Poster Presentations. Article by Student Learning Centre, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Poster presentations are a method of presenting research or scientific information in a concise pictorial format. The following are some tips for making a poster that will display your research effectively.
Start by making a draft plan of the poster layout.
• Arrange the material into columns or rows with a title bar across the top.
• Display the sections in a mind map, issue tree or concept map arrangement.
• Use heading numbers, lines, arrows, etc to indicate sequence and to link the sections together.
Because a poster is primarily visual, its success directly relates to the clarity of the figures, tables and text. Self-explanatory graphics should dominate the poster with a minimal amount of text in support. Vary the size and spacing of the poster sections to add visual interest. Use blocks of empty space between poster elements to differentiate and accentuate these elements. Broadly, the poster should comprise approximately 40% graphics, 40% empty space and 20% text.
The poster should foreground the one central question or point that you wish to address. It should be self-explanatory, and provide an explicit take-home message. Use short sentences, simple words, phrases and bullet points where possible to illustrate discrete points and reduce the amount of text. Exclude all redundant references and filler phrases such as 'See Figure…'. Avoid using acronyms, jargon or unusual abbreviations. Use the active voice when writing eg 'The data demonstrates'… instead of 'It can be demonstrated that...'
Text and graphics
Both text and graphics should be visible from at least two metres. Your poster should have an informative and catchy concise title in boldface and upper case with a font size of about 96 point. Section headings should be 36-point boldface, while supporting text should be 18 to 24 point, double-spaced and boldface if appropriate. Use an easily read font such as Times Roman or Arial and most importantly be consistent.
Tables and figures
Give each table or figure an explanatory caption. Label all graph data lines directly, using a large font and appropriate colour. The data lines should be larger than normal so that the trend is easily visible. Remove all non-essential items from tables, graphs and figures, such as data curves that are not discussed in the poster, excess grid lines, table and figure numbers, legends and keys.
Consider the use of colour:
• soft colours or shades of gray for the background
• different background colours to distinguish between different sections or issues
• intense colours as borders for emphasis
• light background with darker photos and a dark background with lighter photos
• neutral background to emphasise colour in photos and a white background to reduce the impact of coloured photos
Border colours can be used to distinguish between and link the various displays of information. Too many colours can be distracting. Coloured transparency overlays can be used for comparing and contrasting graphic results.
REMEMBER: A picture paints a thousand words…
© Copyright for this article belongs to Student Learning Centre, University of Auckland, New Zealand
This document was re-printed with the kind permission of Dr Emmanuel Manalo. Original Source of the article is located here: http://www.slc.auckland.ac.nz/resources/for_postgraduates/poster_presentations.php