Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
English for EngineersUnderstanding assessed tasks

Poster Presentations

Posters have become an increasingly popular means of communicating research findings. However, at conferences there are often a large number of posters on display, so you need to ensure that yours is well-designed to attract, and hold, other people’s attention.

Design features

Here are some of the most important design features that you need to consider:


For a well-designed poster
Choose a large font size and a title that doesn’t take up too much space. People should be able to read it as they walk past approximately 2 metres away – hopefully they will stop and look at the whole poster.
Contents and Headings
Limit content to key information that you need to convey.
Have clear headings for each section.
All text must be big enough to be read from at least one metre and should be in a simple font that is easy to read.
Choose pictures which help the reader understand your research.
Add captions to explain the relevance of the pictures.
Ensure pictures are large enough and that the quality is still good if they are enlarged for the poster.
Diagrams and Tables Use diagrams which help to explain your research.
Ensure all lines are thick enough, and labels are in a font big enough to be read from at least one metre.

Think carefully before including tables; all words and numbers must be big enough to be read from at least one metre, so you should consider if this is a good use of space. Would a summary of your results be better?
Overall design: layout and colour


Leave plenty of unfilled space so that your poster doesn’t appear cluttered and looks attractive to read.

Ensure the sections of text and illustrations are set out logically, so that it is clear which part should be read next. Numbering sections may be helpful.

If you are using colour, ensure that text will stand out clearly against any background colour and that pictures, diagrams, text and background colours are well-matched. The overall effect should be attractive and clear.
Accuracy Pay attention to detail. Lack of consistency in, for example, font sizes or the size of gaps between sections, creates a bad impression.
Make sure you acknowledge all sources you have used, whether these are written or are images.
Your contact information  You must include this. Your poster is useless if people who are interested in your research cannot contact you. (At a conference, you may not be able to stand by your poster all the time.)

What participants want

According to Silyn-Roberts, (2000:153) conference participants like the following features in a poster:


Further reading

Silyn-Roberts, 2000, Writing for Science and Engineering: Papers, Presentations and Reports. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann


Posters are all about conveying messages

Privacy Settings