Conference Poster Pro-Tips

  • The conference website will have the required poster dimensions. As soon as you open PowerPoint, change the slide size (Design > Custom > Slide Size).
  • I highly recommend sketching out your poster on a whiteboard or giant sheet of paper before you open PowerPoint! It’ll save a ton of time. One really good way to do this is think about your “spiel”/blurb (the 1 minute talk you will give you people who visit your poster). Make sure that:
    • All of the components of your blurb are included on your poster (e.g. your background bullet points should be similar to what you want to tell the visitor)
    • The order of your poster matches the order of your blurb. You don’t want to jump around from the top of your poster to the bottom to the top to the bottom again – you’ll give your visitor motion sickness!
  • Remember that the figures are the most compelling part of the poster – they’re what entice people to stop by and learn about your research. I usually select 4-6 plots or photos I want to include, then create the poster layout based on those.
  • Always use bullet points instead of paragraphs! Every word is valuable. Choose wisely 🙂
  • Unless it’s required, don’t include an abstract. Poster abstracts always seemed silly to me because posters are essentially graphic abstracts. Save that precious space if you can.
  • Include your name and email address in big font so people know who you are and how to contact you!
  • In other countries, it’s standard to put a picture of your face on the poster. I’ve started doing this because it helps people figure out who the poster belongs to. You might also consider putting your abstract or poster number (assigned by the conference) in the top corner of your poster.
  • Make sure your background/methods/results/discussion sections are clearly separated.
  •  If you can, try to use colors strategically (e.g. keep certain groups of animals or certain methods the same color throughout your poster).
  • You can use a background image if you want, but make sure it’s not too distracting.

Here are some example posters I’ve put together for conferences. Click for full size. Hope that helps 🙂

2012_SACNAS     2013_MBNMS       2015_BIOLOGGING

2015_INBRE      2017_BIOLOGGING          2018_POLAR


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