Creating Effective Posters

| Audience | Organization | Poster Design Tips | Presentation |

Thank you for your interest in creating a poster for Undergraduate Research Week! As soon as your abstract is accepted, visit the conference website for information about space/size restrictions, format rules, supplies, length of time, and competitions/judging. Then, please use the information on this page to create a good poster. Your completed poster is going to visually convey a message; it will serve as an effective summary of your research. Remember to create your poster so that the average college student will be able to understand your work! Clear organization and large font (readable at least 4 feet away) are going to be key in creating your posters.

I. Audience
  • One size does not fit all! Consider your audience and purpose. View the poster as an opportunity to:
    • Persuade others of your interpretation or hypotheses
    • Advertise your research
    • Gain insight or feedback that will help your research to evolve
    • Teach others about a topic
II. Organization
  • Posters in science disciplines follow the scientific method, with headings for each of the steps
  • All other disciplines should make a “road map” for the viewer by labeling sections, preferably with headings that “talk” (i.e., convey specific information)
    • Introduction (with hypothesis or study purpose)
    • Methodology
    • Results
    • Interpretations or analysis
    • Conclusions
    • Acknowledgments
    • References
  • The difference between posters and journal articles:
    • Posters focus the results and interpretation
    • Posters often omit details about the methodology and are more general
    • Posters focus more on visuals (graphics) than text
    • Posters use an introduction instead of an abstract (unless otherwise required)
III. Poster Design Tips
  • Be sure it is readable, use large text (at least 18-24 pt.)
  • Keep it simple, do not use more than 2-3 font styles total
  • Ensure that it’s not “too busy
    • Use fonts that are easy to read
    • Avoid clutter or unneeded information (avoid too much detail)
    • Use “white space” and headings to separate sections
    • Choose colors carefully and be aware of contrast. If you are not sure, remember that dark colored text on a light background is best
  • Choose a title that effectively captures what your research is about. The title’s text size should be at least twice the size of the regular text. The content of your title should include include:
    • Your name
    • Presentation number
    • Contact information
    • Institutional affiliation
  • Layout and headings should be visually stimulating (create a visual hook for your audience)
  • Develop a user-friendly visual information flow. Make it easy for your reader to discern the order and relevance of your text and images.
    • Judiciously incorporate figures, tables, images, and other graphics that support the theme of your poster
    • Ensure that all graphics are high-resolution and easily visible
  • Proof for errors and inconsistencies! This is very important, but often overlooked
  • Make use of “figure speak”—that is, it is okay to NOT use complete sentences in figure captions
  • IV. Presentation
    • Posters are active presentations
    • Prepare a short (3-5 minute) explanation (an overview of study motivation; why it is important; what you did; what you learned). Explain your results by using the visuals (figures, tables, images)
    • Practice your talk with friends and/or family before your formal presentation
    • Interact with viewers and be courteous; include others if they want to join the presentation
    • More...

Posters can be printed for FREE in the Media and Digital Resource Lab (located in the Auburn University Ralph Brown Draughon Library).


Last Updated: July 17, 2014

Auburn University | Auburn, Alabama 36849 | (334) 844-5772 |
Website Feedback | Privacy | Copyright © | For website issues, contact the webmaster