Just because you CAN lay out your text like a ransom note composed from letters in magazine clippings does not mean you SHOULD.
Save the viewer’s time. Include a brief caption
If you’re going to use an image for the background, make it simple and non-distracting; complement your layout’s flow. Also, make sure that boxes containing text have a light, opaque or near-opaque “fill” color.
Research poster design
Systems Librarian | Lavery Library | St. John Fisher College
Slides available: libguides.sjfc.edu/tutorial/researchposterdesign
Portions of this presentation were adapted from
Create your file in PowerPoint, Publisher, or InDesign
On the View Menu, show “Guides”
Choose a template or layout that matches the size, orientation, and
shape that you need printed
(the printer can’t turn a square into a rectangle without distortion)
Your final version should be saved as PDF with embedded fonts
A story follows a logical path.
Lead viewers through yours.
Organize in clear sections
Use short, meaningful titles for sections
(standard ones, if discipline-appropriate)
Order sections for logical flow
Only deviate from
Consider visual flow:
Where does the viewer look first?
Are questions asked, and answered?
Images, white space, and contrast make it or break it.
Your poster should consist of roughly
40% space l e a v e
b r e a t h i n g
r o o m
White space provides:
Rhythm or Flow
“Padding” keeps text from touching
borders, backgrounds, and other images
Image source: http://www.w3schools.com/css/css_boxmodel.asp
More text =
More time standing,
making sense of the work
Less time engaging
with you and others
Posters are about sharing
If a reader is interested,
she can talk to you or
Keep text easy-to-read.
(“Edwardian Script” is not easy to read.)
Sans-serif fonts are generally
more legible from a distance.
Serif fonts can work if their size is
big enough. Headings!
Times New Roman
Choose 2 fonts
typeface and size
for all text of the
with purpose Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/iampeas/2796154727/
Body text: 24pt
These are only suggestions; every poster is different. From:
instead of text
a brief caption to
make a point 0
January February March April May June July August September
Headcounts by Month and Time of Day
9:00am 11:00am 1:00pm 3:00pm 5:00pm 7:00pm
1:00 is our peak traffic timeslot, but close to Finals Week,
people stay in the library later.
Use 150-300 dpi (dots per inch)
print like this.
(72 dpi is standard
on the Web)
images into the
then ZOOM to
100% to check
Make sure text and
“The Squint Test:”
is text readable when
transparency Source: http://www.makesigns.com/tutorials/poster-design-layout.aspx
Keep colors consistent for
content of the same type
Use a color picker tool or
Soft colors for most
information, and brighter
colors for highlights
Keep backgrounds light
Contrast aids readability
(Don’t forget colorblindness)
If data represents a scale,
use colors in visible order
Small data points (line
charts, scatter plots) need
brighter colors to be seen
The hardest text to read in this chart is the most important.
If you didn’t write it, cite it (Hockenberry, 2015).
Videos and text walkthroughs
Adobe Color CC (was Kuler)