Poster creation guide and other resources

There exist a variety of guides to designing academic posters.

This resource provides a brief summary as well as links, below, to more descriptive resources.

Summary of best practices

Planning & preparation

  • Tailor a story for your audience
  • Consider any requirements or standards (e.g., size, colour or B&W)

Layout & content

  • Create the content and narrative before working on the poster design
    • Write all text, get the high resolution images, figures (in vector format) & spell check your text!
    • Having less can be more effective: be brief and clear
  • Determine the size of the poster
    • This impacts the amount of information that will fit
    • Which images may be suitable (sufficient resolution)
  • Provide a clear flow / organization, with breathing space
  • White space:
    • Helps to show narrative structure and provide emphasis
    • You may need blank space along edges for printing

Colour Scheme & Fonts

  • Select a consistent set of fonts and colours
    • Limit font types (2 max), and sizes, with a minimum font size of 22-24pt
    • Serif fonts are easier to read for the body, sans-serif for the title or headings
  • To ease reading: Left justify, avoid long lines of text
  • Keep contrast
    • Use faded underlays when placing text above images

Images & graphics

  • Keep figures in vector format when possible (e.g., SVG, PDF)
  • Text in figures needs to be large
  • Images need to be high resolution to not be pixelated
  • When exporting to PDF:
    • convert text to shapes
    • set DPI of images if necessary


  • Print at 100% size on correct paper size

Iterate through feedback

  • Try printing a small version to evaluate (in A4 or A3 rather than full size)
    • annotate changes and suggestions directly to page
  • Share your test print or PDF with colleagues and family for feedback


Created by Cyrille Médard de Chardon
on 2024-04-22