Get Some Extra Help

Looking for more information or perspectives on posters? Here are a few that we like:

Advice from Colin Purrington 
This blog includes a comprehensive analysis and recommendations about designing better posters. Irreverent style and an even dos and don’ts on poster wardrobe coordination are included! And don’t miss Pimp My Poster, Purrington’s Flickr site, where people post their posters, and others offer constructive feedback.

Creating Effective Poster Presentations
George Hess, Kathryn Tosney, and Leon Liegel at North Carolina State University, provide a helpful set of resources, including some interesting examples–even thoughts about abstract writing (though they, like us, feel that abstracts are redundant on posters and should only be used when required).

Some additional articles, resources to consider include:

  • Better Posters. A great blog by Dr. Zen Faulkes, a biologist at University of Texas-Pan American, featuring regular updates and critiques.
  • Adventures in poster making. Another blog, this one by Robyn Hall, an academic librarian. Hall provides a step-by-step guide on poster making.
  • Poster Perfect. This article by Edyta Zielinska, published on The Scientist, provides tips on design and formatting, tips for clearer content and a poster-making checklist.
  • Poster Session Tips. This site was developed by the graphic designers of Teaching and Learning with Technology for the use of the McNair Scholars Program at Pennsylvania State University. Great tutorial on basic graphic design concepts you can apply to any poster.
  • How To Make a Great Poster. Featured on the American Society of Plant Biologists, this guide to poster making by Dina F. Mandoli, University of Washington, Department of Biology and Center for Developmental Biology, covers all of the basics and includes downloadable resources, such as How to Make a Great Talk.

Resources from SCP

Thoughts on Poster Production
You have done your prep work (it takes longer than you expect!), understood your message, and designed a first-rate poster. Now, how do you get a large format poster produced? Some schools have an in-house production capacity. If yours doesn’t, places like FedEx, FASTSIGNS, and AlphaGraphics often do. In all cases, the bigger the poster, the more expensive, so consider relatively smaller formats (e.g., 36″ X 48″ vs. 40″ x 80″). Also be very careful about your images, logos, and photographs. What looks fine on your computer screen can quickly become pixelated (blurry) when blown up to poster size. Use the hi-resolution versions wherever possible and ask the tech folks where you’re having your poster printed to confirm that the images are high enough quality. Color can vary widely from your computer screen to final product, so make sure there is enough contrast between your background and your text.

There are also online poster production services* that are worth a look, such as:

  • has a number of very generic templates, but you don’t have to use their templates to have PosterSession produce your poster and even send it directly to your meeting (we have not used the service, so can’t vouch for its reliability). They also sell poster carriers.
  • has a poster tutorial that has a lot production advice, but doesn’t say much about more substantive matters. It also has very generic templates will print your poster and send it along. Prices here look very good, $53.99 for a 36” x 60” glossy poster. Shipping via FedEx is extra, and they can do everything from eight days (if you really have your ducks in a row) to overnight (you’re flailing).
  • is another similar service (out of Berkeley) with templates (clear, they do no harm). And while their prices are higher than MakeSigns, they sell their customer service harder than others (it seems to include some design consultation according to some of their testimonials). They don’t offer anything slower than 2nd day delivery, so they do sound as if they know the kind of timeframes harried academics are usually working on.

*Please note that we present these services as examples of what is available. This should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation.