Visual Appearance--Characteristics of the Layout
The poster is a visual presentation of information. So as well as using text, include graphs, charts, tables and pictures. The text should focus on the main points. Your poster should NOT be a copy of your written paper glued onto poster board. The reader should understand it without any help.
- Use colours to attract attention.
- Use graphs/tables to give information.
- Use pictures where suitable, but be careful of copyright infringement.
- Focus on major findings.
- Summarise implications and conclusions briefly, and in plain language.
- For dissertations include major sections: abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion.
- Sections should be labelled in a clear order.
- Decide the main message you want to give your audience.
- If the poster is about your project, check through your abstract once again - is it still accurate?
- Decide on the size of the poster (refer to the instructions in your project handbook).
- Check if you have everything you need for the poster:
Do you have the data? How much time will you need to prepare it (tables, photographs, and so on)?
Check your module guidelines but you will probably need to include: the title of the project, name(s), degree title, year of study and calendar year.
- The title banner should be readable from 5–6 metres away.
- Use abbreviations where possible.
- There are seldom rules about line justification of the title. Decide if you will justify the text of the title banner to the left or in the centre.
- Use a simple, easy to read font. A sans serif style, such as Verdana, Helvetica or Arial is ideal.
- Use boldface and CAPITALS for the title itself. Capital letters should be about 15mm tall.
- Use bold and mixed upper/lower case for the authors’ names.
- Use plain text (no bold) for main text
- Captions on figures and drawings should be 4/5 mm tall.
Double-space all text, using left-justification; jagged right sides are easiest to read.
The text should be large enough to be read easily from at least 2 metres away.
- Section headings (Introduction, Methods, and so on): use bold, 36 point.
- Supporting text (Introductory text, figure captions, and so on): use 24 point (bold, if appropriate).
- If you must include narrative details, keep them brief. They should be no smaller than 18 point in size, and printed in plain text. You might consider using a larger size (36 pt) for the Conclusion text, and a smaller size (18 pt) for Methods text.
Attempt to fit blocks of text onto a single page: This simplifies cutting and pasting when you assemble the poster.
- For the same reason, consider using 11 x 14 inch paper in landscape mode when printing text blocks on laser printers.
Be consistent. Choose one font and use it throughout the poster. Add emphasis by using bold, underlining, or colour; italics are difficult to read.
Since a poster is a visual presentation its success depends on how clear the illustrations and tables are.
- Use diagrams, flow charts, arrows, and other strategies to direct the viewer. Do not just use text.
- The graphics should be self-explanatory and make up most of the project.
- Text materials should add to the graphic materials.
- Use empty space between text to separate and stress your ideas.
- Graphic materials should be seen easily from a distance of 1.5 metres.
- Use two or three colours.
Still confused? Visit David McArthur within the Learning Development Centre in M534 to discuss your proposal.