Student Research Conference Poster

I was assigned the Student Research Conference poster again in the Publications Office, so I had to come up with a completely new concept for the same event two years later. This was a bit intimidating, as at first I was remembering how long it took me to come up with something good the first time around wondering how the hell I would ever come up with a second idea. It turned out that I came up with a concept pretty quickly after doing a little inspirational search and research, which either means that I've become more nimble in the creative process, or that thinking through things for a second time around with a completely fresh perspective really can result in great things, sometimes even greater than before. Sometimes you have to polish that turd before you can move on to the "real one."

The poster designs of the past four years, including my own design, revolved around the interdisciplinary aspects of the Student Research Conference and all the majors coming together for one event. Each one used icons to represent different aspects of research and different areas of education. As a result, the designs were very intricate with many layers and effects. They were also all 11x17 inches, a standard on campus.

This year, I wanted to take the poster in a new direction. In 2013, I was really captivated by the aesthetic of the brain and capitalized on it when designing around my theme of bringing multiple disciplines together that was inspired both visually and thematically by Leonardo DaVinci's sketchbooks. When I began reflecting on what did and didn't work well with that poster, I was intrigued by the role the brain plays in research as well as its capacity and potential. I stumbled across information about neurons, and learned that they make up your nervous system by transmitting information to one another via synapses. I thought this was the perfect representation of what research entails, especially at Truman: making connections through multiple modes of study to form new ideas. The single neuron represents in its solidarity the beginning of an idea and those new connections, which always begins with research. I wanted the neuron to look alive and energetic, so I illustrated the complete neuron with ink on paper in three separate layers (on separate papers on a light table) with three separate line weights. I then scanned them, brought them into Photoshop, and compiled them using three different colors to bring it to life, drawing energy color inspiration from this image. The background is composed of light grey circles pulsating from the nucleus to reemphasize the energy of the neuron. There is little information that has to be displayed on the poster, so I took advantage of the opportunity by using a thin sans-serif to keep the design minimal, simplistic and modern. I also lengthened the proportion by cutting the size to 7x17 inches in order to comfortably fit the long neuron, keep a modern tone, and make it more unique on the bulletin boards around campus.