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Designing your poster

Visual appeal and readability of your poster

Your poster needs to be visually appealing. You have limited time to grab your audience’s attention so lay it out in a way that utilises “white space” and keep backgrounds neutral. The design of the poster should give a logical overview of the content. It should also:

  • Have a title that clearly explains your research – usually about 20 words. Does it
    • Catch the reader’s interest? Would it make you stop walking and want to know more?
    • Does it tell you what the project is about?
    • Does it contain keywords that you want the audience to remember later?
  • Be able to be read from 1.3 metres away
  • Be image driven – you have limited space so use clear images that explain an idea or result. Make sure copyright approval is obtained and give the image a caption that explains what it is to the reader. Google images has a function under tools to select “labelled for reuse” and there are copyright free sites such as, and
  • Be well laid out and organised – use columns, sections and headings to clearly separate different sections of information and bullet points to break up text.
  • Be consistent in formatting and sizing - the title should be twice the size of regular text and the font should ideally be the same throughout - try font 40
  • Be appropriately referenced according to APA style.
  • Great tips on designing effective graphs, tables, maps, and other diagrams with The Australian Manual of Scientific Style (you can find this manual under the Science database list via QUT library).
    • If you have used tables and graphs from published sources, you will also need to cite them correctly. (see the QUT Cite|Write Guide)

What should you include in your poster?

These Powerpoint slides provide instructions on what to include in a poster, and other tips.


Karina Adcock
PhD Student in Atmospheric Chemistry
University of East Anglia (UEA)

Tips for designing a poster using Powerpoint

This is a Step by Step Guide to developing great posters using PowerPoint.