A poster session is a presentation in which materials such as maps, photographs, graphs, charts, and/or tables are posted on a display board along with brief textual summaries of your work. Ideally, a well-constructed poster will be self-explanatory. Successful poster presentations are those that achieve both coverage and clarity.
Coverage: In addition to title/author and abstract, most successful posters provide brief statements of introduction, method, subjects, procedure, results, and conclusions. Ask yourself:
- Have you provided all the obvious information?
- Will a casual observer walk away understanding your major findings after a quick perusal of your material?
- Will a more careful reader learn enough to ask informed questions?
- What would you need to know if you were viewing this material for the first time?
Clarity: People attending a poster session are free to move about from poster to poster and often must view a poster from a distance, making it difficult to read excessive text and small fonts. With this in mind we recommend you:
- Use large fonts and limit text to essential information. Place your major points in the poster and have the nonessential, but interesting, sidelights for informal discussion.
- Keep content simple and communicate clearly.
- Consider whether the sequence of information is evident. Indicate the ordering of your material with numbers, letters, or arrows when necessary.
- "A picture's worth a thousand words." Imaginative use of captioned illustrations, photographs, graphs, video (without sound) or other types of visually appealing material is an extremely effective mode of communication in a poster presentation.
- Make your final conclusions or summary a concise statement of your most important findings.
Each poster display should include a lettered sign giving the title and name(s) of the presenter(s). This sign should be 6" in height with letters at least 2" high in a bold font. Extensive, imaginative use of captioned illustrations, photographs, graphs, or other types of visually appealing material is an extremely effective mode of communication in a poster presentation.
People attending a poster session are free to move from poster to poster, and there is not time to read excessive text. Text should be limited to four or five pages of double-spaced, 16-20 point text. This will allow lettering to be read from several feet away. Do not mount materials on heavy board, because these may be difficult to position on the poster board. Be sure to provide clear labels for each section of your presentation.
Each author is provided a 4-foot high x 8-foot wide (122 cm x 244 cm) bulletin board on which to display a summary of their paper. Authors must remain in the vicinity of the bulletin board for the duration of the session to answer questions. Note that poster presenters are not supplied with audiovisual equipment or electricity and posters will be grouped by sponsor.
Helpful Online Resources for Poster Creation
How to Prepare a Poster, SIAM News: www.siam.org/meetings/guidelines/poster.php
Websites offering printing services for scientific posters: