Poster Presentation Tips


1. A poster is more than a contributed paper tacked up on a poster board. Keep in mind that your poster will be viewed in a potentially crowded space and from a distance of more than 3 – 4 feet, so use appropriately large font. In order for your main points to be easily grasped, your poster should not consist of dense text. Your audience will be unable to stand for 15 - 20 minutes to read.

2. Since you will not always be present to engage a viewer in conversation and clarify or expand on the content, make sure that the most important elements of your presentation are easily identified, comprehensible, and complete without your presence to explain them. The poster should be able to tell a story on its own.

3. Design elements have a role in organizing and communicating content, not just in making things pretty. Develop a poster that incorporates concepts of unity, variety, space, scale, alignment, hierarchy, balance, and color.

4. Organize your content with columns, sections, headings and blocks of text.


5. Empty space is not wasted space. White space in a visual design provides “purposeful emptiness”.

6. Carefully consider the whole visual impact because a design’s unity is more than the sum of its parts. It is better to tell a simpler story clearly than to stuff in every last fact.


7. There are many good on-line resources for templates. Large format printing can often be done on campus, or at a commercial vendor.


8. Check your poster carefully for typographical and grammatical mistakes, as well as image quality before printing. Images should be high resolution so they do not look fuzzy.


9. Prepare a short “elevator speech” – a one to two minute summary of your project to deliver to people who stop at your poster. Allow people to review your poster first.


All posters on display during the formal poster session at the conference will be considered for the Best Visual Display Award, and the People’s Choice Award. The winners will be announced during the “Data with a Twist” time slot.




Revised June 2012 by Gary Boden, Paula Maas, Carol VanZile-Tamsen, and Jason Schweitzer

Updated in October 2017 by Krisztina Filep