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Preparing and Presenting Posters

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Presentation on theme: "Preparing and Presenting Posters"— Presentation transcript:

1 Preparing and Presenting Posters
Carole Wilson, Ph.D. Department of Pathology Based on my own experience and Hess, 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 across to as many people as possible

3 A good poster has three primary characteristics:
Focused Imparts a single message Graphic Relies on images and graphs Ordered Sequence clear and obvious A poster is not just a research paper stuck to a board! It uses visual grammar to show, not tell.

4 Ineffective posters most often suffer from…
Hard-to-find objectives Text too small and too abundant Poor use of graphics and color Being overly “busy” Poor organization …but these problems are easily fixed!

5 Step 1: Write a good abstract
Should be a succinct description of your work Set the context - why is the work important? Describe the objectives Briefly explain the methods Unless the research is about methods, this section should not be a major focus of the abstract or poster State results and conclusions But 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 sheet A good idea before starting: Draft layout of poster

7 Step 3: Design poster for 3 audiences
People in… your field includes your competitors will automatically be attracted to your poster fields closely related to yours need to supply context may not be familiar with jargon unrelated fields must clearly explain the problem and the solution The 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 shortcuts background information already known Wide-ranging discipline? avoid jargon and keep language simple avoid acronyms and abbreviations Very 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 of the 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 quickly and it may be difficult for them to work back to the 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 explanations Use figures and graphs to make evidence obvious these 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 large Title and major headings should be readable at 6 ft, rest at 3 ft

16 Recommendations for text:
Don’t use all capitals - hard to read Use phrases rather than full sentences Use a serif font (e.g. Times) for most text Sans serif font (e.g. Helvetica) OK for titles and headings Use at least 24 point font for text, 36 for headings Pay attention to text size in figures - it must also be large Title should be at least 5 cm tall Use 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 color Use graphs, figures, cartoons, and illustrations Avoid using formats with keys or legends - explain directly on figure

19 Use simple two-dimensional graphs…
What’s wrong with this graph? gray background, gridlines unnecessary too many values on x-axis font too small y-axis title sideways legend taking up space need to differentiate lines by line type and color …but not straight out of Excel

20 Use simple two-dimensional graphs

21 Don’t over-emphasize text
Use the space you have available

22 Step 9: Organize visually
Group material into units Visually separate into units Keep panels similar in shape and orientation Use color for emphasis in a consistent way

23 Recommendations for color:
Use a light color background and dark color letters for contrast Avoid dark backgrounds with light color text - this is difficult and tiring to read Stick to a theme of 2 or 3 colors Overly bright colors may be attractive initially, but will wear out readers’ eyes Consider people who have problems distinguishing colors red vs. green common

24 How colors look to people with red-green color blindness
Strawberries as they appear to a person with full-color vision Strawberries as they appear to a person who cannot tell red from green One 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 symbols Avoid separate keys. Add labels within the drawings NO YES From “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 details Pare down to the essentials Simplify. Provide details in person, and only as needed State your results with headings, and focus on results and conclusions

27 Step 11: Make strong conclusions
Title makes a definitive statement Summary states results Conclusions interpret results

28 Your poster should clearly convey your take-home message
Unlike this one! Large type states methods, not results Results artfully buried in a methods description Carefully omits interpretations

29 Poster Examples Too much white space

30 Poster Examples

31 Poster Examples

32 Poster Examples

33 Poster Examples Before

34 Poster Examples After

35 Poster Examples

36 Step 12: Assemble and print out poster
Powerpoint commonly used for making single-sheet large-format posters To start: Open “New Presentation” under “File” menu Go to “Page Setup” under “File” menu and choose “Custom” under “Size” Enter desired dimensions Limit for Powerpoint is 56 x 56 inches For larger posters (e.g. 72-inch width), prepare poster as 36 inches and have printed at twice the size Treat 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 poster Usually small files, easy to change size without losing resolution Avoid using images directly from the Web Too low resolution For graphs: after plotting data in Excel, make changes and then import as a picture To make any additional changes, use “ungroup” to convert to Microsoft Office drawing label axes and add other information directly in Powerpoint

38 Excel default settings After changing in Excel
Effect of X on Y 10 20 30 40 50 70 100 130 After changing in Powerpoint Concentration of X Response of Y

39 After all material is added to poster:
Go back and edit - cut, cut, cut! Have other authors (if applicable) and colleagues critique poster When you’re ready, submit Powerpoint file for printing at the UW - allow two days’ turnaround unless you request a rush job Website:

40 The Actual Presentation
Use the graphics as a basis Prepare 2 and 5 minute tours of your poster Face 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

41 Effect of Colour Coordination of Attire with Poster
Presentation on Poster Popularity Keegan, D. A. et al. CMAJ 2003;169: Fig. 1: Study presenter in lavender-coloured blouse (chosen to coordinate with poster colour) and in rust-coloured blouse (chosen to clash with poster) Copyright ©2003 Canadian Medical Association or its licensors

42 Keegan, D. A. et al. CMAJ 2003;169: Copyright ©2003 Canadian Medical Association or its licensors

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:

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