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.
There are several different ways to prepare a poster presentation. Each academic discipline will have its own set of standards that you should follow. Contact your faculty mentor to ensure that you are following the correct format.
- Use white spaces to separate different poster sections and group related information by color or in the same box
- A large font title should be placed at the very top of the poster
- Use figures and pictures to tell your story
- Minimize the amount of text and use a large enough font for viewers to read your poster from 6 feet away. Ideally you should use less than 800 words and avoid large blocks of text
- Organize material in a logical progression
- Clearly state your working hypothesis and include important data and conclusions
- Start early and revise your poster often. Work with your faculty member through several rough drafts before finalizing your poster
- Practice your presentation as you work through your revisions to ensure that you have included all of the necessary information
- Look at other posters from your discipline
- Further Resources on Creating a Poster
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.
These tips are for using the plotter. Please note that the plotter has been moved from Henry Hall and into Manitou. The cost to use the plotter is $25.00 which covers the cost of one print. This cost must be paid by each presenter or faculty mentor (or the department). If you are paying out of pocket you need to pay at the cashier in Student Services. If you are paying by IDC, you can take the paperwork directly to the IT Helpdesk in MAN. Also note that the plotter will be unavailable on Saturday and Sunday since the computer lab will be closed.
- In the Manitou computer lab, there is one computer that controls the plotter. Keep this in mind as it will be tough to queue several posters at one time
Stop by the CTS Help Desk and they will assist you with printing your poster
- You should print a test page on printer CP3525 using the “Scale to fit” option to make sure your poster prints without any issues. If you are satisfied with this printing then proceed to the plotter printing below
- To print the poster on the plotter select DJ4000 from the print menu. Select “properties” and select the “Scale to fit” option under paper options section. Then submit your poster for printing
Each academic discipline has its own standards and expectations for poster design. Be sure to contact your faculty mentor about the expected design and format for your particular discipline.
There are many places around campus where representative posters are displayed. Consult the following locations for examples:
- Field House (Movement Science)
- Padnos Hall, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors (Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Physics, Geology, and Chemistry)
- AuSable Hall (1st floor – Geography, 2nd floor – Psychology)
- Makinac Hall (1st floor – Statistics, 2nd floor – Statistics and Computer Science)
Page last modified December 1, 2010