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Creating a Research Poster

This is a guide based on one from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University Library

Formatting your poster

  1. Be creative in your display, think beyond mounting the text of your paper. You can use boxes, formatting, font and images to break up the sections of your research poster.
  2. Think carefully about your title. If you would like a longer, more descriptive title, consider a subtitle. Brainstorm several titles and have a peer/collegaue/friend/teacher rank them. The title needs to highlight your subject matter, but it does not need to state all your conclusions. Some good titles simply ask questions, others answer them.
  3. You can section your poster according to the major points about your research you want to convey. For example: title, abstract, methodology, data, results and conclusion. Consider the flow of your poster, these should be in a logical, easy-to-read order. Remember that most people read from left to right and top to bottom.
  4. Qualitative data (e.g. quotes from references and/or interviews) can also be shared on your poster.
  5. Design your poster as if you were designing for a professional publication. Be consistent with your layout, color choices, fonts and sizes.
  6. Remember the “KISS Principle”: Keep It Simple, Stupid! In succinct, brief, jargon-free terms, your poster must explain: 1) the scientific problem in mind (what’s the question?), 2) its significance (why should we care?), 3) how your particular experiment addresses the problem (what’s your strategy?), 4) the experiments performed (what did you actually do?), 5) the results obtained (what did you actually find?), 6) the conclusions (what do you think it all means?), and, optionally, 7) caveats (any reservations?) and/or 8) future prospects (where do you go from here?).
  7. What is the number one mistake made in poster presentations? Too much information! Try to keep your poster to the point and and clear. You can always include more information in your handout or on a website.
  8. Remember to include acknowledgements, your name and institutional affiliation.

    Font and text considerations

    1. Remember that your poster is supposed to promote discussion between you and the viewer, therefore try to limit the amount of wording on your poster.
    2. Your title should use approximately a 72 font size. It should be readable by the viewer from at least 10 feet away.
    3. All text of your poster should be *at least* 24 font size and an easy-to-read font style (e.g. Arial or Verdana). Anything smaller is too difficult to read.
    4. Don't use more than two fonts on your poster: one for the title and one for the text.
    5. Make sure you include captions, legends, annotations, citations, and footnotes, where necessary.
    6. Use graphics, photos, images, statistics and color.
    7. Columns are easy to follow. You can use colored boxes and headings to divide the sections of your poster.
    8. Strive for a consistent, clean, and readable poster.