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Guest Post: Posters—Quick Tips and Ideas

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By Barbara Gastel | Aug. 30, 2015  |

[This post is from Parvathy Hariharan, who last week wrote about preparing electronic posters. Continuing thanks, Parvathy! —Barbara]

Preparing informative and interesting research posters can be challenging. Here are some guidelines to remember when preparing both printed and electronic posters.

  • Stand out: Most conferences display posters in a big room visited by many people at the same time. Ensure that your poster—especially the title—can easily be seen from far away and from different angles. Dark letters on a light background are easiest to see. Use relatively few colors, so as not to distract viewers from the message of the poster.
  • Know your audience: Although you understand your work and know why it is important, viewers of the poster might not. For some conferences, you may have to briefly define new terms. You also may need to explain how your results make a difference.
  • Show and tell: Use visuals such as graphs and charts with helpful titles to tell your story with minimal text. Remember that most people scan posters and only read the text if they find something interesting. A lot of words in a tiny space can be hard to read and downright intimidating.
  • Reach out: List your institution’s website or email address if allowed by the conference organizers, so others can contact you easily. Some meetings have facilities to include a quick response code (QR code), which smartphones can scan to view a website. Also consider having some business cards available. If you’re seeking a job or other opportunity, maybe have your curriculum vitae (CV) available too.
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