Tips for Making a Poster

  • Programs you may find useful for creating a poster include PowerPoint, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Canvas, Publish-It, Corel Draw, and LaTeX.
  • Your poster should include a title, the name(s) of the researcher(s) involved, clearly displayed data/graphs/images, and enough text to explain your data and conclusions. Too much text may make your poster difficult to read. Text should highlight the most important aspects of your research and enhance understanding of the data. Do not try to include all the details of your work; focus on the main points and the conclusions you reached. You should also give credit where it is due on your poster, i.e. to professors with whom you worked or organizations which funded your research.
  • Organize you images and text so that the viewer can easily tell where to start reading and how to progress through the poster. Columns can be an effective way of doing this. Headings and white space can be used to group blocks of text and data. Think about the order in which you want to present information; for example, you may want to start with the conclusions you reached or the objectives your research had when you started. It is also important to maintain a fair amount white space and margins on the poster. Your data, graphs, images, and so on should be the main component of your poster.
  • Use simple, consistent fonts and make text large enough the read from a several (preferably about six) feet away. Dimensions for research posters are often 42 x 42 inches, 42 x 48 inches, or 42 x 52 inches. To give you a sense of scale, here are suggested font sizes for different parts of your poster:
    • 85 pt for the title
    • 56 pt the authors
    • 36 pt for the subtitles
    • 24 pt for the main text
    • 18 pt for image captions
  • With images and data remember to label axes, indicate scale, provide legends, etc.
  • To make your poster easy to read, make your poster’s background a lighter color and the text a darker color. In general, use only two or three colors on your poster. Combining several bright colors or using patterned backgrounds may also make your poster difficult to read, so use caution. When using photos, resolutions between 150 and 300 dpi (dots per inch) often work well.
  • When you have finalized your poster it can be printed on a large-format printer.