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Creating a Research Poster: Design

Use this guide to assist in the creation of your poster for the Celebration of Research.


A good poster is:

  • Focused on a single message (typically the results, method, conclusion, or discussion)
  • Lets the graphics and images tell the story; doesn't rely on text
  • Keeps the sequence well ordered and obvious to the viewer. 

Depending on the requirements of the conference or event, some of the content to include:


Authors and Affiliations

Short introduction

Materials and methods


Conclusion and Discussion



Please note that if it is not required by the conference or event you do NOT have to include it. The more information you add the more cluttered the poster looks and the harder it is for participants to read.

Design Tips: Text


  • Be brief - 1 to 2 lines max.
  • Convey the interesting issue, experimental approach, methods, results, etc. and should be something that grabs the attendees attention.
  • Formatted in sentence case, not Title Case or ALL CAPS.
  • Preserve capitalization and italicization for gene names, allele names, proper names, etc. 

Content and Body-Text, including Introduction, Materials & Methods, Results, Conclusions, etc.:

  • Write the introduction for someone NOT in your field. Assume they don't know anything about your research and the introduction is a way to pitch an interesting, new concept, idea, method, etc.
    • DO NOT simply copy and paste your abstract. At a poster presentation, the poster is the abstract: a summary of your research. If the event or conference requires the abstract, shorten it as much as possible - you don't want it to take up anymore space than necessary. 
  • Be as brief as possible
  • Use figures, charts, images, tables, etc. when possible
  • Keep each section to 200 words or less
  • Use bullet points and lists when possible - avoid large blocks of text
  • Use active voice
  • Avoid jargon

Acknowledgements, Citations, References:

  • Acknowledge any sponsors, grants, outside affiliations, etc.; Don't forget to include your advisor, department, etc. 
  • Include citations for any direct quotes, no more than 3-5; there isn't enough room to include all citations on the poster.
    • Provide a printed bibliography for those interested

Design Tips: Color

Color can be used to enhance your poster and attract viewers but must be used sparingly. 

You can use color to:

  • highlight important elements
  • connect related information
  • distinguish different categories of information  


  • Using a background color other than white for the entire poster
  • Using red and green text
  • Using a dark background and light text - the text must be easily readable against the background
  • Using a pattern or gradient
  • Using excessively bright colors (ex. hot pink, neon green, highlighter yellow, etc.)  

If you're unsure of how it a color combination will look, print your poster in gray scale first to determine if there is sufficient contrast.

Formatting & Settings

Title: 90pt or larger; use a san serif font (suggested: Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, Verdana) 

Author & Affiliations: 60pt-72pt; use the same san serif font as the title

Headings: 50pt-56pt; use the same san serif font as the title.

Body Text: 36pt-48pt; use a serif font (suggested: Bookman Old Style, Garamond, Palatino Linotype, Times New Roman) 

Captions: 18pt-26pt; use same serif font as body text

Figures & Images: should be at least 5x7 and have captions


Microsoft PowerPoint

Microsoft Publisher (PC users only)

  • For more experienced designers

Adobe InDesign

  • For more experienced designers


Boonshoft School of Medicine
Research Poster Templates

Wright State University
Research Poster Templates

Contact your academic department if you want to use the department-specific logo on your poster.