Poster Design

A good poster will:

  • Meet the guidelines for the specific event
  • Match the audience knowledge base and interests
  • Focus your message – what is the one thing you want people to remember?
  • Convey your message visually
  • Be readable from about 4 - 6 feet away
  • Be clearly organized

Find previous UROP and other undergraduate posters here. For more examples and assistance with creating your poster attend one of our workshops or follow this presentation.

Poster Content

Posters typically include many of the sections listed below:

  • Title
  • Collaborators (including you) and their institutional affiliations
  • Abstract
  • Background/literature review
  • Research question/s
  • Materials, approach, process, or methods
  • Results/conclusion (in humanities: main argument, insight, and significance of work)
  • Future directions, especially if this is a work in progress
  • Acknowledgments
  • Contact information
Helpful Design Tips

Most students use Microsoft PowerPoint to design posters. Be sure to begin by setting the page size to your final poster size. More sophisticated programs such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop are other design options.


  • Use large text (your text should be at least 18-24 pt; headings 30-60 pt; title >72pt.)
  • Do not use more than 2-3 font styles total
  • Use fonts that are easy to read (such as Times New Roman, Garamond, and Arial)


  • Avoid jagged edges: left-justify text within text boxes or fully justify blocks of text
  • Avoid too much text (no more than 800 words max) and undefined technical jargon (depending upon your potential audience)
  • Organize and align your content with columns, sections, headings, and blocks of text


  • Choose colors carefully and pay attention to contrast. If in doubt, dark print on light background is best. Remember – some colorblind people cannot distinguish between red and green.


  • White space is important to increase visual appeal and readability (this is the “empty” space between sections, columns, headings, blocks of text, and graphics).
  • Selectively incorporate charts, graphs, photographs, key quotations from primary sources, maps, and other graphics that support the theme of your poster. It is best to avoid using tables of data.
  • Avoid fuzzy images; make sure all graphics are high-resolution (at least 300ppi) and easily visible


  • Edit your poster carefully for typographic or grammatical mistakes and image quality before the final print-out (use the print-preview function)


Poster Size

Check the specific requirements for the conference you are presenting at. For the Undergraduate Research Symposium, it should be close to 42 in wide and 36 in tall.

Poster Templates
Poster Printing

There are many outlets to print your poster, check with your research mentor to see where they recommend.

  • The University of Minnesota imaging center is happy to help you out with poster printing.
  • Contact Alex Cramer ([email protected]) or Gregg Amundson ([email protected]) for specific printing help with the following programs:
    • ASCB (American Society Cell Biology)
    • SfN (Society for Neuroscience)
    • ITN (Institute for Translational Neuroscience)
    • UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program)
    • LSSURP (Life Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Program)