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Getting Started

A poster is a popular means to communicate research information to a general audience. The best posters combine a general summary of the research with tables, graphs, and photos that will enlighten the reader and hopefully generate discussion.

Before you begin to work on a poster, you need to answer these questions:

1. What is the key message from the research that you want to highlight to an audience?

  • If you have many points, pick the top three and KEEP IT SIMPLE!

2. Who will be the audience at the Conference/Poster Session?

  • Who your audience is should determine how you present the poster. Graduate or undergraduate students?; Research faculty or general public? Keep in mind that not everyone will be as familiar with the subject, so your text should reflect this.

3. Along with text, what visual components (graphs, images, etc) do you need to support the poster theme?

  • Are these ok to be reproduced in a poster (copyright cleared for example).

4. What size should your poster be?

  • Some conferences have strict space limits for poster sessions. They often provide a maximum space size where your poster will be displayed.

5. What software do you want to create the poster with?

  • Microsoft Powerpoint or Publisher are two common software products which can produce posters.

Library Videos: Designing Posters in MS Powerpoint and MS Publisher

Prezi and video design by Julie Lacalamita. Content by Rob Brown.

Creating a Poster in MS Publisher

Characteristics of a Great Poster

  • Title length is concise, and uses language that an audience could understand.
  • Text is 'to the point'
  • Word Count of between 500 to 800 words (or less)
  • Width of text boxes should be about 40 characters (11 words per line)
  • Use of bullets and numbering lists makes the content easier to read
  • Effective use of graphics, color and fonts
  • Consistent and clean layout
  • List of references
  • Include any acknowledgments, plus your name and institutional affiliation

Designing Posters for the Sciences

Designing Posters for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Poster Printing options off campus

The Learning Achievement Centre

The Printing Centre



Some departments on the St. George campus also provide poster printing. Check individual departmental websites for additional information. 

Physics - Graphics Support Centre


A big thanks to UTM Librarian Andrew Nicholson for letting me re-use content from his Posters Guide