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Poster Presentation Guidelines

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Priority Deadline: August 28, 2020

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Jump to: Aim and Format, Design and Layout, Lettering, Text, Visuals, Misc. Suggestions, Poster Example

Poster Presentation General Aim and Format

  • A poster is a graphically based approach to presenting research. In presenting your research with a poster, you should aim to use the poster as a means for generating an active discussion of the research.
  • Limit the text to about one-fourth of the poster space, and use visuals (graphs, photographs, schematics, maps, etc.) to tell your “story.”
  • See photographed examples of poster presentations at the bottom of this page

Design and Layout Specifications

Poster Easels for Poster Sessions
Floor Easel
  • We will be using floor easels to display the posters this year. The entire poster must be mounted on a 30” x 40” foam core board. The poster does not necessarily have to fill the entire working area.
  • A banner displaying your poster title, name, and department (or class, if appropriate) should be positioned at the top-center of the board. Make it obvious to the viewer how to progressively view the poster. The poster generally should read from left to right, and top to bottom.
  • Numbering the individual panels, or connecting them with arrows is a standard “guidance system.” Leave some open space in the design. An open layout is less tiring to the eye and mind.


  • Word-process all text (including captions). Print on plain white paper with a laser printer or inkjet printer.
  • The text should be readable from five feet away. Use a minimum font size of 18 points.
  • Lettering for the title should be large (at least 70 point font). Use all capital letters for the title.


  • Keep the text brief. Blocks of text should not exceed three paragraphs. Use text to:
    • Introduce the study. (What hypothesis was tested or what problem was investigated? Why was the study worth doing?)
    • Explain visuals and direct viewers’ attention to significant data trends and relationships portrayed in the visuals.
    • State and explain the interpretations that follow from the data. In many cases, conclusions can be summarized in a bullet-point list.
  • Depending upon the stage or nature of your project, the text could also include sections on future research plans or questions for discussion with viewers.
  • Cite and reference any sources of information other than your own, just as you would do with a research paper. Please be mindful of the particular citation system that you should use (every discipline uses slightly different styles). The “References Cited” section is placed at the end of the poster.


  • Present numerical data in the form of graphs, rather than tables (graphs make trends in the data much more evident). If data must be presented in table form, please keep it simple.
  • Make sure that any visual can “stand alone” (i.e. graph axes are properly labeled, maps have north arrows and distance scales, symbols are explained, etc.). Visuals should be simple and bold. Leave out or remove any unnecessary details. Use color to enhance comprehension, not to decorate the poster. Neatly coloring black-line illustrations with colored pencils is entirely acceptable.
  • Make sure that the text and the visuals are integrated. Figures should be numbered consecutively according to the order in which they are first mentioned in the text. Each visual should have a brief title (for example: Figure 1 – Location of Study Area).

Miscellaneous Suggestions

  • Simplicity is key. Keep to the point and present only enough data to support your conclusions.
  • Create your visuals first. Write the text afterward.
  • Before your poster session, rehearse a brief summary of your project. Many viewers will be in a hurry and will want a quick “guided tour” of your poster.

Poster Example

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March 7-10, 2021    |    #NYAR21    |    Savannah, GA

Last updated: 8/7/2020