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Designing Effective Posters: Home

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All poster printing is now handled by Publications, Print and Mail. Below are some recommendations for designing your research poster.

Poster Templates

Publications, Print and Mail have created Bucknell themed poster templates:

Image Sources

These are good sources for images. Be sure to download the highest quality available.

Tips for Designing a Good Poster

What is a research poster?

Posters are widely used in the academic community; most conferences include poster presentations in their program.  Research posters summarize information or research concisely and display it in a visually interesting manner. The poster is usually a mixture of a brief text, graphs, pictures, and other presentation formats.


Tip #1: The title of the poster should quickly orient the audience.

  • Make the title the most prominent block of text on the poster
  • While phrase titles are most common, some scientists and engineers effectively use sentence titles for posters that present one main result

Tip #2: The poster should quickly orient the audience to the subject and purpose.

  • One good test is whether the audience recognizes the subject and purpose within 20 seconds of seeing the poster. A poster can accomplish this goal with a well-crafted title and with supporting images.
  • Make sure that the type is large enough to be read and that enough contrast exists between the color of the type and poster's background.

Tip #3: Specific sections should be easy to locate on the poster.

  • Audience members may have limited time to review your poster, so make sure sections such as research questions, methodology, and results are easy to locate.
  • Additionally, make sure the poster is organized and flows well. A poster serves as a visual and textual narrative of your research, so make sure the audience can follow from point to point in an obvious manner.

Tip #4: Design the individual sections of a poster so that they can be quickly read.

  • A poster should not contain large blocks of text. Neither should the poster contain long sentences. If possible, the sections should rely on images, such as photographs, drawings, and graphs. 
  • All posters should include a title, abstract and/or introduction, methods, results, and discussion or conclusions section.

Tip #5: Be prepared to answer questions about your poster.

  • A poster doesn't present itself! You may find it useful to prepare a 3-5 minute talk explaining the content of your poster.
  • Try to anticipate questions that your audience might ask about the poster and have answers for those prepared as well.

This section was adapted from Design of Scientific Posters and "Poster Presentations," Chapter 7 of Karin Knisley's (2009) A Student Handbook for Writing in Biology.

Elevator Speeches

An elevator speech is a clear, brief message about you. It communicates who you are, what you do/have done, and how you can benefit your audience. It’s typically about 30-60 seconds long -- reflecting the length of a typical elevator ride.

Subject Librarian

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Carrie Pirmann
Bertrand Library
Research Help Area, Room 112
Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM