Some courses require you to present your research work as a poster. A poster is a static, visual medium that you can use to communicate your ideas and message - your poster must do the talking for you!

The size of your poster may be determined by your lecturer, venue or the space available. Your dilemma is how to present so much information in such limited space.

Content

This may vary so pay close attention to the brief set by your tutor.

  • Title: title of the project and the people involved.
  • Summary:  brief outline of the project, aims and objectives, methods, key findings and main results.
  • Introduction: clear statements of the issues involved and the aims and objectives of the project.
  • Methodology: explain and justify the techniques used.
  • Results: be selective. Use only those that illustrate the main findings of your project. Have the rest of your findings at hand in case anyone wants more details.
  • Conclusion: the main findings of your investigation.
  • Further work: outline how your work could be developed.
  • References/bibliography.

In other words, think of the What's, the How's and the Why's of your work and examine your results critically. 

Software

You could use software such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Publisher or Adobe Illustrator to create your poster.

For further information on using these software packages see the links below:

 

Layout And Design

There are no set rules, but as posters are primarily visual presentations, think about the balance between text and graphics. There should be approximately 20% text, 40% graphics and 40% empty space.

Consider the following points:

  • Determine the size of your poster. Some common poster sizes are A0, A1, A2.
  • It’s always a good idea to make a sketch of your poster beforehand to determine the overall layout and structure.
  • Determine a logical sequence for your information. Generally top to bottom and left to right.
  • Remember to include white space (areas not covered by a design element) within your poster. White space both guides the eye and gives it somewhere to rest. 
  • Make sure any graphics you use support the message of your poster and are of a high enough quality when printed at a large size.
  • Create a hierarchy of headings. Sans serif fonts such as Arial tend to be easier to read. Try to use a single font throughout your poster and use larger font sizes.
  • Use colour harmonies to tie together elements within your poster. Use an additional single colour for emphasis.
  • Resist the temptation to fill your poster with too much information. Edit your content ruthlessly.
  • Avoid poor colour combinations.
  • Beware of using images from the Web, they are often poor quality when enlarged and also bound by copyright.
  • Try not to confuse the eye. Remember that left to right and top to bottom is always the most natural path for the eye to follow.

To summarise these points we have created a cribsheet entitled Effective Poster Layout and Design [PDF] for you to download.

Printing

If you need to print in a large size such as A0, A1 or A2, use the plotter printers in the University Design Studio. Instructions are located near the printers.