The University of Michigan Libraries has an entire guide dedicated to the creation of posters using Adobe Illustrator, one of the most used design tools in Adobe Creative Suite. Their instructions for the initial poster setup can be found on the front page of the guide, and the rest of the guide gives detailed instructions on populating the poster's content.
InDesign is another tool in Adobe Creative Suite which may be used to design an academic poster. The University of Michigan Libraries has another guide to working with InDesign. It does not address the creation of posters specifically, but the general information it does provide is more than sufficient.
Adobe's tool are very powerful, but they are quite expensive and can be difficult to afford. The WSU Libraries has 3 Mac and 4 PC computers in the Undergraduate Library on which Adobe Creative Suite is installed. The staff at the UGL desk can direct you to them.
|UGL||Reference Area (Graphics Mac)||2|
|UGL||Reference Area (Graphics PC)||2|
|UGL||Silent Study Area (Graphics Mac)||1|
|UGL||Silent Study Area (Graphics PC)||2|