On 2008-March-22 , at 21:56 , Zubin wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> This question would and should fall under the "very general" category:
> I have been using Inkscape for a while - but only to make small and
> simple graphics (I am a PhD student and I need to create figures every
> now and then). I now am faced with the daunting task of creating a
> poster. I have never done this before. Does anyone have any tips on
> how to make a powerful, yet beautiful and simple poster using
> Inkscape? In particular, if you have made a poster using Inkscape
> before, could you share your experiences with me? Any input would be
> helpful given that I know nothing about graphic design.
> I apologise in advance to those of you to whom this email doesn't
I use Inkscape to produce all my scientific graphics and find it very
convenient, especially now that PDF import and export are so good (get
a recent devel version to get those). I already did two posters with
Inkscape (that's not much but it proves it is definitely possible, and
actually very efficient).
I'm sure that having a specific class on it next month will help but
in the meantime, here is what I wrote (with screen shots) two years
ago, when designing a 2x1 m poster.
I added some information today, marked with >>>
A scientific poster has to be precisely organized, full of information
yet visually attracting and should be printable at different scales
(poster + handouts). Though Inkscape was not directly intended for
such use, all these goals were achieved with it!
[WARNING: big file. 7.5 Mb]
>>> now the pdf should be better thanks to he new PDF export
The layers and outline mode allowed to work on this complicated file
while keeping things responsive enough. When it got to the point that
the whole file was just too big (over 5000 objects) it was cut down in
pieces and all files were merged in the final document by import or
>>> cutting it down may not have been the best idea. but separating
in layers is very useful because hiding them helps the performance of
the renderer The outline mode is really useful too, and even better
now than it used to be
The gradients and scripts from the new "Effects" menu helped to create
an attractive look (well, attractive to me at least!). The bitmap
tracing feature and open clipart library provided scale independent
eye candy for some icons and other stuff.
The text was flowed into custom shaped frames so that it had a
"clever" position with respect to the graphics. It was edited though
the Text Tool palette which was easier on the eye and helped to focus
on content rather than on layout for a while.
All the vector graphics were produced in SVG and were therefore
completely editable within the poster which allowed to have a unified
look (for the fonts, line width, colors etc.). The "Apply style"
command (SHIFT+CTRL+V), the styles minibar and the swatches panel,
helped to unify the styles quickly.
In the end the SVG file was exported to EPS and converted to PDF in
order to be printed. The text was outlined to avoid font problems when
printing on some other computer for 2mx1m output. The PDF was scaled
down to A4 sheets in order to produce handouts.
>>> there again, the new pdf export would have helped
My additional advices/comments today would be:
- pick a simple color palette and stick to it. do not make it too rich
or too bright. you can play with some colors a bit in an Inkscape
document (use the fill and stroke paletter or the new color gestures http://www.inkscape.org/wiki/index.php/ReleaseNotes046#Color_gestures
) and then save it as a gpl (gimp palette) which you'll be able to
use afterwards (by putting in int ~/.inkscape/palettes). if the
quality of the printer is good enough, favor a colored background
(even if it is just grey) and make your graphics stand out a little.
maybe I am minimalist but a very good poster I saw was this one: http://jo.irisson.free.fr/dropbox/example_poster.pdf
. It really stroke me as clean, efficient, robust, to the
point, ....add whatever adjective you think would qualify Danish
- do not use a picture as a background, even washed out. it distracts
and brings nothing.
- people will tell you "why don't you use powerpoint to make your
poster? everybody does and it works great". no. absolutely not. don't.
ppt, or openoffice for that matter, are not designed to handle this
and they do a poor job at it. indeed many people actually use ppt to
make posters, and it shows.... not in the good sense ;)
- the requirement of hadling it in A4 to be printed on A0 is, in my
humble opinion, stupid. most tutorials you'll find on the web (e.g. http://www.tos.org/pdfs/sci_speaking.pdf
which is quite nice) will give you tips about the size of your
poster elements in cm, or points, at their final size. designing the
poster in A4 makes it more difficult to use all this information
because you need to make the conversion each time. Getting a sense of
how wide the paths in your graphics should be is also more
complicated. Finally, if you add photographs or other raster images
(i.e. not vector) they will scale poorly unless you do the math before
and convert them to insane dpi resolutions. Since Inkscape deals with
vectors, it performs just as well on a 2x2 m sheet than on a 32x32
pixels icon. Use this ability: set the default unit to be cm and use a
cm based grid on a document which is at the final size already. If you
really need to handle A4 in the end, just scale the PDF or the SVG
- and finally something that may be a bit more "scientific": put as
little text as possible on your poster. if you looked at my
screenshots above, this is not the example to follow ;). Now that I
look at it, this poster had too much text on it. Favor pretty pictures
and graphics that show your point. First it will make your poster
visually more attractive. Second it helps you get in touch with people
passing by. When someone glances at your poster, you should
immediately ask the person wether he/she wants you to walk them
through the content. The polite answer to this is "no, it's okay, I'll
just read it a bit ans ask you questions afterwards", which usually
ends up in the person just vaguely reading and leaving as soon as
there's an opening. If there's not much text on your poster people
won't be able to answer you that, they'll hesitate and say "yes", and
then you got the possibility to shine and show them how great your
science is. you'll make an impact on their minds this way.
- some might argue that you may not be standing if front of your
poster the whole conference, or that people will forget what you said
immediately after leaving the conference (or even the poster hall!).
This is why, in addition to your poster, you should have a A4 recto-
verso handout version, with text this time, that you can hang next to
the poster or distribute after giving your presentation. ideally, you
should prepare all your graphics and text beforehand, then cut down as
much as possible to design the poster and finally scale down the
graphs from the poster onto an A4, add the text (this why you need
recto-verso handouts: there's more stuff to fit) and make it your
handout. oh and make many copies, people love paper.
This is all just my personal opinion of course, but I hope it helps.