MIS100 – Creating an Academic Poster
What is an academic poster?
- Academic posters summarise information or research concisely and attractively, to help publicise it and generate discussion and are widely used in the academic community, and most conferences include poster presentations in their program.
- An academic poster summarises a complex topic without losing some meaning or connection. It is designed to communicate clearly, concisely, and visually. It should also be self-explanatory.
An effective poster is a visual communication tool
- It shows. It expresses your points in graphical terms. Displays the essential content – the messages – in the title, main headings and graphics.
- It considers the intended purpose and who is the intended readership
Decide what you need to communicate, and how.
- What is your main message?
- What does your viewer need to know?
- Identify the key points, always keeping your topic or task in mind.
- Once you’ve decided on the main content, make a rough draft of the information you need.
- Decide on the main title.
- Note the graphics you might need, such as photos, diagrams, graphs or charts.
Posters are designed to convey a message quickly and efficiently. What should your viewer see and understand first?
Think what will communicate your key points most clearly. Find a focal point that will help draw your viewers in. This might be a key flowchart or diagram, or simply a clear main title.
- Use images and text as simple shapes like squares and circles (perhaps using shading to show the areas you want to stand out most).
- Once the basic layout is planned you can consider graphic and text formatting in more detail.
- Format headings and subheadings consistently. This helps structure your information visually.
- For clarity, use a sans-serif font like Arial or Helvetica. Make sure there is good contrast between text and background. To be legible at a distance, the main title should be around 70-100 pts, subheadings around 40 pts, body text around 24 pts.
Use of graphics
- An academic poster should be both professional and concise, so a general rule is only to include graphics that really support your content.
- Use diagrams, graphs or flowcharts to help explain complex information visually.
- Try not to use too many different or strongly contrasting colours. A limited colour palette can be very effective.
- Avoid using unnecessary and distracting background textures or decoration.
- If your topic has a central statement, graphic or diagram, make this prominent in your design. Don’t hide it in a corner!
- Every graphic should have a purpose.
How to produce a poster?
- A variety of software can be used to produce an academic poster. One of the most popular is Microsoft PowerPoint, with a key advantage being that most computers have PowerPoint installed as standard.
- Using PowerPoint you can integrate a range of media, produce diagrams and flowcharts easily, and create custom charts and graphs from your data.
- A0 118.9 cm x 84.1 cm
- A1 84.1 cm x 59.4 cm
- A2 59.4 cm x 42.0 cm
- A3 42.0 cm x 29.7 cm
- Choose Portrait or Landscape orientation.
- Tip: To set the document size in PowerPoint, choose File > Page Layout > Slide Size > Custom
> [ insert the size you want ]
- Remember: To print effectively, images should be high resolution (150-300 dpi).
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