Poster Presentations: Tips and Resources

Attractive:  You must “grab” your audience to come closer and look at your work!  Keep your poster succinct and uncluttered.

Well Organized: Ideas should flow logically.  They must be clear and easy to follow. 

Self-Explanatory: Even though one of the joys of presenting a poster is the individualized conversation that takes place, your poster should also tell your story without you!

Step 1: Distill your ideas.  You can make only a very few “take home” points in a poster presentation.  The time you spend up front – refining the ideas and images that you will use - will be your best time spent.  Images are most memorable.  Build your text around pre-selected graphics or photos.

Step 2: Design for clarity.  Use color, labels – even arrows – to establish connections and logical flow between ideas in your layout.  The title and “big ideas” should be readable from at least 5 feet away.

24-point fonts are minimum for text!

Poster Design Resources

Websites : This will get you started with some excellent links that will, of course, link to other good sites.  Most of these resources are from the science/engineering realm because this style of presentation is so common at professional meetings, etc.  However, the content and graphic design tips apply broadly to other disciplines. 
As you come across good resources for humanities or social sciences posters, please let us know!

Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium

Great tips for design and production, examples of student posters, and a quick poster checklist.

American Society of Plant Biologists: How to Make a Great Poster

Design tips as well as practical ideas for materials.

Kansas University Medical Center: Effective Presentations Homepage

Tips on oral and poster presentations, as well as ideas for designing good visuals.

U.S. Department of Energy: Environmental Management Science Program

Tips for effective poster presentations.

Other Resources:

Take a tour of campus buildings, especially in the sciences, and look at the research posters displayed along the walls.  GeoCorner is full of good examples!

Check out the websites for your discipline’s professional societies.   If posters are commonly used in meeting presentations, you will often find tips for presenters on their meeting pages.

Contact CTL and our program in Oral Communication.  We have consultants who are happy to work with presenters!

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