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Physician Assistant Resources: Research Posters

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

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