3 Design And Layout Tips For Poster Presentations

As an undergraduate or graduate student, a poster presentation may be your first opportunity to present your research in front of a crowd. Knowing a few tactics for designing an effective poster can help your research stand out while maintaining a professional appearance.

Keep It Simple

In most cases, you will use a standard research paper or journal article as a guideline for creating your poster. Your headings should include the abstract, introduction, methods, results, conclusion, and references. For your introduction section, use one or two pieces of background information to support your study. When writing your methods, try to explain your experimental design in a concise manner. Mention elements such as participant selection, randomization of groups, sample size, tests used, and your hypotheses. You can further explain your methodology if you are asked by attendees or during a presentation. To save space, limit your results section to the p-value for each test if quantitative analyses were performed. For the conclusion, summarize the general findings of your study.

Limit Graphics

Since you are working with a limited amount of space, you must be selective about the graphics you choose. Ideally, you will create charts or graphs that best represent your results and include them on your poster. Label your figures by number and include parenthetical references to these figures within relevant text. Line graphs and pie charts are good options when appropriate because you can make use of color to help your graphics stand out. If you feel it is necessary to include an image, such as an apparatus or testing set-up, use this as the central focus of your poster and align your text around the image.

Consider The Overall Look

A traditional approach to creating posters is using a white background with black font. Unfortunately, this can seem mundane, but it is the easiest way to design a poster that presents information clearly. As an alternative, you may want to try a light blue or lavender background with dark lettering. This can break up the monotony of many similar-looking posters while maintaining a professional look. Try to avoid warm colors, such as yellow, red, or orange anywhere on your poster. Even when they are less saturated, they can appear harsh and difficult to read.

When you consider printing your poster, you should weigh the benefits of a matte vs. glossy finish. Although a glossy finish can be aesthetically appealing and possibly protect your poster against moisture or tears, it can create glare, making it difficult to read from certain angles. When possible, use a matte finish. If you want to keep your poster indefinitely, you can have it laminated at a later time.

Designing your first poster can be intimidating, but with experience you will refine your approach. There are several tactics to help you present your research in an attractive and professional manner.