Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Translating Science into Solutions for Better Health

Poster Production



  • Keep purpose in mind (your purpose and conference purpose)
  • Consider audience (technical background, etc.)
  • Think "press conference" —max 2 minutes/2 pages of info
  • Some content can be omitted to be included later in your published paper (e.g. extensive lit reviews or bibliography, complex tables)
  • Emphasize most important results, rather than showing all results


  • Sell your content
  • Keep material simple
  • Be selective in what you present
  • You want passers-by (who are also eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and talking) to get something from your poster in 30 seconds
  • Use logical order (people are used to reading in columns (top to bottom) from left to right, or in rows (left to right) from top to bottom
  • Label sections to help guide, e.g. use research journal manuscript sections or some derivation thereof as appropriate to your content
  • In addition to title, authors, affiliation, and usually acknowledgements, you should include "what, why, how, results, so what?"
    • For example, use one or more relevant headings from each category:
      • What: objectives, purpose, hypotheses
      • Why: background, theory, context
      • How: methods, design, sample, data, measures, analyses


  • High contrast (e.g. dark text and light background)
  • Beware of large blocks of bright colors
  • Beware of dark or patterned backgrounds
  • Gradient backgrounds sometimes don't print well
  • Use color to emphasize/differentiate/add interest (not just because they're there)


  • Large enough to see from at least 5-8 feet, e.g. 14 (if printed at 200%) for text, larger for section headings and even larger for title (to be seen from 15-20 feet)
  • Simple font (e.g. Arial)
  • Italic and bold work better for emphasis than underlining
  • Keep to one (or very few) font types
  • Minimize use of all caps


  • Should be understandable, readable, relevant
  • Follow basic guidelines for statistical graphics
  • Beware of clipart (use when it clarifies, illustrates)
  • Use appropriate resolution for images/photos
  • Minimize use of multitudes of numbers—use graphs whenever possible
  • Jpg files are usually more efficient than other types for images
  • Images and objects should be inserted, not copy/paste