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The Ekarv Method

A very short introduction to the "easy-to-read" method for writing panels in exhibitions, created and championed by Margareta Ekarv.
Examples from her book "Smaka på Orden", 1991 ( )

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The Ekarv Method

  1. 1. THE EKARV METHOD easy to read Charlotte S H Jensen
  2. 2. Which kinds of texts do we write? Symptom Main goal: To express feelings of the writer. Exclamations and poetic approaches. Signal Main goal: To influence the reader and get reaction Symbolfunktion Main goal: To provide information about a topic, without ”symptoms” og ”signals”. Karl Bühler, 1930´ies
  3. 3. Reading in a museum - Standing - Maybe on a hard floor - Lots of ”background activity” - Lighting is set with objects in mind Text is a challenged format Text has a lot of competition
  4. 4. 3 keypoints Legible The text is dechiperable in font, size, typeface etc. Readingworthy The text containboth language and information, which gives the reader joy and ”payback” Readable The sum of linguistic capacities, which makes the text more or less accessible.
  5. 5. Margareta Ekarv (1936 – 2014) - Swedish author and poet - Worked as a schoolteacher - Producer at Riksutställningar - Lifelong interest in readability & adult litteracy
  6. 6. Advice - Be specific - Do not use passive tense – active verbs when possible - Always subject before verb - Place line break at natural pauses - Use coversational rythm (long/short sentences) - No hyphenation - No interposed phrases - No brackets - No technical terminology - Explain or avoid uncommon words
  7. 7. Each sentence: - No more than 45 charachters - No more than 3 lines pr. sentence - The ideal sentence has 9 – 13 words - Divide your text into smaller sections (3-4 lines) - Total: 15 lines for labels – 22 lines for panels It is NOT easy. You´ll have to ”kill your darlings” often.
  8. 8. Example : ”ekarved” text Queen Kristina was born in Stockholm 1626 and died in Rome April 19th. 1689. Today, almost 300 years later, The National Museum show some of the portraits painted during her time. Queen Kristina was born i Stockholm 1626 and died in Rome, April 19th. 1689. Today, almost 300 years later, The National Museum exhibits some of the portraits painted during her time. Both from ”Smaka på Orden” (in my translation)
  9. 9. Facktional ”ekarved” text Kungliga slottet, Stockholm.
  10. 10. Example: ”ekarved” text Vasa Museum, Stockholm.
  11. 11. Spørgsmål