(a) People who will read your poster almost regardless of its presentation quality as they are very interested in your area of research.

Please make poster for my dissertation.

Hints and Tips for Better Poster Presentations

  1. Target your Poster.

Consider whom you want to attract. In scientific meetings there are 3 broad categories of audience

(a) People who will read your poster almost regardless of its presentation quality as they are very interested in your area of research. However this group is likely to be relatively small. You should also not assume that presentation quality does not matter as future employers may be in this audience.

(b) People who have an interest in the same general area but work in a different sub-discipline. This will comprise many more people than group (a). They are a useful group to attract due to a wider perspective than group (a) and can raise interesting issues/suggestions that you have not really considered. However, as they tend to only briefly look at large numbers of posters, your poster will need to be well designed to catch their full attention.

(c) Usually the largest group (unless the meeting is on a very focussed theme) is everyone else. This group is the hardest to attract and will only look at your poster if it is visually appealing or catches their eye in some other way (e.g. unusual title, but not flippant or objectionable). Despite this they might have some useful comments to make.

The take home message is that if you want more than your parents to read the poster you need to use good poster design principles to attract an audience.

  1. Title (At top of poster).

Most material in conferences is presented as posters due to time constraints. Your title should therefore be carefully chosen to catch the eye. It should also be visible from 5 metres away.

Consider the wording of the title carefully.

e.g. Studies of the Effect of Compound XYZ on Caudal Motor Behaviour in the Dog

This would probably be better in a form that conveys some part of the studies conclusions

e.g. Compound XYZ Causes Tail-Wagging in Dogs

Alternatively you could try and attract attention with a more unusual title

e.g. Does Compound XYZ Make Dogs Happy?

However you must be aware of your target audience.

You should also ensure your name is prominently displayed in the title section. It is your poster. Let people know who produced it.

  1. Text should be concise and clear.

Too many words will make it appear daunting and put people off. Adopt a style of writing that you would like to see on posters. It should be clear and avoid the long phrases that are common in papers. Care should also be taken in the use of technical words as others outside your discipline may not understand them.

Sans-serif style fonts such as Arial or Verdana are considered easier to read than serif types such as Times New Roman (which have extra bits at the ends of most letters e.g. see the T, N and R)

Use a good quality printer and paper. The print shop at Nottingham Trent University produces nice posters.

  1. An introduction is essential. This sets the scene.
  1. Number paragraphs and figures. This makes it obvious which parts follow on from each other.
  1. Work down the poster in columns rather than across. This newspaper-like format is easiest to read.

The layout should include smooth linear edges to sections, not jagged as this distracts the eye.

If double mounting sections, make sure the gap around the edge is even.

Make sure the differing sections line up correctly and are easy to follow

  1. Know your audience. e.g. are they familiar with the methods. In general do not waste too much space with the methods unless they are particularly novel. If they want to know more they will ask when you present the poster.
  1. Do not try to cover too much. It is better to cover less material well than to stuff the poster with information.
  1. Edit ruthlessly. All non-essential items should go. A good poster may contain up to 50% blank space. (This includes margins and the space between lines and paragraphs etc. Ordinary typing has about 30% white space within it as a starting point.)


  1. Diagrams/images. These need to be large enough to be clearly seen by the audience, but not so big that they are just filling space or overwhelming the poster. The maximum amount of white space may need to be reduced if diagrams take up a lot of space. There needs to be a balance between graphics and text.

Text explains/expands the diagrams and should not overwhelm. Be very careful in your choice of image/diagram. They must actively add something useful to a poster, not just fill in a space (e.g. it is pointless showing bottles of pills etc). If you include a diagram you MUST give it a title and explain it.

12 References. You should cite references (Author’s last name and year only, no initials) at appropriate points in the text. In the reference list at the end of the poster it is better to list references in full, if space permits, rather than just give the author, year and source. You may wish to reduce the reference font size to allow this (though make sure it is still legible). Web pages are not an acceptable reference as they can rapidly alter whereas printed material is more permanent. Web references also tell the marker that you couldn’t be bothered to use a proper source such as textbooks and journal papers. You will be marked down if you just use web references.

13 Background Colour. This should be a single colour to unify the poster and distinguish it from neighbours. Please choose wisely and do not choose a colour that will induce a headache. Flashy borders, or posters overlaid on images detract from the message and should be avoided.


Look at the scientific posters on the walls around ERD and the Biomedical Centre to gain inspiration.

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