Poster Design Hints

A few simple hints for designing & making a poster

We are very happy that you are taking part in the Creating Community: Learning Together afternoon conference on Sunday December 14. Some people may be new to giving a poster presentation, so here are a few tips. Although the hints may seem obvious, please take a moment to review these ideas as you begin to imagine, plan, design, and make your poster. Many of these tips apply to digital displays too.

Participants at the conference will be encouraged to visit posters/digital displays freely, and to listen, discuss, and exchange ideas with different poster presenters/digital display presenters. So, please expect people to come and go, and to interact with you. People will be moving around rather than sitting down to listen to you.

Please remember too that each presenter is responsible for hanging up and removing their poster themselves according to the conference programme (Round 1 13:00 – 14:00, Round 2 14:45 – 15:45 – see here for more details).

We recommend that you make your poster either A1 or B1 size (A1 size = 594 x 841mm, or 8 sheets of A4 paper; B1 size = 707 x 1000 mm, or 10 sheets of A4 paper). There is space for two A1 or B1 posters (one above the other) for each presenter.

Be sure to include the poster title, your name, email address, and your university or school, and make this information large enough to be read clearly from far away (2-3 metres). People will then be able to see quickly who you are, and what your presentation is about, as they move from one poster presentation/digital display to another.

White, light gray, or pastel backgrounds are fine. Use stronger colors to organize your thoughts. For example, use different colored backgrounds or borders for introductory material, data, and conclusions.

Use a big font or handwriting—at least 16 or 18 point. People will look at your poster from up to three or four feet away. If the font or handwriting is too small, it will be difficult to read.

Less is more
Remember: a poster is not just putting your paper on the wall. Please avoid making a text full of long sentences and hanging it up.
* Be selective in the information you show.
* Choose and use key points to encourage discussion.
* Use charts, and graphs with strong graphic appeal in place of tables of numbers.

Organize and inter-connect
Use numbers, arrows, or a very simple order to help people follow your poster. Create relationships between ideas, and interconnect different parts of your poster.

Putting up your poster
You can hang up your poster material on the wall with double-sided tape, magnets and/or thumb tacks depending on the wall space you use that will be provided to you in each room. We will provide tape, magnets and/or thumb tacks for each room, but please bring your own too.

If you can stick something to a poster, that is OK, but please avoid bringing too many bits and pieces to show. If items are too big, take photos. If you have too many photos, think again about what is really important to your presentation, and select.

Giveaways and handouts
A double-sided A4 sheet with contact information, the title of your presentation, and a summary is a great idea. If you want to make copies of a handout, we would suggest about 30 copies. You can also put a .pdf file online for people to download at their convenience (e.g. SlideShare).

Poster tubes
It is good to put your name on your poster carrier or tube if you use one because cases are often black and are easy to confuse.

Be ready
Be ready to present your presentation over and over again to many different people who will stop by and look at your poster. Some may stay for a few seconds and come back, some for a few minutes and move on, and others for longer. You need to be flexible in responding and talking with people during your presentation time.

When someone comes to look at your poster, one thing you can do is to wait a moment, ask how long the person has, provide him or her with a brief overview, and then see if they have questions. Then decide how to continue.

Be patient
Avoid the temptation to start talking right away. Let people read your poster a bit and think. See what questions people have and then let the discussion begin. Most people can’t read and listen to you at the same time.

Grab attention
But also think of ways to encourage people to stop at your poster, read it, and talk to you. There are other poster presentations / digital displays going on at the same time. What would make someone stop and give you their time?

Poster presentations are presentations, and practice makes perfect. Prepare in advance, and show your poster to other teachers or students, and ask for their feedback. They may have suggestions or questions that will really help you in getting ready.

Looking forward to seeing you on December 14 at Otsuma Women’s University!

Andy Barfield, Fumiko MUrase, Ken Ikeda and Stacey Vye
Creating Community: Learning Together organisers

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