1.A poster is a visual presentation of information and should be designed as such – do not simply reproduce your written abstract in poster format.
•It should be understandable to the reader without verbal comment
•Remember what you are trying to do: catch someone’s attention
2.Tell them what question you were trying to answer
3.Tell them what you found out
Contents of the poster
• Make sure the title and your name are prominent and eye-catching.
• Remember to include contact details.
• Tell a story: provide clear flow of information from introduction to conclusion
• Focus on the major findings – a common fault is to try to cover too much. Few people are going to read everything on your poster, so get to the point.
• Use graphs, tables, diagrams and images where appropriate. Use boxes to isolate and emphasise specific points.
Steps to make your poster
Plan it on paper first. Let the technology serve the message, not dictate it.
Once you’ve planned it, you can use Microsoft PowerPoint or Word to create your poster. These are not graphical layout applications, but they are adequate in most cases.
Some tips to get you started are given below:
• In PowerPoint, create your poster as a single slide. You can set the page size when you start using Design > Page Setup, so if you want an A3 poster, you can specify this before you start (measure this out manually). ◦PowerPoint also allows you to add guidelines to help you line up the poster elements. Click View, then tick Gridlines.
• In Word, create your poster as a single side of A3. You can always scale it up when you come to print it. ◦Add a grid by clicking View and ticking Gridlines.
• In both applications, you can add text boxes to the page using Insert > Shapes. This approach allows you to control exactly how text is positioned on the page.
When the poster is designed, you should convert it to PDF for printing, using PDF Creator or Adobe Acrobat. The conversion process can be problematic: edges of words and images may be cut off near to the margins, images may appear degraded or misshapen, and elements may have shifted and become overlapping. However, by ironing out these problems at the conversion stage, you avoid nasty surprises later when you come to print it out. When the PDF looks good, you can be pretty confident that the printed version will also be ok.
Test your poster early, and regularly, by converting to PDF and printing to A3, to make sure you’re not storing up layout problems that will be difficult to correct later on.
When converting your poster to PDF, take care that your images are not degraded in the process. They may look fine on-screen but then look blurry or pixellated when printed as A3.
The following process, in Word or PowerPoint, will ensure that images retain their resolution up to A3 size (provided that they were sufficiently high-resolution in the first place – 300 pixels per inch should be sufficient).
First, set the page size:
• Design > Page setup… in PPT / Page Layout > Size in Word
• (Word only) Choose More paper sizes… at the bottom
• Set Width to A3
If using PDFcreator or Adobe Acrobat to convert to PDF, check the print resolution before converting:
• Set printer to Adobe PDF or PDFcreator, and click Printer Properties underneath
• Select Layout tab and click Advanced…
• Set Graphic > Print Quality to at least 600 dpi
• Use all the space at your disposal, but do not cram in the content – white space is an important part of the layout, and good use of it can make a poster elegant and arresting.
• Use colour sparingly – limited use of a few colours is more striking than a ‘rainbow’ approach. Think about why you are using colour; it is especially useful for emphasis and differentiation. ◦ Avoid colour combinations that clash (e.g. red on blue) or cause problems for people with colour-blindness (e.g. red and green in proximity).
• Use white or muted colour background (e.g. pastel shades)
• The flow of information should be clear from the layout; if you have to use arrows to indicate the flow, the content could probably be arranged better.
• Clearly label diagrams/drawings and provide references to them in the text where necessary.
• Again, follow the conference guidelines, which may be quite specific about paper sizes, font sizes etc.
• The title text should be readable from 6 metres away – at least 48-point text.
• The body text should be readable from 2 metres away – at least 24-point text
• Choose a clear font with large inner space (i.e. the space inside the loops of letters such as ‘o’, ‘d’, ‘p’). Good examples are Arial, Verdana, Georgia or Helvetica.
- The poster is written in a style that is persuasive so you wish to read all off it
- There is a logical flow to the information provided