GIS Posters - Tufts University

Poster Design and Creation Tips
January 2015
GIS Center
Tufts University
A Locator Map (Introduction)
Each map should have:
◦ Title – Insert using publisher, not arcmap
◦ Legend
Sized appropriately and organized with proper headings and layers
Consistent size, scale and location.
Appropriate Units
Consistent placement and size between maps
◦ Scale Bar
◦ North arrow
Labels might be useful on maps but aren’t required
Additional Graphics
Identify and Label all Figures and Maps on poster and in text!!
◦ Photographs, graphs, tables, charts, diagrams, etc.
Poster’s can be printed in the GIS lab in Tisch
Library when an assistant is there.
Posters should be sized at 30x40 inches
Landscape or Portrait orientation is fine
You will mount your project on poster board
provided in the GIS lab
Leave the poster on the pile for our class in
the GIS lab.
Posters serve as an advertisement of your
hard work!
Visual Hierarchy
Alignment – Use of columns
Grouping -To box or not to Box?
Contrast – Use of white space
Font Type/Style
Column Width
Justification/ Left Alignment
Color Wheel
Complimentary/contrasting Colors
Readability improves:
Reading speed
Reading persistence
and then read this.
Examples from Robin Williams’ Design Workshop
Examples from Robin Williams’ Design Workshop
Examples from Robin Williams’ Design Workshop
Examples from Robin Williams’ Design Workshop
A quick design workshop
A quick design workshop
A quick design workshop
Corporate Logos Redesign
Times New Roman
Arial / Helvetica
Sans Serif
San serif Arial headers, serif Times New Roman body text
Comic Sans…
Story of Comic Sans:
(Now Chalkboard on Apple OS)
The bold, the underlined and
the italicized
Readability: Column Width
The “alphabet-and-a-half ” line length rule:
the ideal line length at 39 characters
regardless of type size.
Left Align (GOOD!)
Justified (BAD!)
Font size
Example Text Sizes on Trunk
A few words about
Use 3-4 colors,
but no more!
Dark type on
light color
This attracts attention, but tires the eyes!
Red on blue also
appears blurry to
the human eye
Yellow on white is
hard to read
Blue on Red
appears blurry to
the human eye
Know your Audience!
Government officials
Community groups
General public
Be in charge of your design decisions:
• Color Palette –
• Fonts –
text (serif)
Pick a color scheme and keep it consistent for poster and maps!
Pick 2 main fonts– 1 for maps and poster headings (sans-serif), 1 for poster
• Size-
Poster text is important, but don’t forget about map text as well (labels and
legends, and scale bars!)
• Format- Identify most important elements (title, headings, maps, tables, graphs) &
place them on poster first. Then add text and secondary information.
Images and Graphs say much more
than words!
Images and
Graphs say
much more
than words!
Think about what information is important for
your readers to understand for the project
Overview map- Important data or locations
◦ Basic information that might give the reader background info
or context.
Factor Maps- Important to show what went into
your model (not necessarily intermediary steps)
◦ Ex: Suitability Analysis: Distance from Roads
 Might be better to show the actual Euc Distance with distance values rather
than the reclassify layer that doesn’t have values but just numbers.
Final Map- Some may have a “final” map, others
might not (that’s okay).
◦ Determine the shape you want your maps to be on the
 Square, rectangle
◦ Set up the page so that the maps are exported bigger
than what they will be on your poster.
 20x20 usually works (if it’s a square). Adjust for rectangle.
◦ Export maps with just legend, north arrow, and scale bar.
◦ Use Publisher to put in titles and other explanatory text
◦ Export maps as a JPEG, GIF or Tiff at 300 DPI.
300 dpi
Web images are 72 dpi
SnagIt - software increases
image resolution
JPG (photos)
TIFF (yields large files)
GIF (solid colors, text)
Why should anyone care?
What am I adding to current knowledge?
Are my visuals effective and understandable?
Have I conveyed the findings clearly?
Are my recommendations valid?
Print out a letter size draft.
◦ Can you read the type?
◦ Are the colors what you really want?
◦ Does it look too busy?
◦ Do the main points pop out?
MS PowerPoint
Adobe InDesign
MS Publisher
3 main columns: 4 / 4 / 4
Special Thanks to Dr. Barbara Parmenter and Melanie St. James
for various slide graphics and information regarding design concepts

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