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Research posters

A guide to creating, editing, and presenting a successful research poster.

Best Practices: Organization and Layout

  • Use three columns that read top to bottom then left to right.


  • Use plenty of white space
  • Use distinct section headings
  • Use consistent spacing
  • Add emphasis with bold, color, italics or underline, but don’t overdo it! 

Common Poster Mistakes

  • Too long / too much text
  • Text too small
  • Graphs and charts difficult to read or understand
  • Poorly organized / unclear flow
  • Author names and contact information hard to find

Best Practices: Text

  • Minimum font size for body text should be at least 30 points
  • For optimal accessibility, font size should be at least 36 points
  • Title text should be at least 72 points
  • Titles should be in sentence case
  • Word count should be between 600 - 800 words
  • Keep it brief: less is more!
  • Text should be readable from 5 feet away
  • Use an easy to read sans serif font, such as Arial, Calibri, or Verdana
  • Avoid long paragraphs: keep blocks of text to 50-75 words

Test: If you print your poster on a standard-sized piece of paper, all text should be readable

Best Practices: Design & Color

  • Use a simple, coordinated color scheme, with 2 to 3 colors
  • Avoid red, green, and yellow text
  • The more contrast the better: darker text on a lighter background is best
  • Avoid dark backgrounds
  • Consider consulting a color wheel when choosing detail colors

Best Practices: Images

  • Graphics, charts, and photos are key to visually displaying the results of your research
  • Keep graphs as simple and interpretable as possible
  • Be careful with web images as they are often not high enough resolution when enlarged to poster size. Try to find images that are a resolution of 300 dpi
  • Copyright, Creative Commons, Fair Use