful regardless of the content. Come up with a good concept for your poster and then think about the design. The librarians created the content and I provided the design. It was in every sense a team effort.
2. Consider the Source: Things I take into consideration are, What am I designing? For what purpose? For whom? The poster on the Brookens Library Faculty Associate Program needed to represent the Library and the University, be professional, clean and easy to read. I used University branding standards to drive the design. I chose bright colors from the identity stamp to give an otherwise simple design a bit of punch. I created the original file in Illustrator .
Advice I would give to those with less of a design background is to use their librarian skills to look for things they know they like and then creatively emulate the principles of those designs.

A Meeting of the Minds

Title: A Meeting of the Minds: Multi-Office Collaboration for Grant Funding and Services
Presenters: Beth Stahr, Head of Reference/Instruction and Eric Johnson, Library Director, Southeastern Louisiana University

In designing our poster, we referred back to the abstract we submitted to ACRL to make sure that we incorporated all the original ideas in our proposal. The steps for collaboration with other campus agencies were the main information points to convey on the poster, so that block of text was located in the center. However, to make the poster more visually appealing, we considered the words in our title, and sought an eye-catching graphical representation of our theme. The words in our title that mattered were: minds, collaboration, funding, and services. As librarians always do, we identified key words for these concepts: brains, money and the use of arrows to show the input of multiple agencies working together. The four color-tinted brains, each representing a different campus agency, were placed on the left side of the poster, and worked together to bring funds, represented by a pot of gold, into the institution, represented by a classical style building. To depict the library’s “services,” we placed a photo of attendees and several slides from our training sessions on the right hand side of the slide. We added the results of a survey of participants to depict the assessment of our training.

While we created this design, we are fortunate to have both artistic and technical expertise at our University’s Center for Faculty Excellence. Their staff helped with font, spacing and color selection and suggested the gradated blue background. The Center also has a large poster printer available for faculty who create posters for conferences. Our poster was created in MS PowerPoint and then re-sized for the Epson Stylus Pro 9800 44-inch roll-paper color inkjet printer. We recommend that someone with an eye for graphic design review any poster to be displayed at a conference.

Spotted at ACRL: Posters, Part 1

Poster

Last week April and I were lucky enough to attend and present a panel at ACRL 2015 in Portland. Creating attractive conference materials is challenging, but there were so many fantastic posters at ACRL that we knew we had to feature them on Librarian Design Share.

This is the first in a series of posts on eye-catching design we spotted at ACRL. We’ve tried to give each of the presenters/designers a chance to share their creative process with you. We hope you enjoy it!

Poster Sessions

One of the most challenging conference presentation mediums is, I think, the research poster. There is so much information to share in such a limited space. You want your poster to be attractive and engaging, but you also want it to tell a story. Finding the right balance between text and images can be difficult. The posters below are ones that caught our eye with their interesting presentation design.

 

2 Librarians, 2 Universities: Serving International StudentsTitle: 2 Librarians, 2 Universities: Serving International Students
Presenters: Laurie Bridges, Instruction and Emerging Technologies Librarian, Oregon State University, and Jimena Sagas, Foreign Languages & Literature Librarian, Colorado State University

Here’s Laurie discussing their design process:

Our poster was designed using Canva, after I put out a call to the Twitter-verse asking for a “better way” to design posters, and Dani Cook, a librarian at the Claremont Colleges, suggested Canva. The only drawback of Canva was that I could only make the poster a little over 4 feet wide. However, the ability to have the poster in the cloud allowed Jimena and I to work on it and make changes without having to save and email designs back-and-forth, which I loved! And Canva has templates and free clip art, which we used liberally (all of the icons and design elements in the poster came from Canva’s free clip art).

Before becoming a librarian I held a position as the Marketing Coordinator for University Housing and Dining Services at Oregon State University. I supervised a full-time graphic designer and routinely worked with student designers. Although I am not a graphic designer myself, my past experience in marketing greatly informed the design of our poster. For example, because I worked in print media, I know that posters (at least 10 years ago) always had a “call to action” somewhere along the bottom. So, somewhere along the bottom of the poster you should tell your customer what you want them to do next (in our case it was visit our bundle of bitly links). Also, when I worked in print media I learned that people view posters and one-page flyers in a Z pattern – the eye begins in the top left, moves to the right, then diagonally to the left bottom, and finally ends at the bottom right. Therefore, it is best to have your logo, or other identifying information, in the bottom right. And, finally, I knew I wanted bright colors on our poster, to attract attention, and I didn’t want too much information in the poster, because it should act as a “teaser,” prompting people to either act on our “call to action” or talk to Jimena and I at the poster.

Sowing Seeds of Success - Community Collaboration for College ReadinessTitle: Sowing Seeds of Success – Community Collaboration for College Readiness
Presenters: Lindy Scripps-Hoekstra, Area Studies & Religious Studies Librarian & Gayle Schaub, Liberal Arts Librarian, Grand Valley State University

Lindy discusses their design process a bit:

We used Canva to create our poster. It is really user-friendly and intuitive. They have some really nice fonts and allow users to upload their own images. Anyone interested in making a poster can use the custom sizing to create large-scale prints.  I’ve also used this website to create fliers for my faculty and signage with librarian profiles.

In terms of poster content, we wanted to continue with the conference theme of sustainability by using a plant growth metaphor and related imagery to help guide the eye through our information. We also wanted to include photos of our students without having this overwhelm or distract from the content so we placed those in a simple row at the bottom.

Back it Up! Data Management Practices of University Researchers

Title: Back it Up! Data Management Practices of University Researchers
Presenters: Penny Beile, Associate Director, Information Services and Scholarly Communication, University of Central Florida & Erica England, Adjunct Librarian, University of Central Florida

Here’s Penny talking about this wonderful, 4-panel design:

I usually report poster session research results in a very traditional, text heavy manner – Introduction, Methodology, Results and Discussion, with a couple of charts thrown in.  This time my colleague, Erica England, and I wanted to create an infographic that summarized the information in a visually compelling and simple way.  I often browse infographics sites to get ideas about presenting data and used easel.ly to create the poster.  There are a number of free sites for creating infographics, but easel.ly is the best I’ve found so far.  Erica and I also decided to create four 24”x31” posters instead of a larger 48”x96” poster for ease of transport.  (I only had to take a 24” mailing tube; much easier to carry around than a 48” one!)  After I created an account, I shared login information with Erica, which allowed us to work on the posters from different locations.  We were able to make charts and a wordle, then upload and use those files.  After creating a graphic you can save as a .pdf file, embed in a web site, or share via a link.

Inspired By the Movies: Wes Anderson Makes All Slides Better

Slideshow Templates

ACRL 2015 was amazing, folks. There were so many brilliant, passionate, friendly librarians in one amazing city that I thought my head might explode. Two of those rad librarians were my co-presenters, April Aultman Becker (also co-creator of Librarian Design Share) and Abe Korah. On Friday afternoon we presented a panel on facilitating inquiry throughout the research process and helping students develop thoughtful questions.

These are our slides.



As we were planning our presentation, April and I joked to Abe that we were going to model our slides on a Wes Anderson movie. We’re big fans of his quirky visual style and thought it might be an appropriate look and feel for Portland.

Thanks to April’s fast-as-lightning investi-googling skills, we ran into this fantastic Wes Anderson Color Palettes Tumblr and decided to use the color scheme from Moonrise Kingdom.

Moonrise Kingdom Color PaletteWe also decided to lift an additional color from Suzy’s dress, which gave us some pink for highlights and a fun background for some of our slides.

Suzy's amazing pink dressThe fonts we used were Josefin Sans and Damion, both of which are available as Google Fonts (JS | D) as well as free desktop downloads (JS | D), which is a must if you want to coordinate your handout with your slides (which you know we did).

Our icons (credited on the last slide) come from the always amazing Noun Project, and were just modified according to our color scheme using Adobe Photoshop. The slides themselves were created in Google Slides.

You can access the published version of our Google Slides above, but if you’re interested in adapting them, leave a comment with your email address and we’ll share a copy with you. Or email me at varellano at gmail dot com.

Making an Impact with your Slide Deck

Slideshow Templates

With many of us in academic libraries heading out to Portland today and tomorrow for ACRL 2015, it’s a good time to talk a little about what makes a good slide deck. Today’s submission is an example of a presentation with

  • clean lines,
  • a nice cohesive color scheme,
  • great statement photographs,
  • clear, attractive font choices, and
  • good use of text alignment for emphasis and impact.

This slide deck is courtesy of Alana Verminski, Collection Development Librarian at the University of Vermont Libraries and Kelly Blanchat, Electronic Resources Librarian at Queens College from their 2015 ER&L conference presentation:


We created the slides using Google Slides and most of the images were made using Google Draw. All the fonts are from Google Fonts. Kelly did some work in Photoshop to tweak a few of the images and the spreadsheet used in slide 10 was developed in Excel. Our presentation addressed many of the challenges (new) electronic resources librarians face when starting or transitioning into a new role. We focused on workflows and how revamping and developing new processes can facilitate the building of a new professional identity and gaining respect from colleagues.

You can contact Alana or Kelly for more information about their fantastic slides.

Keepin’ It Quiet

Library Signage

It’s cold in the Mid-Atlantic y’all. I’m trying to unfreeze my fingers by typing this morning, and what better way to warm up my joints than by sharing designs that tackle an issue we all wrestle with in our respective libraries: Noise. The best of libraries are filled with people reading and chatting, studying and collaborating, and this dual use can often pose a problem when some of our patrons want to converse and others want extended silence. I’ve found myself at either end of this spectrum (as I’m sure we’ve all been). I’ve been shushed and gotten the stink-eye from students for talking too loudly, and I’ve had to ask students to turn down their beats because everyone in their section of the library can hear the tunes blasting from their headphones.

Designating certain areas of the library as different noise level zones can help alleviate some of these noise conflicts, but good signage is key. Patrons need to be aware of the noise level preferred in different parts of the library, which is why I like this great submission by Michael Hughes, Instruction Librarian at the Coates Library at Trinity University.

Noise Level Signage

Noise Level Signage – Coates Library – Trinity University

Michael adapted the following graphic from the University of California, San Francisco Libraries (with permission) and incorporated a free icon into the design.

Noise Level Signage

Original Noise Level Signage – University of California, San Francisco Libraries

As an alternative, Michael also created the following sign, which, although busier, takes the same theme and adds a new twist on it.

Quit Study

What I love about all of these noise level signs and posters is the neutrality of language. Instead of “noisy” we see the terms “conversational study” or “active learning,” which I think motivates patrons to remain respectful of those around them.

As an alternative, we have these submissions from İpek Yarar at MEF University Library in Istanbul, Turkey, which I think do a nice job of using humor to kindly relay a message for noise control. All three feature an iconic Charlie Chaplin movie still.

Please be quiet

CC-Quiet-2

CC-Quiet-1

Do you have noise level signage at your library? What designs work best for your patrons?

You can find Michael’s original Photoshop files of his noise level signage and İpek’s printable signage (originally created with Adobe InDesign) on the Library Design Share Google Folder.

What’s On Your Image Carousel?

Web Design

A quick scan of library websites reveals that most have embraced the image carousel as a means of communicating news and announcements with library users. It’s how we share information about new resources, special events, library collections and any bit of information we think our patrons (or students or faculty or visitors) would like to know.

Creating effective images for a library website carousel can be a challenge. There is a delicate balance of imagery and text that, if distributed too far in either direction, can make your carousel announcements fade into the website background or cause digital users to shield their eyes and exit a page faster than you can say Google Analytics.

We’ve shared examples of web slides and carousel images in previous posts, and today we bring you a few more examples courtesy of Michael Hughes, Instruction Librarian at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Two Screens Are Better Than One. Check Citations on Your Phone

Here’s what Michael has to say about creating effective web announcements:

I create carousel images for our website in order to promote new acquisitions or services. Here are two banners I made, one for our site-wide New York Times subscription and another for our mobile citation tool. Heat map testing demonstrates that the carousel is one of the least-clicked parts of the library website, but my images also appear in a slideshow that plays in the library’s cafe. At any rate, the carousel is just one component of an outreach strategy and, as a bonus, the images keep the website from appearing disused.

Enjoy Full Access to NYTIMES.COM

Michael’s carousel slides present a nice balance of text and images while connecting website visitors to important library resources.You can download the original, editable Photoshop files of these slides from the Librarian Design Share Google Drive folder.

Honey Badger vs. Grumpy Cat

Instructional Materials

We live in a world of fickle and fast preferences.  Virginia Alexander, a Reference Librarian at The University of South Carolina Upstate, had previously used the honey badger meme featured here on Librarian Design Share to teach her classes Boolean logic, but recently found that her students either didn’t recognize the badger, or had tired of it. So, Virginia gave the meme an update using pictures from Creative Commons and Microsoft Publisher and Canva.com:

booleancats (1)

 

 

 

Here’s just hoping her students don’t say this next…

If Honey badger Don't Care You Think I Should? - If Honey badger Don't Care You Think I Should?  Grumpy Cat

image 

If you want to adapt Virginia’s Grumpy Cat meme to use at your own institution, contact her for the original files, or find them here in Librarian Design Share’s Google Drive.  If you do alter this meme, consider submitting to us…we can make this a recurring post!

Holiday Hours

Library Signage

Like many libraries out there, my library has reduced hours during the holidays.  This creates quite a bit of confusion for patrons, and it’s compounded when our signage looks like this:

hours before

Sure, all the information you need is right there, but it’s so hard to read.  I made this schedule to hang outside the library, and after printing it, I realized how bad it was. I took the same information and rearranged it into a calendar format:

hours after

Way better, right?  It’s so much clearer when we’re open and when we close early.  The color and graphics make the sign just a bit friendlier too.  It literally took 5 additional minutes to insert a table into Publisher and find the snowflake clip art than it did to make the block of text from the first sign.  I’d say it’s worth the effort!

We’d love to see examples of revised signage you all have tackled.  Submit your designs here!

Happy Medical Librarians Month (a little late)

Displays, Giveaways, Informational

October was National Medical Librarians month.  I realize that’s in the rear-view mirror now, but still wanted to share what we did to celebrate in my library this year.

I was inspired by a trip that Veronica and I took to the local Portland library while we were there for a conference.  The Multnomah County Library had a great display on their counter of colorful business cards with simple, effective icons and messages like the one below (I know, I should have collected them all!):

cardfront

I liked the idea that patrons could easily pick up the card to learn more about and learn more about the library’s services.  I wanted to implement this somehow at my own library. After brainstorming with staff, we decided to use the five weeks of October, which is National Medical Librarians Month, to celebrate our services. However, with our limited resources (read: me printing on cardstock on the staff machine and then using the paper cutter), we decided to make our takeaways just a bit bigger into the shape of bookmarks that we already are used to cutting and displaying.

Below are the five features we decided to highlight and the Publisher bookmarks (fronts on the top row and backs on the bottom) that I created:

bkmks

We were happy with the candy-colored printed bookmarks and thought that it would be really cool if these giveaways could coordinate with colors of REAL candy.  This involved a carefully planned trip to the grocery (thank goodness it was near Halloween with lots of candies to choose from), and some masterful exhibit making involving colored books, journals, and all the containers we could find in the library.  Here’s how it turned out week-by-week…please excuse the amateur photography:

Our library as a physical space:

orange

 

Our mobile resources:

IMG_1111

Our collections:

b1photo

Our educational offerings:

rml

Our archives:

photo purple2

 

Our patrons loved the changing displays and anticipated the colors, candies, and services they would see the next week.  Of course, more than anything, they liked the candy, but lots of good conversations were sparked in the month of October.

Do you celebrate months or certain days in your library?  We’d love to see your pics and materials if you do!  If you would like a PDF or the original Publisher document for the bookmarks, you can download them for adaption from the Librarian Design Share Google Drive.