Designing Effective Academic Posters

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Finding it difficult to narrow down the key strategies to designing an informative and attractive academic poster? Learn helpful design techniques and explore several good and bad examples posters.

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Designing Effective Academic Posters

  1. 1. Poster PresentationsStay Focused | Get Visual | Keep it StructuredCAPS/GRC/RWJFWednesday, November 10 2010
  2. 2. Goals of the Poster✤ Inform readers about your work✤ Advertise your work✤ Start a conversation!
  3. 3. Bad Posters✤ Difficult to tell the main point✤ Very small text✤ Poor charts & pictures✤ Badly organized
  4. 4. Focus✤ A poster should be narrowly focused - try to carve a single message from your research.
  5. 5. Visual✤ It’s better for people to see your research on a poster than it is for them to read it. This is because most academic conference attendees are illiterate.
  6. 6. Structure✤ A poster needs to be organized in two different ways: visually and narratively. ✤ Visually there should be a clear connection from one part of the poster to the next. ✤ Narratively, there should be a logical flow of ideas in the text, charts, and pictures of the paper.
  7. 7. Important First Questions✤ How much space do you have? ✤ Poster size limitations can vary from 3 x 4 feet, or 5 x 6 feet.
  8. 8. Important First Questions✤ How much money do you have? ✤ It can get expensive printing a huge poster. Will it all be in color? Will it be glossy? Where will you print it?
  9. 9. Important Questions✤ Who is your audience? ✤ Don’t waste the time of professionals in your field by explaining basics ✤ But don’t confuse interested amateurs when presenting to them.
  10. 10. Frame Your Message✤ Get rid of any details that are not directly relevant to the main message of the poster. They only take up space, and no one will remember them.
  11. 11. Layout✤ Columnar Layout. Decide what to emphasize.
  12. 12. Headings✤ Each heading is like a newspaper headline. Someone should be able to read it and get an idea of what the rest says.
  13. 13. Charts✤ Make charts with good contrast with the background - and with an easy to see relationship.
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