General Poster Guidelines

The student’s mentor/advisor is the best resource to learn how to make and present a poster. Each student should consult his/her mentor/advisor for any question related to poster. Below are the guidelines that students can follow, when the mentor is not immediately available.

  1. Posters need to be printed out, not hand-written. You may either print out multiple 8”x11” sheets of information on a regular printer, or you may print out the poster on a single poster-sized sheet at the Copy Center. Consult Paul Donahue, SHU Lead Duplication Technician, for information on pricing & printing.

  2. The recommended size for posters is 48” W x 36” H.  At the poster session room (on the day of the event), you will be provided with thumb tacks to attach the poster on the poster-board (also provided on the day of the event).

  3. Your poster should be constructed so that it presents the desired information in a self-explanatory manner.

  4. Keep you poster simple and brief. A poster is not a place for you to tack up your entire body of research for people to read. Instead, think of a poster as a series of highly efficient, organized “panels” (a storyboard) upon which appear synopses of the relevant information you want to convey – just enough to get your point across.

  5. Organize your poster materials using headings, such as “Introduction”, “Materials & Methods”, “Results”, “Discussion” or “Conclusions”, and “References”. This will help establish a logical flow to your poster.

  6. Use large enough font size so people will not have to squint to read the material. For headings, use at least 48-point font size. For text, use nothing less than 18-point. Consider the use of font emphasis (e.g. Bold) to highlight key text.

  7. Make your poster visually appealing. Have fun. Be creative. Incorporate color. Use photographs, graphs, charts, maps, and the like. Simplify charts and figures to include only relevant information. Be attentive to the layout and placement of your materials.  Remember that your poster needs to look professional, not like a grade school science fair poster.

  8. Negative or empty space is essential for a poster to be readable. Cramming too much text/content into poster may detract from its readability. Consider grouping related text and figures with a border for readability. Remember that the normal flow for reading is left to right.

  9. Place the title of your work at the top of your poster in a larger font. Place the presenter(s)’s name and mentor, as well as department and/or program, below the title in a smaller font. You may wish to have handouts, business cards, and a way to collect names and contact information for anyone interested in receiving more details about your research.

  10. Your poster represents you, your mentor, academic program, and department. Take great care to plan and organize it well. Make sure it communicates the intended information in an interesting, visual manner.  Ask your mentor to approve your poster prior to printing and presentation.

  11. Do not plan on using any audiovisual equipment unless you have specifically requested it ahead of time.

  12. You must follow correctly the timing for: Poster set-up (anytime between 12-12:30pm; and use a part of this setting-up time to enjoy light lunch that will be provided in the atrium area), then presentation time (1-3pm) when you have to stand next to your poster to answer questions from visitors, then attend the closing ceremony that starts at 3:30pm (you need to attend the ceremony if your poster will be judged; if you’re not sure whether your poster will be judged or not: consult your faculty-mentor), then take down the poster after the closing ceremony ends (around 4pm). [Between 12:30 -1pm, and 3-3:30pm: you are not required to be present next to your poster, so do whatever you want to do].

  13. Presentation apparel:  business casual.


For more specific instructions on how to design a poster, refer to the Expanded Guidelines on Poster Designs at the same website link shown above.