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Poster Session Instructions: Poster Basics

Learn how to create effective and easy-to read posters for Poster Sessions.

Poster Basics

Answer these three questions:

  1. What is the most important thing about my project?
  2. How can I get my point across visually? Charts, graphs, photos, images?
  3. What can I say about my project that will complement my poster?

What Software can I Use?

PowerPoint: A popular, easy-to-use option. (Advice for creating a poster with PowerPoint).

Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop  and InDesign: Professional software including lots of high-resolution images, but are more complex and expensive.

Open Source Alternatives: OpenOffice - free alternative to MS Office (Impress is its PowerPoint alternative). Inkscape & Gimp Adobe product alternatives. For charts and diagrams, Gliffy or Lovely Charts. A complete list of free graphics software.

Well Designed Poster

Image credit: Poster Session Tips by, via Penn State

Poster Design 2.0?

What Makes a Good Poster?

  • Important information should be readable from about 10 feet away (title, headings, etc.) 
  • Title is short and draws interest
  • Total poster word count of about 300 to 800 words
  • Text is clear and to the point
  • Use of bullets, numbering, and headlines make it easy to read
  • Effective use of graphics, color and fonts
  • Consistent and clean layout
  • Includes acknowledgments, your name and institutional affiliation

Poorly Designed Poster

Image Credit: Critique by Better Posters

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