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Academic Posters

What is an academic poster?

Academic posters are a visual display of research.  The goal is to create a visually appealing presentation of brief text and graphics to capture the attention of your audience and generate discussion.




image credit:  "Poster Session" by Woodleywonderworks from Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Know the poster requirements


Read the assignment carefully and make a checklist. Note all the elements needed to complete the assignment.

Ask your instructor about anything you do not understand.  A poster assignment may look straightforward at first, but it is not until you begin working through the details that you may realize you have questions. Ask your questions early and get feedback before it is too late and awkward to ask.

What are the poster dimensions?  The dimensions are extremely important; check your assignment for the required size. Make sure to set these dimensions in the software program/tool you are using BEFORE you begin! These dimensions are also required when printing the poster.

image credits: "Checklist" by Unlimicon from Noun Project; "Questions" by Gregor Cresnar from Noun Project; "Dimensions"  from Noun Project

What software can I use?

Recommended Software: If Knowledgeable: Free Graphic Design Tools: 


PowerPoint - save and print as a  PowerPoint (.pptx) file.


Publisher - save and print as a  Publisher (.pub) file.


Adobe Photoshop or Adobe InDesign.  Save and print as an Adobe (.pdf) file.


The free version of these tools often have many limitations, so beware of the limitations before investing time in designing.  Also, remember to set the dimensions of the template you choose BEFORE you begin!  Save and print as a PNG file

Poster templates

If you are unsure of where to begin and need inspiration, below are websites that provide poster templates:

  MakeSigns - Poster PowerPoint Templates

  PosterPresentations - Poster PowerPoint Templates






image credits: "Scientific Poster PowerPoint Templates" from Makesigns; "World Wide Web" by Minh Do from Noun Project