Poster Presentation Tips

Poster sessions are frequently used as a means to convey information in a brief format in classrooms, conferences and symposia, and workshops. Designing effective poster presentations is an art unto itself. This guide provides resources to make the process easier.

Poster Tips
Printing Tips
Example Posters

Questions to Consider

Is your organization easy to follow? Most people read from top to bottom, then left to right. Consider numbering your headings to further clarify the flow of information.

Do your headings deliver real information? Good headings by themselves can summarize the main points of your poster if readers are in a hurry.  Space on a poster is limited, so pick what to present wisely. Your display should be self-explanatory and have a logical flow—viewers should be able to follow the order even if you are not present. Start with a rough draft of your design on paper, using graph paper or Post-it notes to simulate sections. The sample layouts at the end of these Guidelines may give you some layout ideas.  Place your title at the top of the poster and make sure that the text is large and clear. Include your name and major, the name of your faculty mentor and his/her department name, in addition to other co-authors.

Is your poster cluttered by too many fonts? Do not use more than two typefaces. Instead use bold, italic and size to set type differently.

Are your colors distracting? Stick to a simple color scheme (try a couple that complement or contrast with each other, such as black or navy on white). Avoid red/green combinations, as this is the most common form of color blindness.

Are your graphics clear and easy to understand? Avoid elements—such as unnecessary background colors and overly specific labels—that do not add useful information. Explanations should be within or next to figures, not referred to from elsewhere.

Does your poster have a good balance between text, graphics, and white space? Use white space consistently to emphasize separate sections and to keep the poster from becoming too cluttered.

Do readers have to move back and forth to read your poster? Arranging your information in columns make the poster easy to read in crowded situations, such as Student Scholars Day.

Can you talk about your poster without reading directly from it? Be ready to discuss details that questioners cannot just read for themselves. People are interested in additional information and your interpretations.

Page last modified April 10, 2014