Creating Effective Poster Presentations | Create Your Poster | Layout
George Hess | Kathryn Tosney | Leon Liegel

An Effective Poster
Define Your Message
Know Your Audience(s)
An Effective Abstract
Create Your Poster
    :: Planning
    :: Focus
    :: Layout
    :: Headings
    :: Graphics
    :: Text
    :: Colors
    :: Editing
    :: Software
Present Your Poster
Examples of Posters
Video Library
Using this Site
Reproducing Material
The Authors
E-mail a Comment

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Copyright (c) 2013

A clear visual grammar guides readers through your poster.

Your poster should ...

  • use a visual grammar to guide readers to the important parts of your poster.
  • use a column format to make your poster easier to read in a crowd.
  • use organization cues to guide readers through your poster.
  • use "reader gravity" which pulls the eye from top to bottom and left to right (Wheildon 1995).
  • use headings intelligently to help readers find your main points and key information.
  • balance the placement of text and graphics to create visual appeal.
  • use white space creatively to help define the flow of information.

    Visual grammar

    >>Consider the alternatives>>

    Visual grammar is a graphic hierarchy that helps readers identify the most important parts of your poster.

    Image of good visual grammar

    Columnar format

    >>Consider the alternatives>>

    Organize your poster in columns so that it's easy to read when there's a crowd in front of it.

    Image showing columnar format

    Use organizational cues

    >>Consider the alternatives>>

    Another way to make sure readers know how to navigate your poster is to use cues - numbers, letters, arrows - to guide them.

    Image showing use of numbers as organization cues

    Reader gravity There are language-specific ways in which most people read. In English, it is top-to-bottom and left-to-right. Wheildon (1995) called this "reader gravity." You should not use organizational constructs that defy reader gravity - it will confuse viewers, which is not what you want to happen.

    Balance and white space Your poster should have a good visual balance of figures and text, separated by white space. Balance occurs when images and text are reflected (at least approximately) across a central horizontal, vertical, or diagonal axis. This axis is know as the axis of symmetry.

    Horizontal Symmetry

    Horizontal & Vertical Symmetry

    Diagonal Symmetry

    (text-heavy on left, image-heavy on right)