Make a Good Poster

Your poster is a visual aid to use while you present your work and a way to guide an audience through your project.

Tips for creating poster content

Create and present your poster as if you were telling a story!

  • The scope of many projects is too large to fit into a single good poster--it's all about editing the story you want to tell. Hear from one presenter about this process:

To make my poster, I started by thinking about my art, which was the ready-made outcome of my project. I had all kinds of art: pencil sketches in my journal, acrylic disasters, marker drawings, graphic design pieces, and a whole variety of finished and unfinished pen and ink pieces. I knew I couldn’t include all of it. For instance, even though I had some graphic design pieces I really liked, I chose not to include them because I decided my poster would function better as a snapshot of my summer project, instead of as a summary.”-Major Grant Awardee 2017, ASURPS Presenter 2018

  • Even if your project is something that could be described with text alone, try to think about what visuals would be interesting and helpful for your audience.
  • Sometimes presenting a snapshot of your work can give the audience a more concrete understanding of what you did.

Picture of a slice of cake with the text "A slice of your project is a good representation of the whole"

Design Tips

Content is important but style is often what attracts your audience.

  • Use your design to guide your audience through the information. Try to create something eye catching, but easy to read.
  • Use the center of your poster to display something visually interesting - perhaps an important image, a schematic of the project or a model of how all your data fits together.
  • Consider using your section headings to make a statement - instead of “Results” try creating a short statement about the overall findings in each section of the poster. This makes every piece of text effective.
  • Pick a simple color scheme that works well with the images you have chosen or figures you have created.

Check out examples of past posters and a video with design tips!

Printing your poster

**Before submitting your poster for printing we recommend you print it off on regular size paper - check it over and show it to your mentor.**

If you are applying for SURPS or ASURPS, UAR will print your poster free of charge if your poster is submitted with your application.

  • Design your poster as a slide in PowerPoint, and save the file as a .ppt file. To do this, create a new slide show and add a new slide by choosing “New Slide” from the “Insert” menu. To change the dimensions of this slide to poster size, select “Page Setup” from the “File” Menu. Then change the width to 42 inches and height to 36 inches. If you are submitting your poster to UAR for printing, save the final poster in .pdf format and submit the PDF version.
  • The computer connected to the plotter is a PC. If you are working on a Mac, check your file on a PC before submitting to ensure your fonts and images appear correctly.
  • Before printing, double and triple check your file for errors such as spelling mistakes or overlapping images.
  • The file size should not exceed 5 megabytes.
  • Dimension of your poster: maximum of 42 inches by 36 inches.
  • Mounting: You may tack your poster up to the provided backing boards. Mounting on foamcore is not a requirement and not recommended for SURPS.

There are several venues for poster printing both on and off campus. The cost of printing a poster is usually in the range of $55.  We recommend that students consult with their department to see if the department has poster printing equipment for a reasonable fee.