Designing a Research Poster

Poster Prep Session

Undergraduate students who register to present a poster are invited to attend the Symposium Overview and Poster Prep Session on May 7, 2019, 6:30-7:30 PM, in Carson 61. Please register for the Poster Prep Session at

Design Tips

Keep It Simple!

  • arrange your material in a logical progression
  • arrange materials in columns
  • don’t try to cram too much onto the poster

Selecting Colors and Fonts

  • Use only two or three colors in the poster: too many colors can be distracting
  • Select font colors and background colors to maximize contrast: A dark font on a light background is more easily read than vice versa
  • Choose a font size and style that can be read easily from several feet away
  • To emphasize a point, use bold or italics rather than underlining as underlined words can be more difficult to read


  • To add text, click on “insert” on the menu bar and choose “text box.” Then click where you want the text box to be, and start typing.
  • Text boxes can be resized by clicking on a corner and dragging.
  • Avoid large blocks of text and limit or eliminate jargon and technical terms
  • Organize and reduce text by using subheadings, keywords, bullet points
  • A figure or graph often convey information more efficiently than paragraphs of text

Pictures and Photos

  • Pictures and photos can be added with copy and paste commands or by importing.
    • To import: select Insert on the menu bar, then choose "Picture" or "Photo" (depending on your version of PowerPoint). Select the option that includes the phrase "from file" and then select the file from wherever it is stored on your computer.
    • Images should be at least 100dpi and the same size they will be on the poster.  A resolution of 150dpi is ideal (smaller resolution will result in a pixelated image, and larger resolution will result in excessive file size).
    • Save the image as a “JPG” as this format is easier to insert into PowerPoint.
  • Pictures and photos can be edited using the picture tools. Access to the picture tools varies by PowerPoint version; use the help menu if you are having difficulty finding the picture tools. 
    • Resizing: click on the corner of the picture/photo and slide the mouse to resize
    • Cropping: choose the crop tool and crop from any side
    • Framing: click on the picture to select it, then choose "colors and lines" or "border" (depending on which version of PowerPoint you are using).


  • Graphs can be added with copy and paste commands or by importing (same as pictures)
  • Keep graphs simple. 
    • Avoid “chart junk”: 3-d, shadowing, multiple grid lines, labeling every tick mark
    • With multiple graphs, combine information (e.g. share axis labels, titles, legends)