How to make a good research poster

The following are just guidelines. If your institution has a template, please use what they have available to you.

  • SC INBRE encourages a poster size of 48" wide by 36" tall.

  • When designing your poster, keep in mind that this a visual of your abstract, a SUMMARY of your research, not the entire paper. Poster should stand on its own as a clear, logic presentation of your work, without any explanation from you.

  • DO NOT DOWNLOAD LOGO FROM THE WEB! Any version you find online is very low registration and will not produce very well. For link to hi res logo, click here.

A good poster is readable from 4' to 6' away.

Text sizes - a good guideline is:

    • Title: 80-85 pt

    • Authors: 54-56 pt

    • Sub-headings: 36 pt

    • Body text: 24 pt

    • Captions: 18 pt

Keep a clear flow in mind. Good posters read up and down, left to right.

  • Limit the amount of words on your poster - 300 is a good target. Less is best.

  • Watch your use of colors. Limit it to 2 or 3. Keep it visually interesting and easy on the eyes. Avoid yellow on white and blue on red (and vise versa). Avoid busy backgrounds (the above image is an example of a bad poster).

  • 7% of the male-population is red-green color-blind – use of these colors to represent contrasting concepts should be avoided.

  • Don't forget acknowledgements.

  • Include your contact info – i.e. mail address, phone, email.

For the poster session, prepare an “elevator pitch” - one to two minute summary of your project that you could deliver to anyone during a typical elevator ride. You know what you know, but your audience does not. Keep it clear and concise. Click here for more tips on how to prepare an elevator pitch.

  • Images should be at least 150 dpi, but not more than 300 dpi. Save photos as .jpg or .png; line art as .png (graphs). Unless you know that they are hi res images, for the most part, images on the web do not make good images for posters.

  • A good test is to print a letter size version of your poster. Can you read the type? Are these the colors you really want? Does it look too busy? Do my main points pop? (It's also a good idea to have extra letter size versions of your poster with you at the poster session for anyone interested to take with them for later reference – especially if you are job hunting.)

Examples of good poster design

Examples of Bad poster design