‌Posters are widely used in the academic community, and most conferences include poster presentations in their program. Research posters summarize information or research concisely and attractively to help publicise it and generate discussion. The poster is usually a mixture of a brief text mixed with tables, graphs, pictures, and other presentation formats. At a conference, the researcher stands by the poster display while other participants can come and view the presentation and interact with the author.


What makes a good poster?

  • Important information should be readable from about 10 feet away
  • Title is short and draws interest
  • Text is clear and to the point
  • Use of bullets, numbering, and headlines make it easy to read
  • Effective use of graphics, colour and fonts
  • Consistent and clean layout
  • Includes acknowledgments, your name and institutional affiliation

Where do I start?

Answer these three questions:

  • What is the most important/interesting/astounding finding from my research project?
  • How can I visually share my research with conference attendees? Should I use charts, graphs, photos, images?
  • What kind of information can I convey during my talk that will complement my poster?

Planning your poster

Objectives - 

  • Good Content - well researched topic
  • Structure - Decide on main headings, titles to be used and layout
  • Visual Impact - Assemble images and graphics into one place and make note of any references
  • Clarity - Font size, sixe of poster and proof read.

What do you want to say?

Reporting on Research? Reporting on Solution to a Problem?
  • Title
  • Introduction
  • Methods/Materials
  • Results
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Discussion/Future research
  • Title
  • Background
  • Definition of Problem
  • Possible Solutions
  • Rationale for choice solution
  • Evaluation

How to make an Academic Poster in PowerPoint

Design Tips


Have a logical starts point, and groups related information. Headings should be clearly identified using colour fill for text box or larger text to identify each.  Have a colour theme for your poster and keep borders, shading etc consistent.


Font - choose a font that is easy to read at a distance. Most of the standard fonts are fine for this (e.g.Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, Calibri). Avoid mixing too many fonts as this can look messy. Two is often ideal; one for the headings and one for the main text.

Type size - remember that your poster will be read by someone standing at about a metre away so the text will need to be legible at a distance. Use large type sizes; the following examples are at 24 point and 36 point and can be clearly read at a distance.


Titles and headings will need to be larger than your main text. Developing a hierarchy of type sizes can help to differentiate between your main body text and the other text elements in your poster. Keep the number of type sizes to a minimum to avoid over-cluttering your poster. Apply your hierarchy to all aspects
of your poster design to ensure consistency.

Line spacing - using one and a half or double spacing between lines of text greatly increases the legibility of your poster design.

Alignment - most word-processing packages give you the option of aligning your text in different ways on the page; the main choices are left, right, centre and justified. Avoid mixing alignments as this can look very awkward. Left aligned is the easiest to read, particularly when using large type.

Case - text in UPPER CASE can be very difficult to read, even at close distances, and is best avoided.

The amount of text you use will depend on the purpose of the poster and the message you are trying to convey.  Use the minimum amount of text you need to convey your message.  Be realistic.  People don’t read the fine print.  They look at the graphics and read the titles, just like they skim a newspaper. 

Abertay Poster Templates 

Free Poster Templates

Logos & Images

Logos & Images

Image Resolution and Print Size

There is an inverse relationship between print size and resolution (if you increase the print size the resolution decreases and vice-versa).

To get good results when inserting an image into a research poster, the image should be printed at a resolution of at least 300 pixels per inch (ppi).

Images that look good online may not be high enough resolution to look good in print at the size you want them to be. 

Download images - Right click and select Save as..

Transparent -


Block White background - 


Copyright Concerns

Copyright Concerns

If you use images from the web, make sure you are not breaking copyright law.  You can ask permission from the source or use images that are licensed as Creative Commons.  In addition, government images usually fall in the public domain and are free from copyright. If you have any questions about copyright, please contact your Academic Librarian.

Searching for Images

Searching for Images

Creative Commons Search 

Useful for finding videos, images and media you can share, use and remix. It offers convenient access to search services provided by other independent organisations. Always check licence conditions for any video, image, etc., that you want to use.


Flickr is a good resource for finding images to use in posters, presentations and coursework. As well as photos from the public, Flickr has thousands of historic images which have a Creative Commons Licence. This licence promotes sharing so long as you credit the copyright owner and adhere to any restrictions of the licence.

Google Advanced Image Search

You can limit your results to creative commons by selecting "labelled for reuse" under usage rights.




Before you print:

  • Double check for spelling and grammar mistakes (ask a friend - a new set of eyes is more likely to catch errors).
  • Make sure your poster is sized correctly and your images are of adequate resolution and size to make a quality print (printing size must be set before you start your design!).
  • Make sure you have copyright clearance.  You are responsible for any copyright violations.
  • Print a handout with a summary of your poster, you want your audience to remember you.