Poster Printing

The Department has a large format printer in 3213 Gardner Hall which is available to everyone in the department for preparing posters for meetings and other presentations. In order to track maintenance more easily and to minimize the risk of accidental damage to the printer, we follow the same policy  used by CALS for its large format printers in that the actual operation of the printer is restricted to a group of approved individuals.

The following people will work with you to prepare your poster:

Paul Labadie 515-1662
Dan Mott 515-8877
Rick Santangelo 515-1820
Mike Waldvogel 515-8881

Posters can be printed in either 36” or 42” wide (relative to the width of the printer) and up to 52" long. Check with your meeting's guidelines to make sure you don't exceed any size limits.

Note: CALS maintains large format printers in 1400 Williams Hall which is accessible from the small courtyard facing Yarbrough Drive (i.e., the railroad tracks) and 315-B Patterson Hall. Those printers are free to authorized student users only (no faculty or staff) for printing two drafts and one final copy for each poster sheet.  Posters can be a maximim of 52" long.   After using your free allotment, you must use the department printer or another campus or commercial fee-based printers. As with our printer, the use of the Williams Hall or Patterson Hall printers requires an appointment.  CALS-IT recommends that you contact them three business days in advance. Please consult the following web site:



  1. Priority for use of the printer is for Entomology personnel. As noted previously, users from outside the department will be charged a higher production fee. Please bear in mind that the designated operators have other work responsibilities to their respective supervisors and research programs. We cannot impose on them by turning this into a college–wide accessible facility.
  2. Hours of Operation: Printing is available Monday-Friday 8am – 5pm as time allows unless you make special arrangements with one of the designated operators. We will leave such arrangements to you, the designated operator and their supervisors.
  3. Please contact us at least 48 hours in advance so that we can make sure someone is available. During peak periods of use, we encourage you to make your reservations at least 72 hours in advance.  In many instances, you can email your file to us and we will print it as time allows.  You can arrange to meet with one of the operators in 3213 Gardner Hall.
  4. Please allow two hours for completion of the poster and to make sure the ink has dried.  We are not responsible if you decide to move the poster too soon and the ink smears.
  5. At this point, only PowerPoint ® Presentations or PDFs are accepted for printing.  You can try a large jpg or TIFF image, but it may not print as seen on the computer monitor (bitmapping may occur). A set of recommended guidelines for preparing your PowerPoint file are included below.
  6. Please bring the following items with you for your appointment:
    • Your poster file stored on a USB "thumb drive" or a CD (please test the CD’s readability before you bring it over to the facility).
    • We recommend you bring a cardboard or plastic storage/mailing tube or plastic trash bag to protect your finished poster when you take it from the building
  7. Please review your poster carefully before your appointment (or before emailing it to us) so that time is not wasted unnecessarily with making last-minute corrections. You are responsible for the poster’s content and layout (follow the enclosed recommended Poster Design Tips).
  8. Once you are satisfied with the document’s appearance, you will then approve printing by the Designated Operator.
  9. The ink dries fairly quickly, but that depends on factors such as your poster background (i.e., white color versus something that uses a mix of colors). Also, please check your poster carefully before you handle or roll-up the poster in order to avoid smudging it. And remember - this is a shared facility. Space is limited and the room must be kept uncluttered. Do not plan on leaving posters in the room overnight. 
  10. Laminating - We do not have equipment for laminating posters. WolfXpress in Talley Center can laminate posters of 36" x 108".  If you're not paying for the poster, you will need an account-project number to which they can invoice the work.   FedEx/Kinko’s at 2712 Hillsborough Street (across from Scott Hall).  They will take university PA numbers.  You may want to call there first (919-832-4533 ) to confirm that they can laminate the poster in the time you require. There are other companies in Raleigh that offer this service (at a significant cost).



The following information was adapted from the CALS-IT Website:

A successful poster will attract the reader's interest, summarize the information and encourage discussion. To be effective it needs to be visually dynamic, holding the attention of your reader long enough to communicate your message. The main advantage of a poster is that it is available for extended periods of time, allowing readers to browse through the materials at their own pace and revisit the display. It also frees the presenter to answer questions and discuss the details of the poster.

There are several limitations of a poster display that should be considered. These include the physical restrictions on space, limiting the length and width of the poster. Also, there may be a number of posters presented at the same time, each competing for the viewer’s attention. As the poster's message becomes familiar, it quickly loses its ability to catch and hold the attention of the reader.

You will have the best chance of attracting the interest of your audience if:

  • The lettering is large enough to be legible.
  • The display is attractive and has a professional finish.
  • The content is well structured and easy to follow .

Points to consider when creating a poster

  • Most people tend to skim a poster. They first look at the title and the pictures. Only then might they try to read the rest of the poster if they think the material is interesting.
  • The relationship between text and graphics is especially important. The text should be placed so that the reader can read it systematically.
  • Posters incorporate visual combinations of images, lines, color and words. The basic elements of a poster are the main heading, supporting text and visuals.
  • The main heading should be brief, to the point, and designed to capture interest. Using a simple font ranging from 140 to 200 point sizes (about 2 inches high) is recommended. For maximum legibility, use capitals with lowercase lettering.
  • Visuals are the focal point of a poster. Photographs, illustrations, diagrams and charts can all present the same information in different ways. Labels must be close to any diagrams.
  • Selective use of color enhances a poster. Colored boarders, bullets and blocks serve to draw attention to specific details.
  • If the poster is to be used a number of times, it can be laminated in clear plastic for protection.
  • Research posters are meant to be a synopsis of your work. Try to limit your text to the most important points.
  • It is recommended that the poster have a header that includes the name of the student(s), the name of the university and department. Where appropriate, you should acknowledge the funding agency.
  • While the layout and design of the poster is up to you, the first element in your display should contain the title of your project, a list of all project collaborators, and an abstract .

Simple Checklist for Design

Have you...

  • Used visuals whenever possible to illustrate ideas
  • Presented a single concept with each visual
  • Broken down complex visuals into simpler ones
  • Chosen visuals because they add information
  • Eliminated distracting backgrounds
  • Avoided centering every element on the display
  • Used graphs to present data
  • Used bold, plain typefaces for headings
  • Avoided using more than two different typefaces
  • Used italics, bold, underlining or color for emphasis
  • Used capitals and lowercase lettering.
  • Used the brightest and lightest color to focus attention on important elements
  • Used lettering and visuals that contrast with background color
  • Used consistent background colors in a series of posters
  • Limited the number of colors on each poster
  • Made the design as simple as possible
  • Made sure your elements appear balanced
  • Made sure it is legible. If the audience can't read it, don't use it


General Information

  • PowerPoint is currently the only recommended software for poster design.
  • Open a blank presentation and set slide size to desired finished product. Paper size limits one dimension to either 36” or 42”, so set the other dimension to the necessary size (e.g., 48”x42”, 48”x36”, 56”x42”, etc.). You can use smaller dimensions then increase print size to 200%, but you will likely lose resolution and quality of the poster.
  • Use a 2” margin; 1” is the minimum margin, but you may run into format/printing problems.
  • If you make changes to your file before printing, save the file under a different name. Always preserve your original file in case you need to revert to it. Keep a backup copy of the file stored on another disk and/or hard drive.


  • Imported graphs cannot be edited in PowerPoint. Be sure that the graph is correct before importing.
  • Graph titles and axis titles cannot be resized once imported into PowerPoint. If you need to make corrections, use the original graphics program to edit the figure and then import the revised graph.


  • Scanning resolution should be between 150 and 300 dpi. Lower resolutions will result in poor quality images, particularly when printed. Higher resolutions do not produce noticeably better images but they will increase the PowerPoint file size and may make it more difficult to manage.
  • Pictures must be sized prior to importing into PowerPoint. Once in PowerPoint, resizing pictures may result in a visually acceptable format but it will print in the original, uncropped proportions. 
  • Do not try to enlarge a graphic beyond its original size or it will pixelate which negatively impacts on appearance on a poster.
  • Do not place text boxes, graphics, etc over the slide edge.

Sample Layouts