Designing Posters

a sample poster for a conference

Poster Design Goals


You must “grab” your audience to come closer and look at your work! Keep your poster succinct and uncluttered.

Well Organized

Ideas should flow logically. They must be clear and easy to follow.


Even though one of the joys of presenting a poster is the individualized conversation that takes place, your poster should also tell your story without you!

Steps to Better Poster Design

  1. Distill your ideas. You can make only a very few “take home” points in a poster presentation. The time you spend up front – refining the ideas and images that you will use - will be your best time spent. Images are most memorable. Build your text around preselected graphics or photos.
  2. Design for clarity. Use color, labels – even arrows – to establish connections and logical flow between ideas in your layout. The title and “big ideas” should be readable from at least 5 feet away.
  3. Make your poster easy to read. 24-point fonts are the minimum for text!

Poster Design Resources

These resources will get you started with some excellent links that will, of course, link to other good sites. Most of these resources are from the science/engineering realm because this style of presentation is so common at professional meetings, etc. However, the content and graphic design tips apply broadly to other disciplines. As you come across good resources for humanities or social sciences posters, please let us know!

Learn more at Stanford Undergrad's Make a Good Poster

Other Resources

  • Take a tour of campus buildings, especially in the sciences, and look at the research posters displayed along the walls. GeoCorner is full of good examples!
  • Check out the websites for your discipline’s professional societies. If posters are commonly used in meeting presentations, you will often find tips for presenters on their meeting pages.
  • Contact the program in Oral Communication. They have consultants who are happy to work with presenters.