A research poster is one of a few common ways in which scholars share their work, and the highly visual format provides a lot of flexibility in how you engage your audience. Regardless of whether you're creating the poster for a classroom assignment, for a research fair, or for a conference, the process you follow is largely the same. Before you get started creating your poster, there are a few practical concerns that will guide your design process:
- Will your poster be displayed digitally, on a screen, or will it be printed out?
- Print posters are commonly 48 inches by 36 inches, there may be specific requirements for the dimensions
- A digital display may be widescreen, which has a width to height ratio of 16:9, or standard, which is 4:3
- Do you only need to bring a completed poster on the day you are scheduled to present, or do you need to submit your poster ahead of time?
- Designing a poster usually involves making a lot of choices, and it may take longer than you expect!
- Are you required to use a specific template or tool? If not, how will you make your poster?
- PowerPoint is a common tool and is accessible through Office 365, but requires tweaking as it is not designed with posters in mind
- Adobe Creative Suite includes many high-powered graphics design tools (like Illustrator and Photoshop), but is expensive and complex; Several Macs and PCs in the Undergraduate Library, labeled "graphics computers," have Adobe Creative Suite installed
- LaTeX is a typesetting tool which is commonly used in math and science, and can be used to create research posters
- Canva is a "freemium" browser-based graphic design tool that offers good functionality but limited options for unpaid users
- Inkscape is a free and open-source design tool meant to serve as an alternative to Adobe Illustrator