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I am creating a conference announcement poster which can be downloaded here. The poster is not finished yet. I need to add list of invited speakers, information about registration, and NSF grant info which we got to pay for expenses.

There are people on this forum who know infinitely more about TeX, typography and creating posters than me. Could you kindly tell me your opinion about what I have done so far, share some of your own samples or direct me to possible templates?

I actually have a very nice template of conference poster but it is ill suited for conference announcement. I am just afraid that what I have done so far doesn't look professionally. On the top of it the background image is apparently cut due to my incompetence. The source code is available here.

enter image description here

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1  
Can you also include with what mechanism you did this so far? Is it beamerposter,a0poster or just a flyer etc.? Also which part bothers you the most? As you might imagine, the question, as it is, doesn't give a way for a valid answer. –  percusse Jan 16 '12 at 3:53
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I'd use $\langle\text{\url{ppunosev@aug.edu}}\rangle$ for the email address. The < and > don't look good. (Solution requires packages amsmath and url.) –  Marc van Dongen Jan 16 '12 at 4:56
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One more suggestion. I'd letterspace the all-caps text. You may do this with the microtype package (use \textls[50]{<text>} to letterspace <text> with an extra 5% space. –  Marc van Dongen Jan 16 '12 at 5:07
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Sorry, two more comments:-) First, I'd add a bit more vertical space after the date and between the names of the organisers. You can do this with \\[<length>], where <length> is a proper LaTeX length. Next, I suggest you turn the URL into monospaced text. You may do this with \url{http://www.devio.us/~ppunosevac/cdynsy/}. This solution requires the url` package. –  Marc van Dongen Jan 16 '12 at 6:31
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As a physicist, I question the images in the lower row: They make me think more of molecular or solid state physics than of dynamical systems (of course those systems can also be treated with dynamical system methods, but that's not the main way to treat them). So unless there's a good reason to have them in, I'd remove them or replace them by images more easily associated with dynamic systems. –  celtschk Jan 16 '12 at 9:59

3 Answers 3

up vote 18 down vote accepted

I think the poster still needs a little bit of a massage, both typographically as well as the copy. First the headline.

With a poster you want to get the attention of the reader. The headline has just a few seconds to attract attention in which the reader will decide to read further on or walk away. You can use what the advertising industry calls the ABC headline formula.

     A = Attention
     B = Benefits
     C = Creativity
 A+B+C = Headline

I think the headline needs to be turned around a bit. You need to decide if it is a symposium or conference and the announcement line can be omitted.

I would also remove the INVITED FROM "INVITED SPEAKERS". "Speakers" would suffice. You could also include photos of the speakers in a block below the poster. Images of people's faces will attract attention.

The colored graphic is distracting from the message, I will make it as transparent as possible and include it as a backdrop. All contact details I would put at the bottom, including the email, but I would not frame it in angle brackets. I would also remove the "more information" at the bottom and just have a www.website.us/etc/etc., no need for the http:\\ part.

And here is a very opinionated announcement. A bit of a modified headline. The reader goes nearer to have a look, we answer his questions, who is speaking, where, what is the benefit for him/her a little more details (its your 30 seconds elevator speech), who to contact where etc (can be below the text at the right, which I did not include). The graphics obviously and photos will need some work and attention, but if your selling point is the invited speakers, you should promote that.

enter image description hereenter image description here

Update

I added another variation to the theme, using a graphic rather than faces as the consensus appears to be that a Lorenz type of attractor will be more likely to attract the attention of the group than faces (although I am sure that when you looked at the examples here, your attention was drawn to the faces first). Unless one does some A/B testing we will never know. One needs to really experiment with the copy once all the information is known. I used the mathpazo font at 65pt and the soul package for spacing out. One should also print the poster and experiment with sizes. I would stick to my guns and not have any text on the graphics.

Schmendrich's ideas are also good especially the qr-code, you should try and incorporate it in the final version.

\documentclass[a4paper]{article}
\usepackage{microtype}
\usepackage{mathpazo,xcolor}
\usepackage[top=1cm,left=1cm,right=1cm,bottom=1cm]{geometry}
\usepackage{graphicx,soul,lipsum}
\parindent0pt
\def\lorem{\leavevmode Fusce adipiscing justo nec ante. Nullam in enim.
 Pellentesque felis orci, sagittis ac, malesuada et, facilisis in,
 ligula. Nunc non magna sit amet mi aliquam dictum. In mi. Curabitur
 sollicitudin justo sed quam et quadd. \par}
\makeatletter
\def\HUGE{\@setfontsize\HUGE{65}{90}}
\makeatother
\begin{document}
\thispagestyle{empty}

\raggedbottom
\begin{minipage}{0.8\textwidth}
\sffamily
\centering
\HUGE{\bf SYMPOSIUM}\\

\LARGE{\textbf{\so{CAROLINA DYNAMICS GROUP}}}\\

\Large{\textbf{\so{CLEMSON UNIVERSITY}}}\\
%\large{\textbf{APRIL 5, 2012}}

\bigskip

\begin{minipage}[b]{0.6\textwidth}
\normalsize
\includegraphics[width=\linewidth]{lorenzattractor01}

\textbf{PRESENTED BY THE CAROLINA DYNAMICAL \\ SYSTEMS GROUP}. Some more text here to fill the space. You need to get the reader to stop and read a bit more. Some more text here to fill the space. \par 
\rule{0pt}{32pt}
\end{minipage}\hspace{5pt}
\begin{minipage}[b]{0.37\textwidth}
\textbf{\large INVITED SPEAKERS}\par

{\leavevmode \raggedright
Dr Liang Foo\\
Dr Berry Ling\\
Dr Zezsko Petrovick \\
Dr A Berchowitz\\
\par{}
}

\medskip

\large{\textbf{VENUE}}

The symposium will take place at Clemson University.

\medskip

{\large\raggedright
{\textbf{DYNAMICAL SYSTEMS}}
\par
}
\normalsize
\smallskip

\lorem\lorem\lorem

\medskip
\textbf{\large ORGANIZERS}\par
Martin Schmoll, Clemson University\\
Predrag Punosevac, Augusta State \\
University
\medskip

\textbf{\large CONTACT }\par

Predrag Punosevac, Augusta State\\
University
\textcolor{blue}{email@mail.com}

\rule{0pt}{78pt}
\end{minipage}
\vspace*{-70pt}

\HUGE{\bf APRIL 5 $\cdot$  2012}\\
\end{minipage}
\end{document}
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2  
Actually, some conferences distinguish between invited speakers (those being asked to give a presentation, and often are given more time for it than others) and other speakers (who asked for being able to give a talk and were accepted). If this conference does, the "invited" is not superfluous, but actually required. –  celtschk Jan 16 '12 at 9:04
    
@celtschk Sure they do, but is not a headline to get the attention of the reader. I would add it in the text on the left of the image I uploaded. –  Yiannis Lazarides Jan 16 '12 at 9:16
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Actually, for me your poster suggestion does not look as if it were for a scientific conference. Indeed, I'd probably personally classify the poster as irrelevant before finding out. Remember, an announcement need not only attract initial attention, it must also immediately communicate that it may be relevant to you. –  celtschk Jan 16 '12 at 9:24
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Well, if I look at the original poster suggestion, the dominant thing is a picture which I, as physicist, immediately recognize as related to dynamical systems. Even if I know the speakers (however I often know important people only by name, not by face), many people are in several specialized fields (e.g. the same person may well be in a conference about quantum information or in a conference about fundamentals of physics, although they are different fields. And if it's a field which I'm newly interested in, but never worked in, I may not even know the important people of the field at all. –  celtschk Jan 16 '12 at 9:47
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@schmendrich I will post another draft this evening, with a scientific picture on the left and the speaker photos at the bottom for comparison. –  Yiannis Lazarides Jan 16 '12 at 10:26

Why do you center some text? If you can't say why, you shouldn't center it. Use raggedright instead. It will give the poster a cleaner look ("Because it is a title" is not a reason to center text)

Are the black pictures at the bottom really needed? Delete them, save whitespace. This will give also a cleaner more organized look.

Is the word ORGANIZERS more important than the names after it (why the capitals)? BTW: Why do you name the organizers at the poster? Is it important to the announcement? Why not name them at the conference instead of the poster (I go by me: I'm interested in the conference; I don't care who organized it. So I don't need the information at the poster.)

No need for the "more information" text. The website's name is enough. Use the saved space to place a qr-code with the link to the website. (At the website should be MORE information ;)

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+1 for the point on capitals (perhaps small caps instead?) and for QR-code, which I consider hip as well :). You could use goqr.me. –  doncherry Jan 16 '12 at 20:42

I would like to post a second iteration of the poster and two summarize some of the most useful comments.

Here is the poster with the look which I like better but without the content.

enter image description here

As you can see it is still at works but I made some progress. I like the look and the feel of the header and the footer. I think that the font size is more or less OK but I am not sure if you could suggest me a better font. The font spacing mentioned by Marc van Dongen is bad. I could not use microtype package as it requires pdflatex which is not the usual part of my TeX work flow. I just got alternative soul package to work with my working copy. I incorporated few of his suggestions regarding e-mail address and url.

Yiannis Lazarides made all sorts of great comments. As you can see the top of the poster is completely inspired by his design. Yiannis, I would really appreciate your comments on the font, spacing and anything you can think of in the header. However as correctly pointed by celtschk human faces have no business on the poster due to the fact that the face of even most famous scientists my not be recognizable immediately even to the experts in the field. As correctly observer by celtschk the background picture is there to give you an idea what is conference about. I think I will try to find even lighter picture for the background. The pictures on the bottom serve the same purpose. I will try to put just lighter picture. Yiannis also got right that the names of the people are more important than their roles. I should use bigger font for names and smaller for the role. That is still not fixed but I will. Actually whole central section is now messed up.

As of "Invited Speakers" vs "Speakers" issue, being an Invited Speaker is a very special category and it is used as a major advertising tool. I am still missing info about NSF grant (it will come with mandatory logo) and pretty much the central content of the poster. Putting the name of organizers is very common too. I will probably edit this post several times during in-coming days but I would like to express my deepest appreciation for this most useful community.

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5  
With the new picture going over the whole background, the text is very hard to read. On the previous iteration, the picture was mainly on the right side, and only few, very bright parts of it on the left. In the original iteration, there was space for text on the left (which was mostly white, and only had a bright yellow part extending to the left). You should avoid putting the text over the image. BTW, I still don't understand how the images at the bottom are supposed to hint at dynamic systems. –  celtschk Jan 16 '12 at 20:28
    
@celtschk Thanks for the input. The pictures on the bottom are Costa Surface and they are related to the theory of billiards. That is indeed not a common knowledge. –  Predrag Punosevac Jan 16 '12 at 21:08
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celtschk is right, it is almost impossible to read the text over the picture. The text needs more contrast to the background. What about using a white transparent box for the text. You'll get more contrast. But maybe this will look "less serious". –  schmendrich Jan 16 '12 at 21:35
    
@PredragPunosevac Thanks for your kind words. Please see my updated draft. Good luck with the Conference, it's a lot of hard work. –  Yiannis Lazarides Jan 16 '12 at 21:41

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