Poster Preparation Guidelines

The temptation to overload the poster should be resisted. More material may mean less communication. The poster itself provides the highlights of the story, including graphs and diagrams, while the presenter verbally fills in the details and explains the story to the audience. The text should be in a "normal" font such as Times or Palatino. Do not use all capitals because this is too hard to read. The sections of your poster should line up and be arranged in a clear flow pattern reflecting the framework of your story.

The text of the different sections needs to be readable from different distances: title - 15 feet, authors names & affiliations - 10 feet, figure titles - 6 to 8 feet, figure captions - 3 to 4 feet, text (introduction, etc.) - 3 to 4 feet, and text on figures - 3 to 4 feet.

poster example

The poster should contain:

  • Title: A one-sentence, actively descriptive, title describing the main message and the authors' names and department (ex: a poster title such as "Caffeine Consumption is Positively Correlated with Sleeplessness in College Graduate and Undergraduate Students" is a better title than "The Effect of Caffeine on College Students.")
  • Introduction: 2 – 4 paragraphs
  • Methods: 1 – 2 paragraphs/techniques
  • Results: Figures including titles, figure numbers, and descriptive captions ("figure legends"). A brief section describing the research tests you ran and linking them to the Figures. The ordering of the figures in the results section should provide the framework of your research "story."
  • Discussion: Describes your results and conclusions. Conclusions may be in paragraph form or in a bulleted or numbered list. The other option is to have a combined Results/Discussion/Conclusion section.
  • References: A list of the references used in your poster, in APA format.


To get help with designing your poster, check out the following web sites: