General Guidelines on Poster Production

Your poster should be designed to convey the essence of your research in a clear and eye-catching way, to appeal to colleagues as well as non-specialists.

The following information should be cleary visible on your poster:

  • your name
  • your supervisor's name
  • your department

The ideal poster will:

  • attract passers-by to stop and take an interest
  • make a good impression
  • enable the viewer to remember key details of your research (what, why, how, who?)
  • encourage viewers to contact you for more information about your research

Poster size:

The most common poster sizes are A0 & A1.

Viewing distance:

You should ensure that your poster can be read clearly from a distance of 1 metre or more.

Viewing time:

It should be possible for the viewer to absorb the general information in your poster in a short time (up to 3 minutes).

Tips Tips on how to present your poster

Title
Should be meaningful but not complicated. Try not to baffle the readers (especially the non-specialists).
Clarity
Your display should be visually clear and easy to follow, with a clear description of the aims and method.
Colour
Good use of colour is helpful. Even if the majority of the material is in black and white it is important to highlight with colour. However, bear in mind that too much colour can be visually confusing.
Message
Ensure that the general overview of the poster is clear, and that the more detailed information is not too complex.
Relevance
Demonstrate how your research fits in with the world as a whole, to help viewers relate to it.
Images
Make sure the images you use are clear and of good quality.
Graphics
These must be sharp and relevant to the presentation. Charts, drawings and illustrations should be simpler and more heavily drawn than those you would use for slides. Use of colour is encouraged to add emphasis effectively.
Font-style and size
Be consistent in your choice of font, limiting yourself to one or two. Ensure that the font sizes are legible from the indicated viewing distance.
Grouping
Text and graphics should be grouped together in relevant and visually stimulating sets.
Layout / flow
Guide the viewer's eye in an orderly way. Ensure that there is a logical path of items to be followed. It may be appropriate to link sections with lines or arrows.
Borders
Adding an outer border to your poster, and bordering any sections contained within, generally helps to define your display clearly.
Contributors
Identify any contributors other than those shown at the top of your display.
Contact point
Provide your contact details to encourage people to find out more about your research. This could involve adding leaflets or cards for readers to take with them.
Summary
A concise summary may be useful. This could be done by giving a set of key points.

Tips Tips to make your poster memorable

Gimmicks are worth considering providing they are not banal. Some possible ideas are:

Use of analogies
Use an analogy which is easy for the viewer to remember. Relate your problem or its solution to the likely common experience of the viewer.
3-D
You may want to attach relevant three-dimensional models to the poster to add impact.
Interaction
Consider making the poster tactile. However, take care that viewers are not likely to cause damage.
Leaflets
You may wish to attach a leaflet dispenser to provide your contact details.

Try to Avoid:

  • Window pane effect
    Straight rows and columns of information are not visually stimulating especially if the size and content of each appears similar, giving a window pane effect. Use a pattern of sections - this need not be regular.
  • Sparseness
    Make sure that enough information is included on the poster. Don't make up for lack of information by using exceptionally large fonts and figures.
  • Clutter
    Conversely, avoid having so much information that the sections presented are unable to stand apart.
  • Too much detail
    Don't be tempted to include all you know on the subject - remember that the viewer has a limited time to look at your poster.
  • Irrelevant detail
    Try to avoid inappropriate side issues which may detract from the main subject

Useful links

Guide to Successful Poster Production
UCL Poster templates
UCL Poster Printing Service