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Research Posters: Create

Tips, tools, and inspiration to start creating an academic research poster.

Research Posters Step-by-Step

Use the steps below to begin working on your research poster. Before you start this process, you may want to save some text, images, and other graphics into a simple document from which you can copy and paste into your poster design. Many posters use a three column format.

  1. Create your poster in the size that it will be printed. Many conferences will have a set of dimensions that they would like presenters to use. Check for this information before beginning your poster.
  2. Add headings in a logical order. In English, we read from top to bottom and left to right. Your audience will naturally follow that format so lay out your headings accordingly.
  3. Copy and paste some text under your headings. If you have created a simple document in which you have saved some text, images, and other graphics, copying and pasting from this document into your poster design will simplify your process.
  4. Import images and graphics, or drag and drop them to your poster design. Don't forget to check on the appropriate way to create citations for those that you have obtained from other sources.

Design Elements to Consider

In this stage, ask yourself:

What design elements can enhance my research?

A poster should include a balance of textual information and graphical elements. Choose a layout, color scheme, and fonts which are attractive and make it easy for the eye to follow the flow of information across the poster.

  • Layout - Create the poster in the size it will be printed so that there are not any issues with the final look. Keep in mind that, for an English language poster, it will be read from top to bottom and left to right. Therefore, poster layout should be structured accordingly.
  • Color - Use a simple color scheme which is easy on the eye. Avoid garish color combinations and grayscale; both are difficult to look at and may also present problems for readers with color vision deficiency.
  • Font - Choose fonts which are easy to read. Generally, sans serif fonts are used for headings while serif fonts are used for blocks of text.

Format

Font

For an academic poster, text should be large enough to be read at a distance of at least a few feet from your poster. Step back and view your poster at 100% of its printing size to judge whether your text is legible. The two types of fonts which are most used are serif and sans-serif fonts. Serif fonts have a small projection or line attached to the letters, while sans-serif (meaning "without serif") text does not.

Serif fonts are easier to read and so used for larger blocks of text like paragraphs. Sans serif fonts are commonly used for headings and draw the eye to a particular piece of text. On the right are two examples of serif and sans-serif fonts.

Sample Serif Fonts Sample Sans-Serif Fonts
Georgia

Lucida Sans Unicode

Times New Roman Tahoma

Color

Following these points from start to finish will allow you to avoid some common problems that can occur when designing and printing a research poster.

  • Text color should not be too similar to the background color.
  • Choose a simple color scheme.
  • Save your poster as a PDF if possible.
  • Use large images to avoid them becoming pixelated.
  • Avoid placing text too close to the edge.
  • You may need to rebuild charts or graphics instead of simply resizing them to be sure they fit the dimensions of the poster.
  • Look at your poster at 100% of its print size.

Color vibration occurs when two bright colors appear to blur at the edges when they are placed next to each other. The examples of color vibration in the image below are unpleasant to look at and it is probably best to avoid them in your poster.

Color Vibration Image

 

Poster Printing

Following steps from start to finish will allow you to avoid some common problems that can occur when designing and printing a research poster.

  • Text color should not be too similar to the background color.
  • Choose a simple color scheme.
  • Save your poster as a PDF if possible.
  • Use large images to avoid them becoming pixelated.
  • Avoid placing text too close to the edge.
  • You may need to rebuild charts or graphics instead of simply resizing them to be sure they fit the dimensions of the poster.
  • Look at your poster at 100% of its print size.

While you may present your poster in digital form for the purposes of a course assignment, you will need to print it for presentation at a conference or symposium. Lied Library offers large format printing for research posters. For assistance with the large format printing service, please contact Heng-Wei Cheng or stop by the Computer Help Desk on the first floor.

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