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Creating a Research Poster: Plan

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

Plan Ahead

***Make sure to review the guidelines for the conference, event, or class at which you will be presenting your poster***

When planning your poster, focus on the overall message, spacing & organization of information, and timing. Most people will not read your entire poster.  Viewers should be able to figure out what you did, what you found, and why it's important by scanning the title, results, graphics and conclusions of your poster.

If the information is not essential to understanding your presentation or research, then don't put it on your poster.


Identify the important content:

  • What information should the readers & presentation attendees focus on?
  • How will the information be presented - columns, boxes, etc.?
  • Will the poster be read from left to right or up and down?
  • What graphics will be included and how will they fit within the text?

Use a storyboard sketch to provide the first, rough visualization of the poster’s contents, proportions, and dimensions. It should contain no actual content or data - just a draft of how things could look - take a look at the examples to see what a poster storyboard looks like.


  • Do you have enough room for all the necessary information?
  • What information has to go on the poster?
  • What information can be left out?
  • What layout is required: horizontal (most common) or portrait?


Identify your audience and the message that you want to convey about your research:

  • Who will be viewing your poster?
  • How likely is it that your viewers will be knowledgeable about your topic? 
  • What information you need to include in order to convey your message?
  • Is there any information that you are required to put on your poster, such as specific sections, funding information or conference logo?
  • Write your content first and then copy and paste it into your presentation software.
  • entire poster, including titles and section headers. 


Determine a schedule for the design process:

  • What are the dates for submission and presentation of your poster?
  • Allow time for drafting, designing, peer review, editing, printing, etc.
  • Are you working with a group or individually; how will this affect the design, editing, printing process?
  • Do you have to submit the poster in its entirety (completely finished) prior to the conference date?

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