Designing Scientific Research Posters

Designing Scientific
Research Posters
By Dan Kenzie and Mary McCall
Designing a Scientific Poster
Content of a Scientific Poster
• Title
– An effective title should clearly communicate the
subject of the poster in a way that appeals to a
reader. Keep the length of your title to 1 to 2 lines.
• Abstract
– An abstract is often not necessary, because a poster
presents similar material as an abstract. Refer to the
guidelines for your conference.
• Introduction
– Generate interest in your topic with a minimum of
background detail and jargon.
Content of a Scientific Poster
• Materials and Methods
– Include a rationale for why you chose the methods
you did and, if they would help, tables or figures.
• Results
– Start with a summary of your results. Then, discuss
the relationship between the data and your research
• Conclusions
– Explain the significance of major findings.
(Connecting this study to previous research can
Content of a Scientific Poster
• References
– See conferences guidelines for appropriate format.
– If this section becomes too long, decrease the font
• Acknowledgements
– Acknowledge anyone who gave you feedback or
otherwise contributed to the project, including
financial contributors. This section can also disclose
any conflicts of interest or commitment.
Visual Design of a Scientific
• Layout
– Maintain sufficient white space, keep column
alignments logical, and provide clear cues to your
readers how they should read your poster elements.
• Content
– Do not overload the poster with text. It should be
roughly 20% text, 40% figures, 40% space.
– Left-align your text. (Fully justified creates gaps)
• Font
– Use a non-serif font for the title and headings and
a serif font for body text to promote readability.
Visual Design of a Scientific
• Color
– Use 2-3 colors for your poster design and make sure
the background and text have a high contrast.
– Do not chose a dark and/or busy background.
– Avoid very bright color combinations.
• Diagrams
– Give your graphs titles and labels for each axis.
– Never give your graphs colored backgrounds, grid
lines, or boxes.
– Avoid displaying 2-D data in 3-D graphs.
– Make sure that details on graphs and photographs
can be comfortably viewed from 6 feet away.
Considering Conference
• Always carefully read conference guidelines,
which may or may not give specifics on:
– What to include
– Size of the poster
– Available materials (Should you post to a
board yourself?)
– Which documentation style to use
– Other expectations
Where Can Students Find More Help?
Purdue University Writing Lab
Heavilon 226
• Web:
• Phone: (765) 494-3723
• Email: [email protected]
Works Referenced
Design and Layout. (2011). Retrieved from:
Graves, L. Scientific poster design [PDF document]. Retrieved from:
The Parts of a Scientific Poster. (2011).
Retrieved from:
Purrington, C. (n.d.) Designing conference posters. Retrieved from
Schlamadinger, D. How to make a scientific research poster. [PDF
document]. Retrieved from:
The End

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