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Making Conference Posters


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A set of notes for a workshop by Paula Johanson for University of Victoria's Electronic Textual Culture Lab, discussing how to make conference posters, using a template by Colin Purrington

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Making Conference Posters

  1. 1. Making Conference Posters A quick introduction by Paula Johanson Using a template by Colin Purrington
  2. 2. Why Posters? • Make a manageable introduction to your paper with a poster. • Posters can become images you’ll use with #hashtags in Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram. • Posters are useful in Twitter conferences. Here’s a sample Twitter chat promo
  3. 3. Poster Sessions • Bring a poster to conventions, even if you’re not speaking on a panel. • Poster Sessions are an opportunity for conversation and networking. • Sessions can be formal presentations or one-on-one conversations. • Make a forum for diversity, marginal knowledge, and half-baked ideas.
  4. 4. Start With Your Paper • Start your poster based on your paper or journal article. • Sum up your paper in 500 to 900 words. Even shorter is better! • Your poster introduces people to your topic, it’s not your complete paper. • Cut and paste sentences onto a template for your first try.
  5. 5. An Award-winning Poster James O’Hanlon trimmed his paper to a title and one sentence, with one graph and a photo. 5/01/09/conference-posters-less-is-more/
  6. 6. Choose a Template • Template by Colin Purrington • His website covers ALL the basics • poster-design Read it all at leisure! • It has links to other templates and freehand designs
  7. 7. Open Template • Open a template in PowerPoint on a Mac or OpenOffice on a PC. • You also can use templates in Quark Xpress, Scribus, LaTeX, InDesign, or PosterGenius. • Or you can design posters freehand in Inkscape (see this example). • Changing platforms can lose images, distort text, or distort size.
  8. 8. Modify the Template • Change the size of the template first. Then paste text into boxes. • A template's font sizes are the smallest you should use. Use bigger fonts when possible. • Posters use few words in large fonts. Your audience reads while standing. • Compose a title short enough for two lines of type.
  9. 9. Choose a Graph • Fit a graph inside a small text box. Leave room for about 50 words above it. • Or center a big graph inside the biggest text box. Leave room for 100 to 150 words above or below it. • Illustrate a striking fact. • Two or three bright colours. • Bold designs show up well.
  10. 10. Choose Images • Tiffs look better than jpgs, but both work. • An image might fit in an upper corner of the poster. • Or, fit an image in a small text box. • An image can work as background with text boxes laid on top. • Suggestions: • Book cover or illustration • 200 dpi or better • Or paste a high-quality photograph onto the poster
  11. 11. Citations • There is room for only a few citations. • Format citations carefully. Because there are two columns in this section, you may need to add a blank space or blank line. • Or, write: “All citations available with complete text of my paper at this link:” and include an URL and a QR code for a website.
  12. 12. Acknowledgements • In your Acknowledgements section, put your copyright notice and Creative Commons licensing notice. If that information is elsewhere on the poster, consider deleting this text box. • Acknowledgements of funding or logos, if required, could be put here. • Alternatively, use this text box to showcase a crucial quote.
  13. 13. For Further Information • In the For Further Information section, put an URL and a QR code that link to a website with your entire article. • This web page can be on an official website for your project or department. Or, you can make a simple website in Blogger or Wix or Wordpress. • If you already have that link in your Citations section, use this box for an illustration or delete it.
  14. 14. Proofread and Save! • Proofread and save your poster. Get someone else to proofread it. • Check if your print shop can open it in the platform you used. • Open a copy in PowerPoint, correct distortions made by changing format, then save that version also, because someone will ask for a PowerPoint. • Save a version small enough to print on an ordinary printer.
  15. 15. Printing • Print your poster at a professional print shop. • Store your poster rolled in a mailing tube. • Paper posters laminated with plastic, or ones printed on vinyl, are re-usable. • Consider printing on no-wrinkle fabric.
  16. 16. At the symposium “The Many Masks/Masques of Heidegger: Technology, Poeisis and Humanism” the focus text was Heidegger’s “The Question Concerning Technology,” which is both a critique of technological thinking and a call for a return to an understanding of technology which primarily involves creativity. Canadian author Cory Doctorow shows an understanding of this technology; all his novels are released in free digital download format simultaneous with each title's release in print format. This controversial marketing strategy is a crucial element in Doctorow's creative paradigm and in his entrepreneurial activities in the emerging digital economy. In the article “The Question Concerning Technology” where Heidegger discusses technology which primarily involves creativity, his comments are appropriate to matters of publishing, distribution, copyright and other rights. “Unlocking, transforming, storing, distributing, and switching about are ways of revealing. But the revealing never simply comes to an end. Neither does it run off into the indeterminate. The revealing reveals to itself its own manifoldly interlocking paths, through regulating their course. This regulating is, for its own part, everywhere secured. Regulating and securing even become the chief characteristics of the revealing that challenges.” This paper was for the symposium “The Many Masks/Masques of Heidegger: Technology, Poeisis and Humanism” May 7th, 2014 at Vancouver Island University, directed by Richard J. Lane and Emily Marroquin for their research series on “Heidegger in the Digital Age: Being and Time, Technology and Humanism” organized by the Seminar for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. There are, of course, regulations by some publishers for the security of digital rights management (DRM) of books in electronic format (e-books). These regulations are far stricter than those in place for printed books. As Doctorow discusses on his website, DRM for e-books does not permit book-buyers to loan e-books to friends or put an e-book in another format or device, treating such acts as piracy which costs the publisher the loss of a sale. “The entertainment industry calls DRM 'security' software, because it makes them secure from their customers,” wrote Doctorow in a column for the Guardian. Doctorow is not the only writer who disagrees with DRM software for e-books; in interviews, Neil Gaiman has said, “Everyone who discovered your favorite author by borrowing a book, raise your hand.” As Doctorow wrote on his website's page for his novel Little Brother, “For me -- for pretty much every writer -- the big problem isn't piracy, it's obscurity. Of all the people who failed to buy this book today, the majority did so because they never heard of it, not because someone gave them a free copy.” Doctorow's opinions are made clear not only in his interviews and nonfiction writing; he states on p 292 of his novel Pirate Cinema through his protagonist, “I think that a law that protects creativity should protect all creativity, not just the kind of creativity that was successful fifty years ago.” Long before and after Abbie Hoffman published his 1971 bestseller Steal This Book, people have been loaning books, selling them second-hand or giving them away, and some people have been distributing copies or derivative works. Nobody has to steal a book by Cory Doctorow. He gives away electronic copies of his books for free on his own website, and makes them available to read in several formats such as PDF files or MOBI files. His novels are released with Creative Commons licensing. For his earlier novels such as Little Brother, Doctorow has chosen “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.” In contrast to his earlier novels, the Creative Commons licensing that Doctorow has chosen for his work Pirate Cinema is “Attribution- NonCommercial-NoDerivs.” This subtle, significant change shows how Doctorow, like Heidegger, is calling for an understanding of technology which primarily involves creativity. The main difference between the NoDerivatives and the ShareAlike licensing is that Doctorow is now asking people to let him know if they are making a derivative work, simply so that he can discuss any translations with his foreign rights agents. He explains on the website that he wants to make it easier for his agents to work with foreign editors, and adds: “I promise you that if you write to me with a request for a non-commercial derivative use, that I will do everything in my power to see that it is authorized.” With this small change in his novel’s licensing, Doctorow is regulating the transformation and distribution of his novel, challenging the DRM approach to “unlocking, transforming, storing, distributing, and switching about” (to use Heidegger’s phrase) of e-books. Issues of copyright and licensing are of interest to book agents as well as lawyers, such as Stuart Langley who has written about the copyright issues in Pirate Cinema for the website Law and the Multiverse, and also for cultural anthropologists such as Brian Thom, who wrote in his thesis about Coast Salish literature challenging colonial power. Even for people with a vested interest in copyright and licensing, deconstructive and performative notions of subjectivity and aesthetics (in Heidegger’s phrase) are pretty stuffy when they come from people who aren't – or don’t think they are – constructors of aesthetic works. Heidegger’s tone throughout his article is stiff. By contrast, there's something heartfelt and authentic in the statements by Doctorow's teen protagonist as he learns during the novel to think of himself as one kind of artist among many. “We all use other peoples' words! We didn't invent English, we inherited it!” insists his young protagonist. “ ...All the dialog ever written is inspired by other peoples' dialog. I make new words out of them, my words, but they're not like, mine-mine, not like my underpants are mine! They're mine, but they're yours to make into your words, too!” It might be unexpected to link Heidegger with underpants, but that esthetic challenge is appropriate from Doctorow, who has received multiple literary awards, most notably the Prometheus Award for works that dramatize the perennial conflict between liberty and authority, expose or satirize abuses of government power, and champion individual rights. The only other intersection between Heidegger’s article and Doctorow at this time is Heidegger’s focus on poesis and Doctorow’s naming of his daughter Poesy – a small and tenuous link between minds that are unexpectedly alike in spite of all their different works. © Copyright PaulaJohanson 2014
  17. 17. A project for my Open Knowledge Practicum in the ETCL