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Academic Poster Design

Define the requirements; Find a Story and Tell it Simply;  Find Examples of good layout and design;  Iterate until you find a layout that works;  Refine the content and layout;  Print it

Before you start designing your poster, you will want to do some planning. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Who is my audience?

Are you presenting at a discipline-specific conference or at an interdisciplinary conference? This question will help you determine the content of your poster and whether you need to write your poster to be understood by those outside your discipline.

  • What are the conference requirements?

Does the conference ask for a vertically-aligned poster or a horizontally-aligned poster? Are there specific size requirements? If there are no requirements explicitly listed on the conference website or conveyed to you through your acceptance notification, don’t assume there are none—find a contact for the conference and ask!

  • What do posters presented at this conference/in my discipline look like?

Do a search on Google Images for the name of the conference and poster to get an idea of the types of posters presented and how they are laid out. If you want to get a sense of how posters look in your discipline, do this same search for a few conferences in your field. If you are unfamiliar with the big conferences in your field, search Google for professional organizations in your discipline. Those organizations often host conferences.

Define the Requirements:

Colgate printing standards: 43” x 35” with .5” borders

Dimensions and Orientation - it needs to fit into the space you’ve been assigned.

Intent -  when the poster is hanging on a wall, what message should it to send to readers?

Audience -  what prior knowledge are they bringing with them?

Also include:

  •  Title

  •  Name

  •  Thesis Statement

  •  Evidence & Analysis (2-3)

  •  Illustrations (1-3)

  • Citations (QR code possible)

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