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Physics Seminar: Posters

Poster Presentations

Creating a Poster


500-1500 Words (3-4 pages of text total)

Convey central ideas and background, basics of methods, and key findings

What is the MOST important thing about your poster?  Top 3?  Those are the things to include.  This is to bring people in to talk with you about your research

Your text should be presented in such a way that someone who does not want to spend a lot of time reading your poster can get a quick overview.

            Simple sentences without many connections (though, however, while). 

Check your Readability: read the text aloud.  Do you stumble over anything?  Have a coworker (preferably in another department or specialty) read it aloud. Any sections that are difficult to read aloud the first time should be modified to make them easier to read.

Know your audience and limit your jargon

Profession Specific

Specialty Specific

Institution Specific

Reference Interview






Finally, don't forget to spell check and proof read your text!


Review the Requirements: Size, material, how the poster will be hung


Think Visually: come up with a plan for how you want information to flow

  • Traditional: Title in the Top Center.  Information starts in upper left corner. If order isn’t clear, consider adding numbers.
  • Outline what you want to include
  • Bulleted lists may convey information better than a narrative text (review the requirements, though—some organizations want paragraphs)
  • Boxes: Components should be in boxes, with each concept in a separate section           


  • Expect that your reader will be 4-8 feet away
  • No font smaller than 16. Main text should be at least 36 point.  Titles should be at least 48 point.
  • Serifed fonts are easier to read: Garamond, Bembo, Janson, Baskerville, Goudy, Times New Roman
  • Sans serif is ok for titles, especially all caps. Avoid using all capital letters except for the title. The emphasis of capital letters helps titles stand out, but in general all caps take longer to read than mixed upper- and lower-case letters.


  • Select color carefully—if you aren’t sure, try using the presets in Publisher or Powerpoint
  • Pale colors (white, grey, powder blue) make the best background colors.  Brighter colors as backgrounds are often harder to read and focus on.  Bright colors are best saved to the sections you want to bring attention to
  • Use whitespace to show sections


  • Images
  • Figures
  • Tables
  • Flowcharts

Presenting a Poster

 Prepare your “elevator speech”: BIG Picture, no more than 3 sentences
◦My poster is an overview of a project I did on_______________, which showed me _______________, and is significant because_____________.
 Respect your attendees
◦Be welcoming
◦Allow them to get drawn and notice things before jumping in
◦Not everyone is an expert in your topic and that’s OK
◦Welcome feedback (even bad feedback)
 Prepare Handouts
◦Good for details, important aspects, and contact information

Ten Simple Rules for Creating a Good Poster

Tips on Poster Presentations at Professional Conferences

Designing Communications for a Poster Fair