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Posters and Poster Presentations

Support for creating and presenting scholarly posters

UVM poster templates

What does a good poster look like?

Posters are a common form of academic communication and are frequently seen at conferences. They concisely and attractively summarize information or research findings to help publicize the information and generate discussion.


Four Key Design Elements to Consider

Well designed posters are a mixture of a short text blocks mixed in with tables, graphs, pictures, or other illustrations. Generally speaking, you should focus on the following elements:

  • Text - All text should be easy to read and the information should be clear and to the point; a common rule is to keep text under 800-1000 words
  • Images & Graphics - Images, graphics, and other illustrations are a good way to convey a lot of information in a small space, but must be clear, accurate, and relevant to the poster topic
  • Color - Two to three colors can be used to guide readers through the poster and to highlight important information, but only use complimentary colors and design for people who have difficulty seeing colors
  • Layout - The arrangement, spacing, and alignment of all the sections of your poster have a direct impact on how easy it is for people to read your poster; aim for lots of white space, keep elements aligned, and maintain a logical progression through the sections

It takes practice to pull everything together to make a good poster, but you can get inspiration from other people. For example, here are a couple of well designed posters from different conferences:

Two examples of good posters

Both of these poster come from a blog called Better Posters, which covers everything from design basics to different technology used to create and display posters. It's a great place to get some good idea.

Common poster sections

Posters typically include many of the sections listed below:



Select a title that effectively and succinctly communicates the topic and significance of your project while retaining a professional tone. Avoid jargon; use terms all audience members can understand.


Collaborators & Institutional Affiliations

If this is your independent research project, you are the sole author. If you are working with a group, be sure to include everyone's name as they would like it written.



An abstract is the succinct summary of your research project. Some disciplines require an abstract in the poster, while other poster design experts recommend that you not include one since the poster itself is a summary of your work. When in doubt, ask your faculty advisor or someone else who is familiar with the requirements for your discipline.


Background & Literature Review

Make the case for your research question and explain how your research contributes to the existing literature on the topic.


Research Question

Provide a clear statement about the problem(s) you are trying to solve or the issue(s) you have investigated.



This should be a brief description. Use visual aids to summarize information.

  • What did you do to address your research question?
  • What measures did you use?
  • What sample did you use?
  • Were there any manipulations, comparisons, correlations, or significant differences of interest?
  • What are the strengths and limitations of your methodology?



What were the outcomes of the research? You can express results quantitatively or qualitatively. If your research is in progress, report your preliminary results.


Discussion & Conclusion

What are the broader implications of your research and/or findings?


Future Directions

Did your research leave unanswered questions that could be explored in the future?



Thank your funding source(s) and acknowledge help from others, not on the list of authors (for an independent project, this normally includes your faculty mentor).


Contact Information

People looking at your poster should be able to contact you, even if you are not standing next to your poster. Provide your professional e-mail address and, if applicable, a link to a Web site that has information about your research in a section titled “For Further Information.”