A Guide to Making a Scientific Poster

It can be incredibly daunting trying to create a scientific poster for an upcoming conference. Knowing where to start, what to include and how best to organize it.

There are differing opinions as to the best program to use when making a poster, but PowerPoint is arguably the most simple.

To begin with, determine the required size of the poster. The maximum poster size allowed is usually specified by each conference. The page size of the document should be set to the actual full size that the poster will be printed at.

This step must come first, as changing the page size after adding content will result in hours of additional formatting.

For less hassle with formatting take a look at this great powerpoint scientific poster template with the standard size of 48″x36″. It also provides content ideas for each section, as well as some powerpoint tips and tricks.

Click below to download the template:

Image Credit: StressMarq Biosciences

Now for the finer details of making a scientific poster:

1. Scientific Poster Guidelines – The following key sections should be included:

a. Title – This should be written as a sentence and the first letter of each word should not be capitalized.

b. Introduction Keep this brief only including essential information.

c. Materials and Methods – Use subsections and images/diagrams to break down the text. Alternatively, use a flow-chart.

d. Results – Use headers to break down the text and summarize the key findings for each set of graphs.

e. Discussion/Summary Create a diagram that outlines the major findings.

f. Conclusions/Future Directions – Include a few brief bullet points to conclude the findings.

g. Literature cited – Include only the key citations from your introduction or methods.

h. Acknowledgments – Thank anyone who deserves thanking. Include funding agency logos here.

2. The title should be easy to read from a few feet away. A sans-serif font (Arial, Calibri) in bold will work best as it is easier to read for large titles.

3. Information should be arranged in columns, not rows. 3-4 columns are ideal depending on the size of the poster.

4. Large headers are best to outline sections and break-up text. Colored blocks with white writing not only look nice but also help delineate the columns without having to use a border for each column.

5. Use bullet points. The text should be brief - less is more. Keep each bullet point to 2-3 lines.

6. Avoid busy backgrounds. A simple white or solid color background is best so as not to distract from the data.

7. Use black or a dark colored font. Colored text is difficult to read.

8. Include plenty of images. If it is taking 4-5 lines of solid text to explain something, then it might be better summarized with a diagram or image.

9. Keep graphs simple. Use titles for axes that are legible from a fair distance (i.e. 2-3 feet). Any background or gridlines should be removed as they obscure the data.

10. Images should be exported as png files and at the desired resolution. Try not to drastically resize images inside the poster-making program.

11. The poster should be viewed at full-size on the screen. All the images and text regions need to be checked to ensure that they are not pixelated.

12. Prepare a quick summary in case people ask “what was involved here?”

It is very important to keep in mind that people viewing the poster will just be passing by, and so the title or imagery will need to catch their attention to get them to stop.

The poster design needs to be attractive, uncluttered and easy to read.

There will only be a few seconds to get across all the important details before they move on. Graphs, diagrams or images are the best way to do this. Paragraphs worth of information can be conveyed with a good figure.

About StressMarq Biosciences

Established in 2007, StressMarq Biosciences Inc. is a supplier of life science products that operates out of Victoria, Canada with a small, but dedicated group of scientists. Headed by our CEO and President Dr. Ariel Louwrier, StressMarq provides the research community with high-quality reagents backed with rigorous quality control data, expert scientific support, and fast international delivery.

“Discovery through partnership, Excellence through quality”

With over 7,000 products, our growth can be attributed to the continual production of cutting edge research products. Our diverse portfolio of primary antibodies, antibody conjugates, proteins, immunoassay kits and small molecules bridges across the life sciences, including products for cancer research, cardiovascular disease, cell signaling and neuroscience. To aid research worldwide, StressMarq has an extensive network of international distributors that allow us to supply reagents to over 50 countries.

In the years to come, StressMarq will continue to aid life science research by providing “Discovery through partnership, and Excellence through quality”.


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Last updated: Jan 28, 2020 at 2:20 AM

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