Posters are snapshots of your work and are meant to engage your colleagues in discussions about your work. So decide on the purpose of your poster. What do you want people passing your poster to do:
The point is you need a purpose and it needs to be clearly visible in 10 seconds or less!
Derived from: Erren, T. C.; Bourne, P. E., Ten Simple Rules for a Good Poster Presentation. PLoS Comput Biol 2007, 3 (5), e102. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030102
1. Provide a shrunken version of your poster that fits on an 8.5" by 11" standard piece of paper. Include key references and contact information.
2. Summarize key points with figures, key references and provide your contact information.
3. Pin a stack of business cards to your poster board.
More Dos and Don'ts from Purrington, C.B. Designing conference posters. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
Good posters have unique features that papers don't have. For one, they need to be viewed from a distance, but can take advantage of your presance and ability to explain content. Format and layout are critical. Content is also very important, but keep it concise. Posters should have some of your personality as well. Remember you are part of your work. So...What are features of a good poster? Let's consider the layout first.
This example has developed a visual grammar to that helps readers identify the most important parts of the poster. It uses a top to bottom and left to right orientation. Remember that English is read from top to bottom and left to right. Follow this organization when designing your poster, if it is in English. Your poster will seem illogical if you don't. The name, institution and title run across the entire top. Columns proceed from top to bottom and left to right. This poster also used organizational cues in the form of numbers to guide readers.
Another thing to consider is balance between text, images, and white space. Contrary to sometimes popular belief, white space on a poster is OK. Consider the following example of layouts.
Since headings are important in establishing the layout and symmetry of the poster, let's consider their purpose now.
The following example of a poster from NC State shows good use of headings.
The above poster also makes use of graphics. Let's consider those next. Graphs, photos, and/or illustrations are the eye catchers of your poster.
The differences between a good graph and a not-so-good graph are illustrated below.
The No! graph is complicated and messy. The dark background and gridlines distract from the axes labels and number values. The leged is too small and not part of the graph itself. And the text is too small to read. The Better! graph got rid of the dark background and gridlines. It also increased the font size and changed the light yellow color to a darker color. The different lines are clearly labeled, so there is no need for a legend and the axes lables and values are clearly visible now.
Text should be simple, direct, and large.
A few hints about text on your poster.
As mentioned above you should use color if your printing budget allows. But, you should use it purposefully.
Use color to:
Some general color tips:
Finally, when you think you've got your poster ready, present a small scale version you can print on one page at group meeting. Then edit, edit, and edit some more.
Derived from Hess, G.R.; Tosney, K.; and Liegel, L. Creating Effective Poster Presentations. 2010. Visited 11/21/11