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SPAN412: Literature of the Hispanic World: Creating a Poster

Basics of Poster Design

  • Virtual posters must be 1920px (wide) by 1080px (tall). Please set this as the dimensions of the project in whatever software you choose to use.
  • 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 larger than 600x600 px for virtual posters. Anything smaller and they will pixelate when enlargened on the poster.
  • Be sure to include a bibliography
  • Triple check spelling, grammar and punctuation

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.

Presentation Tips

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


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

How to create a poster

Poster examples

More poster help

Apex Poster Specifications & Template

- Posters must be no larger than 36” x 24” (excluding DNAS posters or posters from conferences with specific dimensions) 

- Must include a bibliography

- Must include student(s) names

- Must include course number and name

- Must include instructor(s) name

- Must include Apex and UD logos.