Participation Guidelines

Presenting a Poster

Poster Printing

Deadline Past
  • Posters for the Student Research Colloquium are eligible for a $40 credit towards the cost of poster printing through Copies Plus in Atwood. Starting March 10 through April 8, 2014, the credit will be applied on a first-come first-serve basis to the first 25 posters. The credit can only be applied toward the cost of poster printing. Limit of one $40 credit per poster. Recommended poster size is no more than 36" high x 48" long.

Poster Tips From the Judges

Can you impress the viewer in 60 seconds with your poster? Are the title and content connected? Originality is very important so be creative!

  • Refer to "Opt-In" Competition page for judging rubrics.
  • Overall Appearance Crisp, clean, and pleasing.
  • Text/Graphic Balance Think about visual/cognitive style.
  • Text Size Font size and style - use wisely.
  • White Space Avoid clutter.
  • Organization and Flow Easy to follow.
  • Author Identification My name is nobody?
  • Research Objectives Easy to identify.
  • Main Points Short and sweet.
  • Summary Useful for a quick glance.
  • References Is there anything new under the sun? Cite!


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. Follow this general format:


NOTE: Posterboard is 4' high x 8' long. Recommended poster size is no more than 36" wide (high) x 48" long (length).


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 not be used unless explained (not the best option).

Creating your Poster

There are a few different ways to create the poster:

  • PowerPoint Slides: This method consists of printing individual 8.5" x 11" slides using Microsoft PowerPoint and positioning them on the 4' x 8' supporting board in a logical order.
  • Large Scale Poster: This method involves using a computer program (such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Adobe InDesign, etc.) to create a poster which is printed on a large format printer (plotter) in one piece which is than affixed to the 4' x 8' supporting board.

Free resources and directions for creating posters, plus examples of completed projects:

Elements of your Poster

Props or objects

You (in consultation with your faculty sponsor) may wish to have present at your display area physical objects, demonstrations or apparatus. These elements are, in most cases, allowed and encouraged. The primary concern is for the security of these components. Continuous attendance by the student(s) or designated persons is recommended. The removal of these objects to a secure location (not provided) is also recommended during the times they are not in use or that they will be unattended.


Mentally remove yourself from the ongoing research project long enough to identify, within it, that 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 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 in at least 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. Don't repeat the abstract because it will be published in the colloquium Proceedings, which will be available to all attendees.


The poster is primarily visual; use text to support the graphics. A target to shoot for is 20% text, 40% graphics and 40% empty space consisting of borders, margins and paragraph separations.

  • Use simple words and short sentences.
  • Use a sans serifs font, like Helvetica bold that does not have curlicues.
  • Suggested sizes: section headings 36 to 48 point, supporting text 24 to 36 point, be restrained in your use of large type and colored text for emphasis.
  • Posters are not publications of record; avoid excessive detail and large tables of data.


Use figures, tables and graphs to tell a story. Organize them into sections, for example, use slightly different colored backgrounds. Use muted colors for background. 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 applications programs (like Adobe Illustrator and others) 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 method and results.

To help with the layout, you can make a scaled down sketched version (called 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.

Free web sites with design and layout ideas:

Construction (hanging poster at the show)

Bring stick pins, staples, etc., to attach your poster session materials to the 4' x 8' supporting board 30-60 minutes prior to your assigned time. You can use colored tag board or cloth as a background. Using different background colors can help the viewer separate different parts of the display, but don't use intense or wildly different colors as a background. Don't feel obligated to use all the space. Get help with hanging, the process may require a few hands.



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