Skip to main content

Research Posters

Getting Started

A research 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/images 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?

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?

  • Consider what software you have access to and whether you are willing to learn a new program. Microsoft Powerpoint is a program you may already be familiar with, and which can be learned fairly quickly. However, as Powerpoint does not support vector graphics, it is best to use it only if your images are large and of high quality, to prevent pixilation when printing.
  • Adobe inDesign and Illustrator can also be used. Adobe inDesign is a layout program for print that may present a steeper learning curve for some users. Illustrator can also be an effective program for creating posters, however it does not contain a spell check.
  • Canva is a freely available option that includes some paid content, and is particularly good for creating infographics and image-based content.

Designing Posters in MS Powerpoint and MS Publisher

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

Designing Posters in inDesign

Video by Vasco Elbrecht, Ruhr-Universität Bochum. 

Creating a Poster in Microsoft Powerpoint

Creating a Poster with Adobe inDesign and Creative Cloud


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