Presentation on theme: "Preparing and Presenting Posters"— Presentation transcript:
1 Preparing and Presenting Posters Carole Wilson, Ph.D.Department of PathologyBased on my own experienceandHess, G.R., K. Tosney, and L. Liegel, 2006“Creating Effective Poster Presentations”
2 An effective poster is a visual communications tool An effective poster will help you……engage others in conversation…get your major points acrossto as many people as possible
3 A good poster has three primary characteristics: FocusedImparts a single messageGraphicRelies on images and graphsOrderedSequence clear and obviousA poster is not just a research paper stuck to aboard! It uses visual grammar to show, not tell.
4 Ineffective posters most often suffer from… Hard-to-find objectivesText too small and too abundantPoor use of graphics and colorBeing overly “busy”Poor organization…but these problems are easily fixed!
5 Step 1: Write a good abstract Should be a succinct description of your workSet the context - why is the work important?Describe the objectivesBriefly explain the methodsUnless the research is about methods, this section should not be a major focus of the abstract or posterState results and conclusionsBut don’t include the abstract on the poster - it’s redundant. The poster is your abstract, in visual form
6 Step 2: Plan your poster Things to consider: What message do I want to convey?How much space will I be allotted for my poster?What format do I want to use?Multiple pieces vs.single sheetA good idea before starting: Draft layout of poster
7 Step 3: Design poster for 3 audiences People in…your fieldincludes your competitorswill automatically be attracted to your posterfields closely related to yoursneed to supply contextmay not be familiar with jargonunrelated fieldsmust clearly explain the problem and the solutionThe latter two categories are of interest to capture because they can sometimes provide interesting insights and perspectives.
8 Also consider the type of meeting Specialists only?you can use jargon and take other shortcutsbackground information already knownWide-ranging discipline?avoid jargon and keep language simpleavoid acronyms and abbreviationsVery general audience?explain in the most basic terms possible
9 Step 4: Organize poster for easy viewing Lay out in column format to allow smooth flow ofthe audience - people read English top to bottom(called “reader gravity”) and left to right
10 Don’t use a row-oriented layout This plan moves readers past your poster quicklyand it may be difficult for them to work back tothe beginning.
11 Also, use organizational cues to help readers navigate your poster Numbers, arrows, or letters
12 If your poster is easy to view, more people will read it!
13 Step 5: Use a visual hierarchy to indicate importance Title is biggest; headings next; then explanationsUse figures and graphs to make evidence obviousthese should be readable from 4 ft away
14 Step 6: Put take-home messages in large headings Headings should state the message:Instead of just “Results”, identify the results
15 Step 7: Use readable text Minimize text and make it largeTitle and major headings should bereadable at 6 ft, rest at 3 ft
16 Recommendations for text: Don’t use all capitals - hard to readUse phrases rather than full sentencesUse a serif font (e.g. Times) for most textSans serif font (e.g. Helvetica) OK for titles and headingsUse at least 24 point font for text, 36 for headingsPay attention to text size in figures - it must also be largeTitle should be at least 5 cm tallUse zoom feature of Powerpoint to test readability
17 Never, ever use a font size of 12 point or below! Useful guideline: If you print your entire poster on an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper, you should be able to read it!
18 Step 8: Let graphics dominate BIG figures that use colorUse graphs, figures, cartoons, and illustrationsAvoid using formats with keys or legends - explain directly on figure
19 Use simple two-dimensional graphs… What’s wrong withthis graph?gray background,gridlines unnecessarytoo many values on x-axisfont too smally-axis title sidewayslegend taking up spaceneed to differentiate lines by line type and color…but not straight out of Excel
21 Don’t over-emphasize text Use the space you have available
22 Step 9: Organize visually Group materialinto unitsVisually separateinto unitsKeep panels similar in shape and orientationUse color for emphasis in a consistent way
23 Recommendations for color: Use a light color background and dark color letters for contrastAvoid dark backgrounds with light color text - this is difficult and tiring to readStick to a theme of 2 or 3 colorsOverly bright colors may be attractive initially, but will wear out readers’ eyesConsider people who have problems distinguishing colorsred vs. green common
24 How colors look to people with red-green color blindness Strawberries as they appearto a person with full-color visionStrawberries as they appearto a person who cannot tell redfrom greenOne in twelve males (8%) and one in 200 females (0.5%) are red-green color blind. There will be about 10 color blind people in a room of 250!From
25 Line Drawings NO YES Make lines thicker, symbols larger Use various types of lines and symbolsAvoid separate keys. Add labels within the drawingsNOYESFrom “How to make figures and presentations that are friendly to color blind people” Masataka Okabe and Kei Ito
26 Pare down to the essentials Step 10: Discard detailsPare down to the essentialsSimplify. Provide details in person, and only as neededState your results with headings, and focus on results and conclusions
27 Step 11: Make strong conclusions Title makes a definitive statementSummary states resultsConclusions interpretresults
28 Your poster should clearly convey your take-home message Unlike this one!Large typestates methods,not resultsResultsartfully buried in amethods descriptionCarefullyomitsinterpretations
36 Step 12: Assemble and print out poster Powerpoint commonly used for making single-sheetlarge-format postersTo start:Open “New Presentation” under “File” menuGo to “Page Setup” under “File” menu and choose “Custom” under “Size”Enter desired dimensionsLimit for Powerpoint is 56 x 56 inchesFor larger posters (e.g. 72-inch width), prepare poster as 36 inches and have printed at twice the sizeTreat this page as a big slide: add text, objects, etc. just as if you were making a slide for a talk
37 Tips for adding images and graphs: Use JPEGs of images on your posterUsually small files, easy to change size without losing resolutionAvoid using images directly from the WebToo low resolutionFor graphs:after plotting data in Excel, make changes and then import as a pictureTo make any additional changes, use “ungroup” to convert to Microsoft Office drawinglabel axes and add other information directly in Powerpoint
38 Excel default settings After changing in Excel Effect of X on Y102030405070100130After changingin PowerpointConcentration of XResponseofY
39 After all material is added to poster: Go back and edit - cut, cut, cut!Have other authors (if applicable) and colleagues critique posterWhen you’re ready, submit Powerpoint file for printing at the UW - allow two days’ turnaround unless you request a rush jobWebsite:
40 The Actual Presentation Use the graphics as a basisPrepare 2 and 5 minute tours of your posterFace the audience and tell them…the context of the problem and why it’s important (Introduction)your objective and what you did (Objective and Methods)what you found (Results)what the results mean in terms of the context (Discussion)Consider having 8.5 x 11 miniatures of your poster, detailed methods, and/or reprints of papers available as handouts
43 Resources Hess, George R., Tosney, Kathryn, and Liegel, Leon. 2006 “Creating Effective Poster Presentations”Purrington, Colin. 2006“Advice on Designing Scientific Posters”Block, Steven M Do's and Don’ts of Poster Presentations. Biophys. J. 71:Briscoe, Mary Helen Preparing Scientific Illustrations: A Guide to Better Posters, Presentations, and Publications. Springer, New York.Gosling, Peter J Scientist's Guide to Poster Presentations. Kluwer Academic Press, New York.Woolsey, J.D Combating Poster Fatigue: How to Use Visual Grammar and Analysis to Effect Better Visual Communication. Trends in Neurosciences 12:
44 Poster template available as Powerpoint file from: