Negative space, also known as whitespace, refers to the unmarked areas of the page. Collectively, it is the margins and the gaps between text blocks and images. Whitespace is as much a part of a composition as the titles, words and pictures. The Swiss typographer Jan Tschichold calls whitespace 'the lungs of a good design'1. In addition to giving elements breathing room, judicious use of whitespace can dramatically improve the visual appeal and effectiveness of figures, posters and slides.
Gestalt principles of perception are theories proposed by German psychologists in the 1920s to explain how people organize visual information1. Gestalt is a German word meaning shape or form. The principles describe the various ways we tend to visually assemble individual objects into groups or 'unified wholes'. They are highly relevant to the design of charts and graphs as well as the reports that contain them.
Layout is the act of arranging text and images on the page according to an overall aesthetic scheme and for the purpose of clarifying a presentation. In graphic arts, it is the elephant in the room; layout underlies everything we do when we communicate visually. Well-structured content can guide readers through complex information, but when the material we present lacks order, it can confuse or, worse yet, agitate readers trying to make sense of the material.
Color can add dimensionality and richness to scientific communications. In figures, color is typically used to differentiate information into classes. The challenge is picking colors that are discriminable. A systematic approach to choosing colors can help us find a lineup effective for color coding.
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type. Like a person's speaking style and skill, the quality of our treatment of letters on a page can influence how people respond to our message. It is an essential act of encoding and interpretation, linking what we say to what people see.
Open collaborative development and transparent design processes are often associated to the concept of open design (OD). Studies in remote collaborative processes are still recent and a wide number of aspects of OD remain unclear. This study explores an OD project by mining data in collaboration platforms. As our research object, we selected the Open Agriculture Initiative. Data was mined from its online forum, and Github, a development platform. Social network analysis (SNA) and topic modeling techniques were used to explore four research questions. We comment on these questions highlighting differences between both platforms, stakeholder participation and personal interests, community changes over time, activity volume and latent topics. Finally, we conclude by indicating possible pathways to investigate OD as an emergent phenomenon by using data mining techniques.