Notes from the SPARKS Conference 2022: Day 2

Misinformation as an Obstacle to Science Communication

by Brian Southwell at RTI International

What is scientific misinformation? from Southwell et al for The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science:

  • publicly misleading info that is misleading or deceptive relative to best available evidence at the time and
  • counters statements by actors who adhere to scientific principles without adding accurate evidence for consideration

What’s the problem with misinformation?

  • we are biased towards acceptance — we listen and then filter / think about it, which sometimes doesn’t happen sufficiently because we’re tired etc.
  • there are reasons we share misinformation — we signal belonging with others by sharing info related to our identities
  • our regulatory approach (in democracies) focuses on after-the-fact detection and response — does not censor info, prevent misinformation from being shared
  • correction is hard
  • emotions make us vulnerable — anger makes us more likely to accept misinformation

Notes from the SPARKS Conference 2022: Day 1

The Time is Always Now:

Centering Equity and Community Voice as an Evergreen Communications Tool

by Paj Nandi at DH

  • everyone filters information through their unique lens of lived experience
  • thus CONTEXT is essential to communicate effectively
  • communications serves to share information AND power
  • comms sits at the axis of power and access
  • comms as strategy channels access, counters discrimination
  • equity-centered philosophy:
    • partner directly with community and shift power
    • create positive narratives rooted in community
    • work to undo harmful narrative
    • practice cultural humility
    • be mindful of own biases
  • intent > process > outcome > impact

Adobe Max: Social Media in 2022

Watched Social Media in 2022: How Creators Can Thrive from Adobe

See how creators can thrive in the future of social media through connections on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Clubhouse, and more that amplify and convert.

YouTube the top used platform by adults, followed by Facebook

LinkedIn news has 9 billion impressions but less than 1% of active users share content – undersaturated market – build community

Impact trends to expect in 2022:

  • inclusive content (not sure if she means showing diversity in design, or culturally diverse)
  • brand transparency – authenticity
  • social and environmental issues

Content trends:

  • short video
  • short form audio (inspired by Clubhouse)
  • personalized audio and visual (Adobe Rush to embed audio)

Center on empathy, listening, and community

Better analytics:

  • test copy with other visuals
  • check value for audience
  • use polls to get answers

Focus on cadence and quality over quantity

Adobe Spark + Premier Rush > repurpose content in many formats (e.g. video, carousel, quote graphic, infographic)

  • create assets in Adobe Spark, use Rush to use assets in video creation

(Presented by Nicte Cuevas – love her colorful look and design sensibility – that hot pink, sea green, and yellow is a fun combo)

Art and Design

Adobe Max: Typography for Print *and* Digital

Bookmarked InDesign Type and Layout for Print and Digital (Adobe)

Learn how to use type and layout in InDesign to elevate the look, credibility, and impact of your layouts for both print and digital designs.

Choosing type for screen

  • avoid large differences between the thick and thin parts of the letters (stroke modulation)
  • x-height (relative type of lowercase characters)
  • avoid light typefaces
  • check if typeface has screen version
  • check glyphs

Typeface resources

Combining type

  • use serif and sans serif versions of same family, look for families with many weights and styles
  • go bold and look for max contrast between style and weight (e.g. heavy sans serif with lightweight serif)
  • go all in on one typeface, use other elements like casing, italics, indents, spacing, and decoration to differentiate
  • look for typefaces designed by same person / foundry

Adjust layout from print to type

Look at new page ratio (e.g. iPad 4:3 – width:height)

Change unit to pixels

Edit > Adjust Layout

  • Can do calculation in the width box: [height in pixels]/3 * 4 to convert to 4:3 aspect ratio – divide by 2 if spread
  • Reduce margins and make uniform (if spread could make inside margin half)
  • Set bleed to 0
  • Check box to adjust font size

Make sure “auto-fit” box is checked for images so they adjust with resize

Export > EPUB fixed layout

  • Spread control: convert spread to a landscape page

Composition and type flow

Preferences > Composition: check H&J Violations (hyphenation and justification) – useful for improving spacing with justified type

Type > Story > check optical margin alignment – allows punctuation to overflow bounding box (set type to same size as body type)

Use GREP style to deal with short single-word lines

  • create character style with “no break” checked
  • GREP style = .{#}\r (any string of # characters that occurs at the end of a paragraph – 8 is recommended)

Fix widows by adjusting tracking in previous paragraph with short last line, to pull the type up by one line

  • Preferences > Units and Increments > Kerning/Tracking – set to 1
  • Never set tracking to more than -10 to keep it unnoticeable

Structuring your document

Layout > Create Guides – set gutter to the same as the leading of body type

View > Grids and Guides > unlock column guides to allow uneven sized page columns

In addition to layout grid, use a baseline grid (document-wide layout grid) to keep type

  • Preferences > Grids > relative to top margin, increment should match leading (or be related to leading, such as half of leading), turn off “grids in back”
  • Paragraph styles > Indents and Spacing > Align to Grid > all lines (apply to body paragraph and other paragraphs you want)

Object > Text Frame Options > Baseline Options > match increment to baseline grid, check “use custom baseline grid” and set relative to top inset, change start to desired value (e.g. 10 lines down would be 10 x leading of 12 = 120) – use infrequently

Create object style to be able to apply to other frames

Inline graphics: make sure leading in paragraph where you’re pasting it is set to “Auto”

Typographic flair

Stylistic sets – allows you to choose alternate OpenType glyphs consistently in a block

Character > OpenType > Stylistic Sets

Knockout text: check knockout group and adjust text to opacity 0%


W: show guides

Alt-left arrow: reduce tracking

Cmd-shift-hyphen: add discretionary hyphen (disappears if text reflows and it’s not needed)

Art and Design Resources and Reference

Adobe Max: InDesign Deep Dive

Watched Diving Deep into Adobe InDesign from Adobe

Learn how to be more efficient working with InDesign layouts, and discover how to speed up your workflow by mastering the features you use every day.

Woo! InDesign advanced tips! I’ve avoided learning GREP because it seems complicated and wasn’t sure exactly what all it could do, but this had some interesting use cases and good instructions.

Importing from Word

Resave word doc file extension as .zip file, then use a program to unzip it and it will extract the original media files in their unedited format.

Import Word > reserve local overrides to preserve bold, italics, etc.

Find/Change with GREP

  • Figure out what is unique about imported style
  • Match “positive lookbehind” to add circumstance if your text is always after a specific type of formatting (e.g. two hard returns)
  • Icons under Search – far right icon lets you select a style to search within – useful to remove excess numbering 😃
  • Bottom box lets you use search to apply formatting
  • Preformatted multiple return to single return deletes extra spacing

GREP Styles

GREP style = dynamic reference to a character style

Paragraph Style > GREP style > new GREP style > select character style > write expression or exact word

To define a set of multiple words to apply formatting to: (WORD|WORD|WORD)

(Can also be accomplished with nested styles)

GREP formatting

  • . = any character
  • ^ = beginning of the paragraph
  • + = may be more than one
  • \. = period
  • use a space for a space
  • | = or
  • () = defines a set
  • \d = any digit
  • {#,} = at least as many as this number, i.e. .{20,} would look for a series of at least 20 characters

More GREP resources:

Conditional Text

Hide specific pieces of text with conditional text: select text, include final return of paragraph, check the conditional text style, click the eye symbol to make it not visible

Responsive style – use GREP – can apply formatting based on conditions, e.g. reduce font size based on character length

Track Changes

  • Window > Editorial > Track Changes (must be set up as a user first)
  • File > User – set yourself up as a user
  • Click in text frame, then click “power” to track changes in that frame (can also select “enable track changes in all frames”)

See track changes: Edit > Edit in Story Editor (ctrl-y)

Then can accept or reject changes from Track Changes window

Edit > Preferences > Track Changes – choose colors for track changes

Can also use menu to accept / reject all changes by a specific user


Importing from Excel

  • Select area you want to import, right click and select “define name”
  • Save file as .xls
  • When importing check “show import options” – change cell range to the named selection

Formatting Tables

Tip: create a “clean cell” style that clears borders and styles

(Nice, I already know most of this stuff 💪 Have done a lot of table formatting in my day 😄)

Click table frame then hold shift to expand evenly – also works for cells to move cell divisions without sliding over all other cells!

To insert picture, convert to Graphic Cell, select cells and adjust formatting with Object > Frame Fitting Options > fit content proportionally from the center, then can increase inset to make images fit without touching

Quickly Transforming and Matching Images

Adjust eyedropper options to only select certain styles, such as object size

Select multiple images and adjust placement in frame: select all frames, Object > Select > Content, use arrow keys to move all

To redefine size of multiple objects at once: first change one, select others and Object > Transform sequence again individually

Other Notes

Paragraph Style Bullets and Numbering > create new list style to ensure numbering associated with that style

Window > Interactive > Hyperlinks > Convert URLs to hyperlinks > can apply style at same time

Ha! He adds emojis to the names of paragraph styles to make them stand out

Object > Convert Shape

Art and Design

Adobe Max: Ethical Storytelling

Watched Ethical Storytelling: Brand Purpose and Impactful Imagery from Adobe

Learn the importance of championing global stories told by diverse voices in your company’s brand visuals and how to engage in ethical storytelling.

  • Honor your subject, whether person or place
  • Be intentional with language to not trigger or distract people
  • Let people be seen and heard — collaborate for more authentic stories
Art and Design

Adobe Max: Interactive Documents

Watched Transforming Any Document into a Digital Experience with InDesign from Adobe

Learn how to transform any document into an immersive digital experience ready for the web with InDesign. Include hyperlinks, videos, image galleries, and more.

Presented by Kladi

Beginner level session — but she moves quickly enough it’s actually interesting to see someone else’s workflow. Picked up some shortcuts I didn’t know, I should probably get around to looking up and learning them for InDesign since I use it so much 😅


  • Escape –> select text frame after creating it
  • Alt-Ctrl-C –> fit to frame
  • Alt-Shift-Drag –> copy and move on same plane
  • Shift-Option-Ctrl-E –> size proportionally
  • Ctrl-2 –> text frame options

Epub Interactivity Preview:

  • Clear preview to refresh
  • Full document preview mode (bottom right corner), then press play

Add video from media panel

Art and Design

Adobe Max: Keeping a Sketchbook

Watched Keeping a Sketchbook for Fun and Inspiration from Adobe

Learn how to keep a sketchbook to improve your drawing skills, further your art, and recharge inspiration. Discover tips and tricks to keep your work fresh.

Octavia Bromell (Tink) Instagram

Started sketching as art therapy

300gpm paper for wet media, 150gpm+ for mixed media sketchbooks, use bulldog clips to keep paper flat when painting on too lightweight paper

Mostly shares from her sketchbook online –> clients commission her for work in that style which she likes to make

Not sure what to draw? Try still life

Art and Design

Adobe Max: Empowering Community

Watched Empowering Community Through Collaboration and Editorial Design from Adobe

Learn how to use the power of collaboration and community to create impactful editorial layouts that push the boundaries of stereotypes about race and design.

Interesting designs, talk didn’t address the pitch in a universally useful way.

Art and Design

Adobe Max: Being Creative In-House

Watched Doing Great Creative In-House When the House Isn’t Creative from Adobe

Join the creative director at Cisco to learn how creativity can thrive at your non-creative company and how to leverage typically scarce resources.

  • Train the reviewers
  • “Don’t try to boil the ocean” – do only what you can, don’t do it all at once, one piece at a time
  • Make stuff you love, others will love it too
  • Hold onto your creative vision despite direction from non-creatives

(I don’t love the trashing on the old creative – you don’t have to contrast how much better your stuff is by showing how bad the old stuff was, it should be good on its own.)