Guidelines for Preparing Posters

These Guidelines as a pdf file.

Poster exhibition is an important vehicle for presenting research information and results at ECI conferences. The poster has many advantages, despite difficulties of preparation, and can have a greater influence than images fleetingly glimpsed on a screen during an oral presentation. The best posters display a succinct statement of major conclusions at the beginning, followed by supporting text in later segments and a brief summary at the end.

The following guidelines should help you prepare effective and successful posters.

The Abstract
It should be informative and even speculative.

Preparing the Poster
Take some time to plan your poster. This is extremely important as a poorly planned poster will be obvious to all. Think about the what(s), how(s), and why(s) of the work you are doing. Ideally you should have done this throughout your research.

You need to design your poster to be as eye-catching and attractive as possible. Poster design is a personal matter and individuals have different views on how best to present information. The basic rule is to keep it simple, do not clutter, do not include unnecessary data, make every thing bold and large, and try to get your message even to the non-experts in your field. Displayed materials should be self-explanatory, freeing you for discussion.

Figures and Photographs
The larger the better. Cut the number to the minimum, but make sure that they are really good quality.

Labels or arrows should be bold and easily seen. Use contrasting letters as it is frustrating for the viewers to search for letters that appear camouflaged.

Colors should be used to emphasize and add interest, but avoid garish colors. Enlarge photos to show pertinent details clearly. Enlarged colored prints are extremely attractive in posters. A mixture of different colored backgrounds can also be very effective; however, too many colors or too many type styles can be confusing to those reading the poster information.

The Title
Use the title to get the attention of the viewer. The title must be large and clear to be read from about 5 m. The title should be short and the letters should be bold, preferably solid-block and at least 5 cm high. Do not use all upper case letters as it will be more difficult to read. A san serif style, such as Helvetica or Arial, is recommended. Do not use more than two font types as it will be quite distracting.

Some authors include the logo of their institution or organization and their own photo, which can be very helpful if the author is to be identified at the poster session.

The Text
The text should be concise, legible and easily comprehended. Traditionally, the poster should include an abstract, short introduction, aims of the study, results and discussion. These can be presented as short ‘bullet’ lists. Do not overwhelm the viewer with masses of tables and data. Quantitative data can be presented as histograms or line graphs. The lettering of the text must be large and legible at up to 2 m.

The overall format and display of the poster: title, abstract, text and figures.


  • Don’t leave everything until the last minute.
  • Check your spelling.
  • Maintain a consistent style.
  • Remember that you are telling a story, but be brief and to the point.
  • Sometimes it helps to utilize arrows to direct attention to the sequence of the presentation.
  • Make draft versions of your poster sections and check them for mistakes, legibility and inconsistency in style.
  • Have a colleague review the poster.
  • Don’t ever expect anyone to spend more than 3-5 minutes (tops!) at your poster. If you can’t clearly convey your message in less time than this, chances are you have not done your job properly.
  • Poster abstracts will be in the conference program book; however, you may wish to have handouts of your abstract available for interested viewers

Transporting the Poster
If you have laminated your poster, you will just need to come and hang it up. This may mean carrying a sturdy, protective poster tube. Make sure you have identification (both home and destination) on your poster tube in case it is lost or left in an airplane’s overhead storage area.

It is much easier to transport a poster that has been prepared on cards that fit into an oversized envelope that you can place at the bottom of your suitcase and pin up on arrival. It is vital that they are well mounted on cards to ensure that they lie flat. By far the best means of mounting involves use of a dry-mounting spray; these give the most professional finish. You may wish to put your name on the reverse of each card as well as an order number.

If you are transporting your poster in your luggage, be aware that luggage has been known to get lost. It might be a good idea to make a duplicate poster and leave it in the care of someone who you can be in touch with easily and who can ship it to you via overnight delivery.

Poster Size
Poster Size: 1.0 meter wide and 1.5 meters in length (Portrait style).

Please visit each individual conference web site to confirm the poster size.

Tape, Velcro, or tacks are provided to hang posters.

Frequently poster presenters attach an envelope to the board containing their business cards or other information (e.g., internet address) they wish to provide.

The Poster Session(s)
The authors are requested to stand by their posters during the poster session for discussion and questions. If there are several poster session, please follow the directive of the conference (or poster chair) regarding when you should be with your poster. Typically chairs wish to give poster presenters the opportunity to also view posters.

Don’t stand directly in front of your poster at the session and don’t become so engrossed in conversation with any single individual that you (or they) accidentally prevent others from viewing your poster. Give people reading your poster some space, but don’t ignore people who look as though they may have some questions.

You might wish to bring a camera and ask somebody to take a photograph of you in front of your masterpiece to show your colleagues as proof of your scientific presentation in an exotic environment.

If several poster sessions are planned, please follow instructions regarding the removal of your poster so that the next session’s presenter does not have to remove your poster before hanging hers.

Poster preparation should not be regarded as an ordeal, but should be fun and provide a sense of creativity and satisfaction.

For more information:

1. How to Design a Scientific Poster by John Elder

2. Poster Tutorial

3. Scientific Poster Grading Sheet

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