Why I take exception to “Exceptional”

Emerging from our University library a few days ago I was struck by the sunshine glinting off a vinyl banner located near the main entrance. In keeping with many institutions, our campus and nearby roads, are home to many such signs used as opportunities to convey motivational messages to current students or to celebrate past successes for the benefit, primarily, of applicants we are hoping to persuade to make us firm choice for their education from the start of the next academic year.


The observant will note: (a) this was not taken on the sunny day mentioned in the text and (b) my thumb is intentionally obscuring the name of the student quoted

As I looked more closely, I registered the phrasing on the banner – “The teaching is exceptional”, it declared, attributing the quote (by first name only) to a recent graduate. I recognised the name, she is a studious Asian woman, who had completed one of our bioscience programmes a year or two ago. Continue reading

What design tells you about priorities?

I’m intrigued by an apparently accidental case study in design priorities arising from two different posters produced to advertise the same forthcoming lecture. Despite initial appearances, the two posters in the photo both promote a keynote speech by Professor Mary Dixon-Woods on Evidence for Improving Quality and Safety in Healthcare.


To my mind, the design on the right clearly conveys the content of the lecture (the interesting bit). This crucial information is almost entirely lost in the left-hand version, which massively over-emphasise the series of talks in which the lecture is to be given. It is entirely speculation, but I suspect this emphasis reflects the priorities given in the design brief.

Anyhow, I am looking forward to an engaging presentation from a former colleague.