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Research Posters: Making Posters

Making research posters

There are many things to keep in mind when making a poster of your academic work. This guide features tips to help you.

While these tips are geared primarily towards science and health science posters, anyone making a poster can use them. You can also see our guide on Making Humanities Posters.


  • Include your name and school
  • You usually don't need an abstract on your poster, especially if it is in a program
  • You may want to follow the IMRAD structure: intro, methods, results, and discussion
  • Make sure your project is clearly stated
  • Find the sweet spot for word count: use enough text to describe your project but avoid large blocks of text       
  • Advice for scientific posters                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


Using images will make your poster more interesting and engaging. However, if you are using someone else's image, make sure you are not violating copyright law. Remember to cite any images you use. Also make sure that any photo you choose is high enough quality that it will not be pixelated when blown up to poster size.

Here are some sources for images with Creative Commons licenses:


  • Your font size and style are important. Your poster needs to be readable from a distance.
  • Make sure you make your poster to the right specifications. This is crucial!
  • Your poster must flow and be organized so the reader knows how to read it. Utilize white space.
  • Score your poster with this quiz from University of TX at Austin



   There are lots of software options for designing your poster.

    Costs associated:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud (PhotoShop, InDesign, Illustrator)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint or Publisher


Additional resources


Picture of a poster session with posters on easels

IRI Columbia University CC BY-NC 2.0

This work by Rebekah Miller is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license; CC BY-NC 4.0