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Academic Poster Presentation - Design Tips, Guidelines and Templates


An academic poster summarize information of your research, scholarly, or creative project in a visually engaging way.
Most of conferences/seminar include academic poster presentations in their program.
At a conference, the researcher stands by the academic poster display while other participants can come and view the poster presentation and interact about research with the author.
It must be academically sound, highlighting the context of your work (through graphics including photographs, flowchart, etc.), your methods, and results (with graphs, charts, photographs, etc.).
The poster should clear, logical presentation of your work, without any explanation from you.
To do a poster presentation, you should prepare an “elevator speech” – a one to two-minute summary of your project that you could deliver to anyone during a typical elevator ride.
Don’t wait for viewers to ask a question; say, “Would you like to hear about my research in about two minutes or less?” This frees them from having to read and figure it all out themselves. Then offer to answer questions. If you don’t know an answer, admit it, speculate with the person, or ask what is he thinks. Don’t forget to check to see if your listener understands the technical aspects of your explanation and if what you’re saying makes sense.
Be sure to speak clearly & loudly enough to be heard and slow enough that you think you are speaking too slowly.
Don’t use fillers like “um,” “uh,” “you know,” “like” and “okay.”


  1. Standard Design
  2. Abstract Sidebar Design
  3. Title-Left Design
  4. Tri-Fold Design


  • Meet the guidelines for the specific event.
  • Match the audience knowledge base and interests.
  • Focus your message – what is the one thing you want people to remember?
  • Convey your message visually.
  • Must be readable from about 4 – 6 feet away.
  • Must be clearly organized.


Posters typically include many of the sections listed below.
  • Title
  • Collaborators (including you) and their institutional affiliations
  • Abstract
  • Background or literature review
  • Research questions
  • Materials, methods, process, or approach
  • Results or conclusion (Insight, main argument, and significance of work)
  • Future directions, especially if your work in progress
  • Applications
  • Acknowledgements
  • Contact information


Poster specification depends upon guidelines provided by poster presentation organizing committee but still consider the following tips when designing your poster.
  • Most students use Microsoft PowerPoint to design posters. Make sure to start by setting the page size to your final poster size. More sophisticated programs such as Illustrator, Corel Draw, Publisher, Adobe InDesign, or Photoshop are other options for poster designing.
  • Use large text (e.g. title >72pt; headings 30-60 pt; your text should be at least 18-24 pt;)
  • Do not use more than 2-3 font styles total.
  • Use fonts that are easy to read (such as Arial, Times New Roman, and Garamond).
  • Left-justify the text within text boxes or fully justify blocks of text.
  • Avoid too much text (no more than 800 words max) and undefined technical words (depending upon your potential audience).
  • Use of numbering, bullets, and headlines make your poster easy to read.
  • Effective use of graphics, tables, chart, graph, color and fonts.
  • Consistent and clean layout of poster.
  • Poster must be eye catchy.
  • Choose colors carefully and pay attention to contrast.
  • If you are in doubt, dark print on light background is best.
  • Organize and align your content with headings, sections, columns, and blocks of text.
  • White space is important to increase readability and visual appeal (this is the “empty” space between sections, columns, headings, blocks of text, and graphics).
  • Selectively put together charts, graphs, photographs, key quotations from primary sources, and other graphics that support the theme of your academic poster.
  • It is best to avoid using tables of data.
  • If you are using images from the web or other sources, make sure you are not infringing the copyright law.
  • You may ask permission from the source or use of images that are licensed.
  • Avoid blurry images; make sure all graphics are high resolution (at least 300ppi) and easily visible.
  • Include the Institute logo in your poster. (Try to use PNG format)
  • Check your poster carefully for typographic or grammatical mistakes.
  • Check the image quality before the final print-out (use the print preview function).


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