Tag Archives: SLA Annual 2020

Graphic Design 101: Marketing and Data Visualization Tips for the Non-Designer

I ‘attended’ another SLA2020 session today. Sarah DeWitt, a former graphic designer talked about graphic design for the non-graphic designer. This was another 30 minute session, which I am beginning to appreciate more and more. The session covered:

  • How to create a layout
  • Choosing fonts
  • Choosing colors
  • Information visualization

Grids, type and color are the three most important components of a design.

I have created forms, signs and marketing pieces in the past. I have never been afraid of leaping in and just doing it, but I thought this session would help me improve my skills.

The first tip she had, which made a lot of sense, was to visualize your information in a grid. Why didn’t I think of that?

Sarah talked about fonts and noted that Serif fonts are primarily used in print while Sans Serif fonts are used more frequently on websites. I find that interesting and will need to think about it some more. It is good to know that I should just use one or two fonts in my design, but I can mix up the look by including bold, italics or regular fonts in the final product. Size is also useful.

Ms. DeWitt talks about Lorem Ipsum text, which we all have seen as it is used as a placeholder for text. I didn’t know much more than that and the presenter gave a brief overview. She included the information that there are generators that could be used when you need text, but don’t have the final version yet.

Another tip had to do with spacing. It was interesting to see how space between columns could make text easier to read without looking like the designer had intentional put a big space in the text.

Color was also covered, though Sarah said that she didn’t have time in the presentation to do the topic justice. I thought she did a great job. One aspect of color that she talked about was evoking mood with colors.

i was impressed that Sarah covered color blindness in the section on color. I have never heard a presentation on color mention color blindness. It is an important topic and I am glad she talked about it. Coblis is a color blindness simulator you can use to test how your colors look to those with a variety of different types of color blindness.

Other important components of a design are:

  • simplicity and white space
  • alignment
  • focal point
  • flow
  • repetition

These tips or components track with design classes I have taught.

Information visualization, such as Infographics, were also discussed. Information visualization is a way to help us think about and understand data. In information visualization, less is more. One of the examples used a treemap example. I was interested to see how that type of graphic showed proportion.

Towards the end of the session, Sarah includes a list of free and subscription based resources. A couple that I had never heard of were Google Data Studio for information visualizations, Unsplash for images, and Gimp, which is design software.

For a 30 minute session, this one was packed with useful and easily understandable information.

SLA 2020 Awards Ceremony

Along with the rest of the conference, the Awards Ceremony moved online. A few of my colleagues received awards, so I wanted to attend. One of the things I found really interesting was the technology.

Remo Ballroom - SLA 2020

Remo Ballroom – SLA 2020

The organization used a program/web app called Remo. I was not excited about the virtual experience, but found it to work very well. It was easy to move around the ballroom and turning on the mic and/or camera made you live with your table mates. Being live made you part of the conversation and that sort of broke the ice for me.

The chat window was pretty active throughout the presentation. Remo could do a little better by making most or recently used emojis stay at the top of the emoji pop-up. I would also have liked to ‘like’ other people’s chats and be able to tag them in one of my chats.

One of my table mates brought out the whiteboard, so we all tried that out. Networking in this way was not on my to do list, but I found it enjoyable, especially when I got to chat with people across the country and who I only see at SLA conferences.

Of course, the award recipients were all eloquent and really deserved their awards.

I am a little confused about why SLA is using more than one platform, but I imagine there is a good reason.

All-in-all I found the technology to be a bonus and easy with which to familiarize myself.

SLA Conference 2020

After a rocky start, I got into the SLA 2020 Conference. I was awarded a scholarship to attend, so was excited to try out a new way of attending a conference. I have never attended a virtual conference like this one before, though the COVID-19 conference last week was similar. The first hurdle was the URL. The URL provide in the email started with icptrack… and my browser didn’t like that URL. Apparently it is flagged in some list. I parsed the full link and found a direct link embedded, which took me straight to the main page.

SLA 2020 Main Lobby

SLA 2020 Main Lobby

There is a lot to look at, do and see from the main page. I watched most of the intro video,  but since the welcome remarks were starting, I flagged it for later.

The chat window was helpful. People were identifying problems and others would provide solutions. I also looked at the attendee list and started connecting with people.

As a scholarship recipient, I have to report on some sessions (check back for those posts), so I watched a pre-recorded session called Applying Agile Principles to Ensure the Success of Your KM Strategy by Guillermo Galdamez. It is listed as a breakout session, but was just a short session. Despite my sad Internet service, I was able to watch it with no problems.

So far so good!