Poster Session Guidelines
Purpose of a Poster Session
Poster sessions are opportunities for authors to visually display and briefly discuss their research. The audience will consist of viewers who will pass by and expect to quickly understand what was done and why it matters. Many viewers will stop to discuss the research and results. Authors should be prepared to answer questions and engage in short discussions with their visitors. The clear, attractive poster will draw more people to your table but creating a good poster takes time. Too much information, too many graphics and the viewer can become confused. To help you create a focused, visually appealing poster, please follow the guidelines below.
Five Essential Questions Each Poster Should Address
- What is the problem being explored?
- What is the current knowledge regarding this problem?
- Why does your research matter?
- What happened in your study?
- What can you conclude from your work/ or what does this mean for the future?
Guidelines for Poster Preparation
- To apply to present a poster, you must submit an abstract. Abstracts may be no longer than 400 words in total and must include information on both a) Background/ Questions/ Methods, using up to 200 words to identify the objective of the study; and b) Results/ Conclusions, using up to 200 words to explicitly report the results of the study.
- Posters are landscape format 4 ft wide x 3 ft tall. These are maximum dimensions for each poster; there is no width x height requirement except that the poster fits on the board.
- 3/1/2013 Update: The boards we have are 4×8 cork boards with fabric, so you have half of that board. A letter sent out previously said 4×4 posters. These measurements are acceptable.
Guidelines for Poster Presentation Session
- Presenting authors must be present for the scheduled period when their poster is being displayed.
- Pushpins will be supplied and are the only method for attaching the poster to the board.
- Poster presenters may not use audio-visual equipment but are welcome to bring along handouts associated with their presentation.
Suggested Sample of a Poster Layout
The title of the poster should quickly orient the audience. It should include the title of the work, the authors’ names and the institutional affiliations.
- Make the title the most prominent block of text on the poster—either center or left justify at the top.
- The title banner should be readable from 15-20 feet away.
- Do not typeset the title in all capital letters—such text is difficult to read.
- Use small words such as: of, from, with, to, the, a, an, or and to separate details in the title.
Specific sections should be easy to locate on the poster. Once readers recognize what the work is, they decide how much energy to invest into the poster. One good test is whether the audience recognizes the subject and purpose within 20 seconds of seeing the poster. Usually a poster accomplishes this goal with a well-crafted title and supporting images. The type should be large enough to be easily read with enough contrast between the color of the type and the poster’s background. (Black text is ideal, font 16-30 pt., headings should have larger fonts.) Use a colored background to unify the poster.
- Background/purpose (states research problem and should quickly address the subject matter).
- Methods (description of the approach).
- Arrange the material into columns.
- Data/Results (summary of findings, if unique state so).
- Conclusions and implications for the future.
Keep in Mind
- Design individual sections so that they can be quickly read (use numbers or bullets).
- Use text sparingly. A poster should not contain large blocks of text or long sentences. Limit text to between 500 and 1500 words.
- Whenever possible, use images such as photographs, drawings and graphs to explain what happened.
- Keep focused, strive for clarity. A congested poster with too much information can confuse your audience. Blank space makes the poster seem less complicated and more approachable. Use it to create a more organized appearance.
- Select a dark color (black/blue) for main text, select red for important text, use fill color for identifying group, or entire element, or use one color to indicate importance of your headings.
- Use up to but no more than 3 different fonts for best visual appeal.