Articles by: See Arr Oh

Eye-Test Abstracts

Readers: have you noticed the new trend in graphical abstracts? Seems to me that more and more choose the “coloring book” route. (I’ve written about this a few times at Just Like Cooking, but I’ve decided to up the ante and broaden the discussion audience over here)

When designing talks and posters, most chemists will tell you to use color sparingly, say, to accent a particular functional group, or to draw the eye to a key concept. Many shy away from color schemes that won’t translate well at a distance, such as white-on-black, or black-on-orange…

J. Am. Chem. Soc., ASAP, 2012

Marketers have long understood that human beings respond strongly to primary colors; it’s no secret that Coca-Cola and McDonald’s both advertise with bright red signs. But for organic chemistry? If your reaction or concept truly breaks new ground, won’t people recognize it without all the visual hype?

Angew. Chemie, ASAP, 2012

I’m not entirely sure what’s driving this – desire to have your chemistry noticed on a crowded page? Viewers transitioning to mobile phone apps, where your abstract (presumably) fights for space amongst highly-colored games and ads? ‘Artistic’ sensibilities?

Organometallics ASAP, 2012

Readers, what are your thoughts? Do you color in your reaction schemes? Do you find colored abstracts appealing, or annoying?

Update (04/20/12) – Almost forgot Nature Chem’s coverage of the abstract issue. Thanks, Stu!

By April 20, 2012 10 comments Uncategorized