Make award winning posters

Just in time for AAS, Jason Wright at Penn State recently posted a fantastic article on his blog with tips on how to make an effective poster. The tips come from his postdoc Ming Zhao, who recently won third place in the  Penn State Postdoc Research Exhibition with a poster on “Studying the Atmospheres of Alien Worlds in Extreme Environments”.

Click through for the details. But if you’re on a tight deadline and need some quick tips, here are some of the highlights from the article:

  • A poster is a visual representation of your abstract. Don’t make it a wall of text. Do make it easy to scan in a few minutes.
  • Keep it simple and clear! In a poster, less is definitely more. If they want more, they can go read the paper. Or, better yet, talk to you!
  • Skip a written abstract. The poster is the abstract.
  • Use short sentences for section headings. “Results” isn’t informative, “No evidence of cheese on moon” is.
  • Keep the background simple: single tone or gradient. Anything else distracts from your amazing results.
  • If possible, use a few simple figures in place of many words. The result should jump out, don’t make your visitor work for it.
  • Speaking of figures, take the time to make them high-resolution. Your visitors will thank you for it.
  • Choose a few colors throughout to guide the reader–and don’t forget that many of us are red-green color blind!
Read the full article here!


1 comment… add one
  • Ryan Wyatt Dec 27, 2013 @ 11:47

    Thanks for mentioning the color-blind thing! The simplest trick, FYI, is to transform your image or poster to greyscale and see if it still reads clearly. If you’re feeling more ambitious, look for resources such as Paul Tol’s page, where he offers up palettes for IDL, gnuplot, and python:

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