Guidelines for Poster Session

Each poster space is 3' high x 4' wide

1. Prepare a heading indicating (a) the title of your paper and (b) the author(s) for the top of your poster space. The lettering for the heading should be at least 1" high; use both upper- and lower-case lettering and avoid reverse-print: use dark lettering on a light background. Use a lightweight backing for the heading and for the rest of the poster.

2. Your poster should include the following sections: Abstract, Introduction (including hypotheses), Methods, Participants, Procedures, Results, and Conclusions (or Implications).

3. A poster is a visual presentation of information. Rely sparingly on verbal print, rely on a lot of graphs, charts, tables, and even pictures to communicate information. The text should focus on the main points of your design, purpose, method, and conclusions. The text should be readable from a distance of three feet.

4. As a visual presentation, effective poster presentations need to draw the audience in (by being attractive) and communicate important information simply and clearly. Effective posters are laid out in a sequence, are symmetrical, use color to enhance the presentation and limit text pages to approximately 6 pages (minimum 28-point font). It is a good idea to lay your poster out at home to see how it looks, and then adjust until you have it the way you like.

5.Posters do not stand alone, however. Your availability and interaction style will also influence the number of people who read your poster and talk with you about it. Be at your poster at all times during the session. When giving a poster presentation at a conference, use inviting behaviors (e.g., nonverbal behaviors such as smiling and making eye contact with viewers and verbal behavior such as saying "Hello. Do you do research in this field?" Or "Would you like a guided tour of this project?" to initiate conversation. Viewers also appreciate having important information pointed out to them (e.g., a clear abstract or a novel methodological approach).



Visual Appearance

The title should:

1. State the independent and dependent variables.

2. Be readable from 6 feet away.

3. Be in capital and lower-case letters.

4. In dark lettering on light background.

5. Be no longer than 10 words.

The layout should:

1. Be colorful.

2. Include graphs and/or tables.

3. Include pictures where appropriate.

4. Include font that is legible from 3 feet away.

5. Symmetrical in appearance.

6. Focus on major findings.

7. Have eight or fewer sections.

8. Include sections that are labeled.

Interactive Factors

1. Professional appearance and demeanor (dress up like you are at a conference…) is expected.

2. Be responsive to questions

3. Approach people who are interested in your research.

4. Be confident and have pride in your work.

5. Convey how your research fits into various fields of study.

6. Be enthusiastic.



Purpose or objective of the study

What you did


What you found

What the implications are


Suggested steps in the construction of your poster.


Plan your poster early. Focus your attention on a few key points. Try various styles of data presentation to achieve clarity and simplicity. Does the use of color help? What needs to be expressed in words? Suggest headlines and text topics.


Enlarge your best initial sketch, keeping the dimensions in proportion to the final poster. Ideally, the rough layout should be full size. A blackboard is a convenient place to work. Print the title and headlines. Indicate text by horizontal lines. Draw rough graphs and tables. This will give you a good idea of proportions and balance. Try to get feedback from friends, professors, and others. This is still an experimental stage.


The artwork is complete. The text and tables are typed by not necessarily enlarged to full size. Now ask, is the message clear? Do the important points standout? Is there a balance between words and illustrations? Is there a spatial balance? Is the pathway through the poster clear?


There are a number of ways to make a poster. Many professionals are printing posters out on large color printers that have 36-inch wide paper. If all your documents are saved in commonly used programs and program types (e.g., Microsoft Word and Excel, Adobe, pict or jpeg files) then you can bring your disk to Kinko's in Salem and they can help you print out a poster. Depending on how your files are set up and how large your poster is, it will probably cost between $40 and $60. Call ahead to get information about how to set up your computer files.

You can use large pieces of picture matting and use an adhesive spray to attach pieces of paper. Or, you can use smaller pieces of picture matting and attach them to individual pieces of paper. These can be attached to the wall with double backed tape or adhesive ""play-do." Most conferences have boards that you can use tacks to attach your poster (we won't have these boards).

Much of this handout is based on information found at the following web sites: