An academic poster is a one page, visually appealing presentation of work which could present and summarise information. They are usually read from a short distance away so it is important that they are visually appealing and legible, with a logical layout. Normally a poster will include text (not too much) and graphics/images.

Depending on the requirements and guidelines, you could use software such as Powerpoint or Publisher to create the poster. Please check your module handbook for guidelines on poster size (this may be A1, A2 or A3), layout (portrait or landscape) and other factors such as typefaces to use for headings, subheadings and main text.

When preparing your poster, you should ask the following questions:

Why? Why is the poster required? To inform, to initiate discussion, to promote a product or to persuade? What do you hope to achieve?

Who? Who is the poster for? Is it a group of fellow students, an employer, the general public? How much will they know about the subject? What do they expect to learn from the poster?

Where? Where will the poster be? How much space will you have for display? How much space will there be to read the poster? What is the room layout?

What? What do you want to say? What format will your content be – text, graphics, a mix?


Think of the layout and the flow of information. How will you section and structure the information? Should one section be considered before another? Think of how the reader will follow the information on the poster.

Plan the poster:

Make a plan of the poster, indicating how the information will be displayed. You may want to have the page in grids to break down the space which will provide you with smaller sized areas. Each area may present an aspect of the information required. Within the grids also consider the flow of information and how the eye will travel across the page. Examples of different grid layouts for a portrait poster

poster presentation layout example

Add content to the poster:

Add a heading and suitable sub-headings for the various sections, if appropriate. You may want to use a few different sizes of fonts for headings, subheadings and main body text.

Your poster should be visually appealing so try to minimise the words – therefore summarise the main points and try to include graphics/images

Arrange the text and graphics under the headings as appropriate

Add arrows, numbers, lines etc to indicate the flow of information, if appropriate

Choose a colour scheme which fits with the content, and provides contrast to make text readable. Don’t mix too many colours and backgrounds, and make sure that colours used go together.

Do not fill poster with as much text as possible!

If you are required to present the content of your poster, see Presentation Skills

poster presentation example

Further details on poster presentations can be found at:

Poster presentations, University of Leicester

Making an Impact With Your Poster, University of Liverpool, (pdf)

Making an Impact With Your Poster, University of Liverpool (video)