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Creating a Poster

Step by step instructions on creating a poster; general tips and ideas for poster design


Your time spent planning tends to pay off many-fold compared with trying to plan and create at the same time. 

Planning can be straight forward: write down the key points you want to include and how you will lay them out on the poster.

What's my message?

Everything you put on your poster relates to a carefully crafted message.

  • You must be able to state your main point(s) and conclusion(s) clearly and succinctly.

  • All visuals and text should relate to those points and conclusions.

Image of a ruler

How much room do I have?

Determine specific size requirements - visit conference web site or otherwise consult with conference organizers. Area available determines, in part, ...

  • what you can fit,

  • what you'll have to leave out,

  • layout (landscape vs. portrait orientation),

  • and how things will be organized.



  • Especially important if the poster is multi-authored.

  • Start with the due date and work back to create milestones.

  • Allow time for peer review and heavy editing.


This is a standard layout for poster.  The title is centered across the top with the other elements in either three or four columns similar to a newspaper.  Traditionally, posters are read left to right, top to bottom.  Charts are often placed in the middle.

That said, there are variations in layout. 

Title (100 – 200 pt) (Avoid script and specialty fonts)

Authors & affiliations (70-90 pt)

Introduction - what you are studying, why it's important and how your analysis will add to practice   

Data/Methods - how the data was gathered

  • For other types of interventions or program evaluations, list who, when, where, and how many, along with how the project was implemented and assessed.

Results - the findings of the project

Objectives - what the goals of the project were/are

Chart - display data visually if possible

- interpretation of the results.  May put the implications here or in separate section

Background - the context of where this project fits

Chart/graph  150-300 dpi

References - sources used in poster


Major headings: 36 to 60 points
Text: no less than 20pt

The above are only guidelines. When you have completed a draft, take a look at your font sizes and tweak them as needed to make them look good.
Generally speaking, titles and headings should be bold. Text should not be bold.

NOTE that this layout doesn't show use of white space.

AND feel free to use other section headers such as "Research Question" in place of "Introduction"


Example poster

Symmetry and White Space

  • balance the placement of text and graphics to create visual appeal.
  • use white space creatively to help define the flow of information.


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