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Poster Presentations

Tips for Creating Effective Poster Presentations


  • Although it is general practice to attend to your posters during a conference, the best posters are self-contained and self-explanatory. Observers should be able to understand your poster if you are not present.
  • Unlike oral presentations, posters allow presenters to engage in intimate conversations with observers. Posters also allow observers to lead the pace of the discussion rather than the presenter.
  • Good posters have enough text to tell the story, but not so much text that it alienates the observer. Figures are often more effective in facilitating a discussion compared to large blocks of text.


  • Poster boards for the York Summer Research Program are 48 inches wide and 36 inches high.
  • Because you might have several observers trying to view your poster at once, it is best to organize the information in columns from left to right. This way, observers won't have to cross in front of each other while reading.
  • The templates provided have four columns. Group logically consistent sections into columns using muted background colors or shades of gray. Poster ink is extremely expensive so, avoid dark backgrounds or patterns. Avoid printing on high gloss paper as well to reduce the time and cost of printing. Most poster printers will print a single sheet that can be transported using a poster tube.


  • Provide the title, a list of authors, the author affiliations, and the presentation number of your poster (if applicable) using lettering that measures at least one-inch high.


  • Because observers will be viewing your poster from a distance, figures and text should be legible from 5 feet. Use high contrast colors on muted backgrounds and avoid red-green color combinations, which are difficult for the color blind to read.
  • Figures should be designed to convey one major point, but they may also include levels of detail for those interested in learning more than the highlights. Include figures for all relevant aspects of the research, but avoid unnecessary figures that convey little or redundant information.


  • Each major section, figure, or table should be labeled with a brief heading that either describes a major section (e.g., "Methods") or the overall message of the section (e.g., "Figure 1: Caffeine intake affects reaction times").
  • The body of the text should use a large type that is viewable from 5 feet. Paragraphs should be aligned to the left and unjustified (ragged right margins). Judicious use of numbered or bulleted lists makes the poster easy to read and ensures that major sections are succinct.

On the day of the presentation

  • Arrive at the poster session at least 15 minutes before your designated timeslot to be sure you have enough time to assemble the poster. Leave the posters up for the duration of your assigned timeslot. If you have been assigned a theme or presentation number, be sure to set up your poster at the assigned poster board. It is your responsibility to provide pushpins or binder clips to secure your poster. Do not use tape to secure posters to the poster board.
  • If you have been assigned a presentation hour, presenting authors are required to attend their posters during the assigned timeslot. You may elect to have additional presenters stand by the poster at any other time. Presenters may elect to have 8.5 x 11" copies of their posters available to the public when they are away from their posters.
  • Please remove materials at the end of the session and return any materials you may have borrowed (e.g., pushpins, poster boards, easels, poster tubes). Posters should be returned to the mentors, but they may elect to pass them along to the presenters.

Additional Resources

  • Poster printing requests may be submitted directly to the York College print shop or to the printing coordinator in your department. Additional requests for printing may be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Research (x2813).
  • York College Poster Template (PPTX)