Your poster will consist of a combination of headings, text, illustrations, charts, and diagrams. The amount of each will vary depending on the topic and the research you conducted. Write down everything you would like to include in your poster. Next, sketch your poster on a piece of paper with all of the different sections you would like to cover. Headings may include title, introduction, methods, results, recommendations and conclusions. It is recommended to follow this general format:
The viewers of your poster display will be educated, but not necessarily in your field. Jargon and acronyms specific to the research or discipline should be kept to a minimum.
You (in consultation with your faculty sponsor) may wish to incorporate physical objects, demonstrations, or apparatus. These elements are, (in most cases), allowed. The primary concern is for the security/safety of these components. Continuous attendance by the student(s) or designated persons is necessary. The removal of these objects during the times they are not in use, or that they will be unattended, is the responsibility of each student.
Mentally remove yourself from the ongoing research project long enough to identify the single, fundamental concept, that captures the essence. Express this concept in no more than ten words. Write the ten words out and distill them down to five. For example, if my topic was (in ten words): "Bicycle tire inflation pressure's relationship to rock and curb damage" I would distill this to: "Inflation and Bicycle Tire Damage". This might not be the final title of your research, but it will provide a focus toward which the presentation must proceed.
The major headline on the top of your display should include: the title, the student(s) name(s), and the college/department/faculty sponsor(s) name(s). These should be a minimum of 50 mm (2") (142 pt.) block style letters. The use of one type font is recommended. Choose a font that is san serif, not decorative. Bold blocky text works well. Avoid fonts that strain the eye. Just because you can use them doesn't mean you should. Color, bold face and underline are far better than mixed fonts or italicized words used for emphasis.
The introduction should be about three to five sentences. Simple to understand and concise.
The poster is primarily visual; use text to support the graphics. A target to aim for is 20% text, 40% graphics and 40% white space--which consisting of borders, margins and paragraph separations.
Use figures, tables, and graphs to tell a story. Organize them into sections; for example, use slightly different colored backgrounds. Use borders that are about 10 mm around the figures. Don't rely on your verbal explanations at the poster session to link the poster components together. Cues for continuity come from layout and sequence. Graphic material should be legible from 1.5 m (6 feet) away. Computer graphics application programs (ex. Adobe Illustrator) are available for student use at most SCSU open computer labs.
There are a number of conventions in poster design and it can be a good idea to follow them. People tend to read a poster either from left to right (in rows) or from up to down (in columns) in a logical order. Generally, you should lay out your poster material in vertical columns so people can follow your story as they move from left to right. Use the center area of the display area for methods used and results.
To help with the layout, you can make a scaled down sketched version (sometimes referred to as a thumbnail or mockup). Cut a piece of paper in the same rectangular dimensions of the poster but scaled down to be easier to work with. Cut pieces to fit on this thumbnail, including rough sketches of the illustrations and portions of text. Lay the components out (without glue) on the rectangle to arrange them for best effect. Have others, or your faculty sponsor, check the design.
Posters will be displayed on an individual easel; either horizontally or vertically. A foam board and clips will also be provided for student use during their designated session. You should plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to your assigned time to allow for setup.