Conferences often have a poster session. We think of conferences as gatherings where information is communicated through presentations and papers in proceedings. But a poster is an alternative format for presenting research work. In a poster session, the poster is displayed and the author stands by it to converse informally with individuals who glance at the poster and then may want to ask about it. The topic may be a new research area that you are investigating, a case study applying what you have been working on, or how the results of your research are being commercialized.
The idea of a poster is that it should work on three levels of communication. The first level is to get a person’s attention as they pass by. That means a good title (large enough to read!), a pleasant arrangement and colour scheme, and perhaps a key graphic. The next level of detail is a graphic that conveys the main point of what the topic is and the most important information about the work. The finest level of detail is in the text and smaller supporting figures that provide a clear argument for the work, a summary of the methods used, supporting evidence for the conclusions that are drawn, and key references.
In most poster sessions, the author is welcome to use their preferred format. Here is a suggested format (and links to others are given below):
- Landscape format (that is, 48 inches wide, and 36 inches high)
- White background
- Black serifed font (use a font that will be readable from a bit of a distance)
- Colour graphics
- Large title at the top, centered
- Names and contact information immediately underneath the title
- University name and logo
- Four columns of text and images, with some or all of the following sections (sections with asterisks are optional):
- *System Development
- *Experimental Method
- Conclusions and Future Work
A good on-line tutorial is available to help you understand how the elements of your poster should be arranged. It can be found at: http://www.makesigns.com/tutorials/poster-design-layout.aspx