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Poster & Presentation Support Guide: Getting Started

Typical Goals for an Academic Poster

  • Report on a project or clinical case
  • Share research results
  • Promote your work
  • Obtain feedback from colleagues
  • Fulfill a course requirement

Consider Your Venue First

Consider the sponsor and the venue for your poster or presentation. This will be helpful in determining the size, content, and expectations of the poster. Every discipline has variations. Before you make the poster, consider the following:

  • What is the judging criteria?
  • Who is the audience?
  • Any specific rules or requirements?
  • Any poster size restrictions (portrait or landscape poster orientation, eposter, etc...) 
  • Will it be present during the poster session? (active presentation or passive display)
  • What is the timeline for the presentation (2 days,2 months, 2 years?)
  • How much time do you have to make your poster?
  • Any possible transportation costs and time needed for getting it there?
  • Are you presenting the poster at other conferences if so, which one has the most stringent requirements?

These factors can help determine size, content, and save you time and money.

If you are presenting at multiple venues involving travel, you may consider printing the poster on canvas or cloth vs. paper. Easy to travel and durable.

Where Content Overlaps in Your Research Lifecycle

This image is intended to show the connectivity and overlap of certain steps of presenting your research. It also shows the value of investing time early in the process in image creation and original images to make the publishing part more seamless in terms of acceptable imagery for publication.

Some tips to take away:

  • Expanding your abstract might can be a more efficient strategy for creating an academic poster than shortening a presentation or article of your research. Reading an article on a poster defeats the purpose of in-person presentation. See "betterposter video for tips. 
  • EPS, vector, and high resolution imagery is needed for both poster printing as well as article publication. 
  • Images on academic posters generally fall under “Transformative Use” or re-purposed images for another use. Protected by fair use.
  • Be mindful of image copyright restrictions and usage guidelines for future publication consideration.
  • Transformative/Fair Use imagery is generally acceptable for internal posters and presentations, but may create major problems with copyright when needed for article publication and non-internal audience usage. Always check the fine print. 
  • If you anticipate using a picture of someone you took at anytime during your research career, use a photo release. Save yourself the hassle of having to track people down.

Need Poster Inspiration?


Poster Template Searching Tips
  • Combine [your academic discipline] or [your conference name] with "academic poster" or "academic poster template"
  • Search a social media platform using your conference or association @ account and poster template terms like:
    • #BetterPoster
    • #ButterPoster
Accessible Design Tips
  • Use high contrasting colors
  • Use patterns and textures
  • Make your design monochromatic

Tips Sheets

Need Help Finding Medical Images