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Apex & Student Research: Creating a Poster

Useful software and sites for creating a poster

Canva: An easy to understand website for creating a variety of documents. Make sure you create your document with inches not pixels. Save often. Download as a JPG.

PowerPoint: A popular, easy-to-use option. It is part of Microsoft Office package and is available on campus computers. (Advice for creating a poster with PowerPoint).

Publisher: A lot of the same elements as PowerPoint. Available on campus computers. Click here for sample template.

Open Source Alternatives: OpenOffice in the free alternative to MS Office (Impress is its PowerPoint alternative). Inkscape and Gimp are alternatives to Adobe products. For charts and diagrams try Gliffy or Lovely Charts. A complete list of free graphics software.

Pixabay: Website with free images to use in your poster. Download large images so they won't pixelate on your poster.

Basics of Poster Design

  • Your goal is to convey a clear message and support it with a compelling combination of images and short blocks of text. What is the one thing you want your audience to learn? If something doesn't reinforce your message, leave it out.
  • White space is good. Don’t fill up the whole thing. If it’s too busy people won’t take the time to stop and look at it.
  • Have a good visual balance of figures and text, separated by white space. Balance occurs when images and text are mirrored (at least approximately) across a central horizontal, vertical, or diagonal axis. Symmetry is key.
  • Fonts
    • Stay consistent – double check that all headings (30-34pt), body text (22-28pt), and graph and photo captions (18pt) are the same
  • Use plain language. Avoid jargon and acronyms unless you're really positive your audience will understand.
  • Minimize text - use images and graphs instead. Keep text elements to 50 words or fewer. Use phrases and bullet points rather than full sentences.
  • Left-justify text; avoid centering and right-justifying text.
  • Dark text on light background is best. It is easiest to read and uses less ink when printing.
  • There should be logical flow between sections. A standard arrangement is columns followed top to bottom and left to right.
  • Be sure to put a caption with each image or figure so people know what they are looking at.
  • Try to keep images 4x6 and bigger
  • Be sure to include a bibliography
  • Triple check spelling, grammar and punctuation

Presentation Tips

Kent State University has provided some great suggestions for presenting your poster, including video examples. Check them out here!

Acknowledgement

Some content on this guide adapted with permission from George Mason University Writing Center.

Poster Visual Tips

  • Justify your text & ensure that lines don't break in the middle of words.
  • Use a standard, simple font such as Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial.
  • Use large font & make section headings bold and/or a bit larger.
  • Dark text on light background is best. It is easiest to read and uses less ink when printing.
  • There should be logical flow between sections. A standard arrangement is columns followed top to bottom and left to right. Try something like the example below (sections are labeled as for an experimental poster in the sciences).

See more tips & sample posters at: http://www.ncsu.edu/project/posters/Sample poster

More poster help