Scientific posters are widely used in the academic community to showcase research findings and to generate a conversation among the researcher and their audience.  But in a sea of posters, what makes any one stand out?  What makes a good poster? Here you will find a few pointers to designing a poster that will grab the reader’s attention and invite them over to learn more.


The first step in developing your content is to keep your audience in mind. Perhaps they are faculty who work in your industry. Perhaps they are students who aren’t familiar with the topic but are interested in learning more. Either way, it’s important to consider their knowledge of the subject matter so that you can determine how best to present your research.

Additionally, it’s important to keep your content concise and to break copy into sections to add white space and visual “gaps,” making your poster more approachable.

Below is a list of recommended sections to include on a research poster:

  • Introduction or Background
    • Research questions or aims
  • Methods
    • Design
    • Participants
    • Measures
    • Procedures
    • Analysis
  • Results
    • Consider organizing the results with a header for each aim or research question.
    • Conveying findings using figures or tables can be more powerful than text in the poster format.
  • Conclusion
    • Identify 2-3 take home messages.
    • Depending on the conference and audience, this section may feature implications.
  • References
    • If allowed by the conference, you can save space by using a numbered format such as MLA.
  • Acknowledgements (bottom footer)
    • Include funder, any research labs/centers/groups supporting the work, or collaborators not listed as authors.


Here are some best practices to keep in mind as you design your poster.

  1. Before you begin your design, be sure to review specific submission guidelines for the event at which you’ll be presenting.
  2. Lead with the results to grab the reader’s attention.
  3. Optimize white space to separate sections and avoid clutter.
  4. Align elements using Format->Align tools
  5. Make sure your poster is accessible for all readers. Avoid color “vibrations” by pairing bright colors with neutral colors (i.e. avoid placing orange on top of blue backgrounds). Below are a few examples of color combinations that cause vibrations.

Font size and style 

  1. Limit the types of fonts used to no more than two for headers and body copy
  2. Minimum font size for body text 28 pt.
  3. Use Sans Serif fonts such as Gentona or Century Gothic as they are easier to read.

Figures, tables, and images

  1. Figures, tables, and images can be used to effectively convey main ideas.
  2. For qualitative research, drawing attention to the best quotes can increase the impact of the findings.  
  3. Place your results/key findings in the center of the poster for visual hierarchy.
  4. Create QR Codes to connect visitors with additional content.

Poster Templates

With the help of various PHHP faculty members and staff, we’ve created three poster templates to choose from each vetted and approved by various faculty to ensure they fit the needs of both faculty and students.

When using these templates, please note that all assets are movable including section headers, text boxes, and logos to allow for ease of use. To keep the integrity of the each design, please do not remove or resize the University logo on any template.

Download 57.5″ x 36″

Download 48″ x 36″

Helpful Resources