A scientific research poster is a tool that researchers use to present information in a structured way. It may be used instead of a talk and can often prove more effective, particularly in a situation where a researcher doesn’t feel confident presenting in front of large audiences. Your poster should be attractive and attention-grabbing, but you also need to ensure that it’s easy to read and follow.
Try to focus on just two or three major points, and limit the word count. Leave plenty of white space, and use charts and visuals wherever possible.
Here are our top tips and tricks for designing an effective scientific research poster that stands out:
Tips for Designing an Effective Scientific Research Poster
- Catch their attention with a big headline
It’s important that you stand out among your rival researchers if you want to arouse interest in your work. To catch the attention of passers-by, use a large, bold font and leave plenty of white space around your heading. Choose a heading that highlights the most interesting aspect of your research.
- Keep it simple with a plain background
When a document contains too much clutter, it can cause confusion and distract us from where we should be focusing our attention. So use dark type on a light, plain background, and your scientific research poster will be easy to read.
- Use no more than three colors
Too many colors can wreak havoc on our eyes. The rule of three is simple to follow, and it produces stunning results. It’s simple: pick one key color, then pick two other complementary colors. So as long as you don’t put three strong colors together, you can’t really go wrong.
- Choose easy-to-read fonts
Fonts like Georgia, Helvetica, Open Sans, and Verdana are all popular choices for print materials. Try running a test print of your poster and looking at it from a few steps away. Also, if you can’t read the text, try a larger size or a simpler, bolder typeface.
- Use small blocks of text
Your scientific research poster should tell an engaging story, but it’s essential that you keep it brief. Long rambling paragraphs and big clumps of data won’t make anyone happy, especially not when they’re standing in a crowded conference room. So use short sentences and paragraphs, and keep your text blocks small. If you need to, you can go into more detail in the handout and the short verbal explanation you prepare for the event.
- Add simple data displays & visuals
Any scientific research poster that’s worth its salt will contain photos, visuals, and charts that present the data in an appealing way. Many of us are visual learners, and it is these details—the graphics—that will really help your reader understand and appreciate your work. So ensure all graphics are high resolution and are captioned with a brief explanation.
What to include in your scientific research poster
To meet the expectations of your audience and provide them with thorough but concise insight into your work, your scientific research poster should include:
- A heading
- An introduction
- Your research method
- The results
- Your recommendations/conclusion
- Your name
- Your contact details
- Funding acknowledgments
- Institutional affiliation
Stick to these rules and you will have an eye-appealing poster that is easy to follow and understand. Clear images and important keywords in the headlines will help attendees notice your poster from afar and extract people from the crowd who are excited about what you have to show them.