How to create an engaging scientific poster

Nine tweet-sized tips

Before you create your next poster, read through these quick tips to help ensure your poster gets noticed.

Tip #1

Remember, a poster is a *visual* form of science communication that can tell a story in your absence. Make it visually appealing!

Tip #2

A poster makes it easy for your audience to find what it’s looking for: title; intro/hypothesis; results; conclusions. Highlight these sections with big/bold text, unique background color, framed in box, etc.

Tip #3

A poster is concise and colorful. Keep the word count to ~800. Use a color picture/figure instead of words when possible. Add some background color that draws attention but doesn’t distract from your story.

Tip #4

A poster is easy to navigate. It generally should flow from left to right and top to bottom. Use plain, large font with space left between sections. Have text left aligned and avoid using all capital letters.

Tip #5

A poster is reviewed by others before printing. Ask your peers in different labs if they can understand the story you’re trying to tell with just the poster. They’ll catch typos, too.

Tip 6

A poster has your contact information. Include your email address and any professional social media accounts you’d like to share. Bonus points if you pin business cards to the poster board!

Tip #7

A poster presenter is engaging. Have a two-sentence summary of your poster ready and offer to share it to anyone who slows to read your title. Include newcomers in an ongoing conversation. Minimize phone time.

Tip #8

A poster presenter helps their audience find them. Before and during your poster session, share your location and hypothesis. But don’t share your results or you’ll violate the meeting's embargo policy!

Tip #9

A poster presentation has been practiced five times out loud beforehand. Why five? Because it takes that many times to find the words that come to you naturally. Don’t memorize!