Generally posters are laid out in the following segments:
- Title (identical to title of abstract)
- authors information
- Conclusions (Keep in mind that the first thing most viewers will do is look for and read your conclusion. Therefore, make sure the conclusions section of your poster is easy to identify and to read)
- References (in smaller font size, on the most relevant articles related to the study and/or on the study's background and methods used).
- As a final and optional part, in smaller font size type the author and you may wish to add acknowledgements and/or contact details of the main authors (email, phone number, website...)
Should such a lay out be employed, reading may be facilitated by indicating each of the poster segments (apart from the title) with a large number. The differentiation between the different segments could be shown with lines, bars or appropriate spaces.
Organize your poster with the starting point at the upper left corner and the ending part at the lower right corner.
Posters are first of all visual presentations (and not literature). As such, it is good to keep in mind that graphs, charts, photos or tables are particularly eye-catching. It is often considered that around 50% of a poster should be dedicated to illustrations.
To increase the proportion of figures in a poster a simple method would be: when thinking of your poster, first think of what figures, tables etc would be used if you had to describe your project with only visuals. If there are remaining items/ideas that have not been covered by figures, then complete with text.
Size of the poster
The size of the poster should not exceed 1.80 metres high and 0.85 metres wide. Most guidelines for a displayed poster suggest that a vertical presentation is more suitable. Therefore, it is advised that no more than 2 columns should be used.
Title of the poster
It has been shown that text in capital letters takes 10% more time to be read than text in lower case letters; therefore your title will be more easily read if it is in lower case letters.
Some participants may have chosen to visit your poster based on the abstract. As such, they should easily find your poster based on that title; poster titles should be identical with the title of the abstract. It is of high interest to have a large lettering for the poster's title, author and company; the font size of the title should be not less than 72 points.
Your poster should be easily readable from a distance of 1 to 2 meters. Therefore, your text must be not less than 16 points to enable easy reading. Avoid fonts that mimic hand writing or which are difficult to read. Arial or Times New Roman is usually a good choice. Use the chosen font throughout your poster: don't mix up different fonts on your poster text.
To facilitate reading, double-line space all text and use justification. Allocate a specific colour to the subtitles within the poster. They will be better distinguished from the text.
Important parts of the text may also be highlighted using different colours. Here are the major colours that are easily readable:
- Black on white (or a cream coloured background)
- Red on white (or a cream coloured background)
- Green on white (or a cream coloured background)
- Blue on white (or a cream coloured background)
It is advisable that you use simple and clear words. Try to avoid abbreviations as much as possible.
The shorter and the simpler the sentences are, the easier your poster will be to read.
All figures should include brief captions and a legend. It is sometimes advisable to show on the figure what is the most important (with an arrow, a bubble, a label...).
Use the same font throughout your poster (in both the text and graphics). Tables are preferable when data sets are small.
Lines in graphics should be thin. Graphics should lean towards a horizontal format rather than vertical. Ensure that within graphics, the axes are properly labelled, units are mentioned and symbols are explained.
Preference should be given to:
- Bar graphs or histograms for the comparison of two groups;
- Line graphs for the evolution of parameters;
- Pie-charts to represent a proportion within a whole.
For pictures or images use material with sufficiently high resolution in order to ensure good quality print. Make sure to use pictures without copyrights. Moreover, try to use images that are clear and of good colour and contrast (not too dark, not too light). Photos may be used to illustrate the location of the study and or the tools used.
Improving the impact of your poster
It is recommended that you produce a handout of your poster. It should be one (max. two) A4 page(s). Enable people to contact you, for example by putting an envelope below your poster - interested individuals will be able to leave their business card if they were not able to meet you at the poster exhibition. Mention also your contact details (at least an email address).
After writing your poster
Print your poster
It is recommended that you have a poster made out of one single large sheet.
Displaying your poster
Think of your poster as a valuable piece of knowledge - when travelling, do not leave it unattended. Necessary materials for hanging it at the poster session are available in the poster exhibition area
Guidelines for Poster Presenters