Creating a Research Poster

Getting Started

Creating a research poster for the first time can be daunting. Here we provide some helpful tips and resources to get you started.

  • Start with a template! Your lab supervisor or instructor can often provide you with a template to create your poster with. Different labs have different expectations for a scientific poster, so you should start by checking with the relevant people.
  • Make sure you are designing the right size poster. Check what size your poster will be when printed before working on your design. The size will be determined by the size of the poster board at your presentation venue and the paper size offered by your printer.
  • Don't be too wordy! A poster is a visual guide to help your audience understand your data. A poster rarely needs paragraphs of text because most viewers won't be reading your poster the way they read a scientific article.
  • Make sure all the text and figures on your poster can be read from 3-6 feet away. For most posters, 20-24 point font is as small as you should go.
  • Your poster represents your whole lab. Get final approval from all authors on the poster, especially your PI.
Remember, designing the poster is only the first step in preparing for your presentation. Once the poster is ready, spend time practicing your presentation. Think about how you might explain your study and your results to different audiences (e.g., topic expert vs. newbie).