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.

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