How to create a poster that graphically communicates your message


More and more, your presentations at meetings are not talks--they are posters.


Are your posters effective, attracting large and enthusiastic audiences? Or, are your posters examined only by your most avid competitors? Do other presumptive colleagues--and poster judges-- merely glance at your poster, then cross their eyes and hurry past? Is the space in front of your poster perennially devoid of people? Do those that do come look at your poster in obvious puzzlement? Does your poster fail to evoke thoughtful questions or interest? If you are not attracting the wide and enthusiastic audience you deserve, examine this pair of positive and negative examples to learn how to increase your presentation’s clarity and impact.

A poster is not just a standard research paper stuck to a board. An effective poster uses a different, visual grammar. It shows, not tells. It expresses your points in graphical terms. It avoids visual chaos, with many jagged edges or various-sized boards that distract the viewer. Instead, it guides the viewer by using a visual logic, with an hierarchical structure that emphasizes the main points. It displays the essential content--the messages--in the title, main headings and graphics. It indicates the relative importance of elements graphically: each main point is stated in large type-face headings; details are subordinated visually, using smaller type-face. The main headings explain the points, rather than merely stating "results" and letting the viewer hunt for--or even worse, invent--the message. All elements, even the figure legends, are visible from 4 feet away.


These and additional hints are accessed by the links below, which graphically illustrate consequences of different display styles to show you how different presentations can clarify--or scuttle--your message.

How to emphasize your message.
How to obscure your message.
Links to positive examples:
Links to negative examples:
Acknowledgments:
Thank you to Kathryn W. Tosney
for this great resourse about "How to Devise a Convincing Poster"
.