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Presenting in the Sciences : A Guide

Quick guide with tips, examples, and resources on how to effectively present scientific information via posters and presentations

Scientific Poster Design

Your poster is similar to the Abstract section of a research paper. It is a short story providing enough information so that viewers will understand the purpose, methods, results and overall conclusions of your research. 

Some Tips on Designing a Scholarly Poster

  • Have an eye catching title - Use a title that is clear, intriguing and short enough to capture their attention
  • Use figures or tables responsibly - Use tables or figures if they concisely and clearly summarize your work. 
  • Use text sparingly - Avoid cluttered text in a small or hard to read font. Every word counts. 
  • Keep it visual - Use high resolution images and figures. Use a scale bar to show size if necessary
  • Use colors but sparingly - Do not go overboard with colors (also costly). Ensure your color choices are easy to read.
  • Use clear headings - Label your introduction, results, methods, conclusion so it will be clear to readers.
  • Organize sections logically - Organize the sections in a logical, easy to navigate manner. 
  • Don't clutter the poster - White space and breathing space between sections are your friends.
  • Don't forget your acknowledgments section - acknowledge any funding agencies and collaborators 
  • References are important - The reference list for your poster will probably be short, so don't leave it out!
  • Contact information - The abstract is just a sample of your work. Make sure your contact information is prominent so others can contact you in the future.

Inspired by: Cornell Center for Materials Research (n.d.). Scientific poster design : How to keep your poster from resembling an "abstract painting". Retrieved September 15 2014 from  

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