OK, smarty pants. You’ve written some genius research that you’re pretty darn proud of.
So why do you feel at a loss when it comes to designing your scientific poster?
A scientific poster is an opportunity to showcase your research in an easy to communicate, visual format. But according to this, a viewer decides in about 3 seconds whether to investigate a poster or move on.
Here’s how to make those 3 seconds really count.
8 Tips for a Winning Scientific Poster
1. Keep the title catchy.
The title of your poster holds a lot of weight. Think of your poster title as a news grabbing headlines. Shorten it if possible. Make the text larger. You can always open with a shorter, catchier title, then clarify with a subtitle beneath in smaller text.
2. Define your message, then stick with it.
You might love that interesting tidbit about the history of wound care, but if it doesn’t strengthen the main idea, you’ve gotta let it go. That’s for your paper, not for your poster.
3. Avoid large amounts of text.
Even scientists glaze over if there’s too much reading to tackle. Focus on pictures, with some supporting text to help explain your data. Think eye-pleasing graphics and effective graphs.
4. White space is king.
Some say content is king, but that’s only if the eye can find it! White space is a basic design element that helps separate important sections and keeps the eye from getting overwhelmed with info overload. Embrace your white space.
5. Get another opinion.
Make a sample poster and ask a colleague or friend to give you some feedback. You know your data and results inside and out, so you might be making connections that won’t make sense to a new eye.
6. Supersize your font.
Larger font is a must so that the viewer can easily read from a few feet away. This is not the time to conduct eye exams.
7. Put the last part first.Click image to download the Cornell Center for Materials Research tips for a “Scientific Poster Design.”
The Cornell Center for Materials Research recommends laying out your poster so that the conclusion is the first thing your viewer sees. Presumably, this will pull the reader in (remember that 3 second rule). If your conclusion is interesting, they’ll want to know how you got there.
8. Anonymity is not for you.
Be sure to include your contact info. You may have sparked someone’s interest and with your brilliant results.
What are your secrets to making an eye-catching scientific poster?