Posters present your topic or research in a concise, visual format. Conferences frequently hold poster sessions because they provide an opportunity for many people to display their research at one time to many other people. Posters sessions can be a great networking opportunity but only if your poster can attract the attendees over to you.
left to right
Roger Knouff (former Map and GIS Librarian), Taylor Feiereisel (FSE graduate), Kyle Squires (FSE Dean), Linda Shackle (Engineering Librarian)
Photo taken FURI Spring 2012
A poster has many of the same components as a journal article or student report however it is much more succinct and must have substantial visual elements. The visual elements are important as they not only attract the reader to the poster but also present information in an easily understood format. The rule of thumb for posters - less text, more pictures.
The information on a poster should include:
Note: This is not a formula or template. You do not necessarily need to divide the poster into exactly these sections nor use this exact wording as headings.
Always check with your instructor or the event's organizational sponsor for poster guidelines and/or if examples of previous posters are available. If the event guidelines differ from what is written below follow the event guidelines.
Poster size varies as this can depend on the amount of event space and the type of display. Poster size should be given in the event guidelines; if not, ask.
The guidelines should also specify the display conditions so that you'll know if the poster will need a stiff backing for propping on an easel or sitting on a table. If the poster will be attached to a bulletin board, wall or other upright structure, a backing will not be needed.
The following suggestions may be helpful but not all will apply to every situation.
The best backgrounds are usually a solid white or very light neutral color as this will not compete with the content. Avoid using wallpaper as a background; at the very least the images can be distracting and tend to draw the reader's eye away from the content; at worst, text may be unreadable when placed over the wallpaper's images. If you can't live without that wallpaper background, put your text on a solid, light color block.
Font Style and Size
Color is essential in a poster to catch the reader's eye and to distinguish the different elements. Black text on white background with no color is not a poster, it's a term paper blown out of proportion.
Look the part
The following references were consulted for this guide; please read these for further details and suggestions ...
General Poster Guidelines
Rule of Thirds
These sites give you examples of posters (mostly academic style but some other styles are shown, too). Keep in mind that not all of the examples shown represent good design.