Design Tips

  • Minimize text by omitting needless words, using simple sentence structures, and only including information that supports your primary message
  • Leave plenty of white space around visual elements
  • Use consistent styles throughout – all headings should be same font and size and all explanatory text should be same font and size. Generally, headings should be in a sans-serif font (Helvetica, Arial, Calibri), while body text can be either serif (Times New Roman, Georgia, Cambria) or sans-serif
  • Do not use more than two fonts on a single poster
  • Avoid using all caps, even for titles
  • Use dark text on a light background
  • Text and graphics should be comprehensible from about six feet away
  • Use of color makes your poster interesting, but don’t use too many different colors – PowerPoint has some built-in color themes that work well together
  • Left-justify text, do not center or full-justify
  • For images, make sure to keep them in proportion when resizing (in PowerPoint, right click on the picture and choose Size and Position – the percentages for height and width should be equal)

Tips for Graphs

  • Include descriptive titles
  • If possible, use horizontal labels for the y-axis
  • Do not use 3D graphs unless necessary for your data
  • Get rid of extraneous boxes and lines in graphs
  • When possible, place labels directly next to the graph elements instead of in a separate key
  • Be sure to use readable font sizes on graph labels – the default size is usually too small for a poster
  • Use fonts and colors that match the rest of your poster