Design & Design Principles
4. Writing Content for Your Poster: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
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Depending on the size of your conference/symposium, your poster will be among many presented so it is imperative to have a poster presentation that grabs attention1.
Start your process by coming up with a few key points that are essential to your research. There is no need to overstate the details of your research; less is more. Instead, you want to give brief background and summarize what you have been working on. Remember, your poster should open up a dialogue with the viewer and include only what is absolutely necessary. If you go overboard with the unnecessary details, no one will stick around to read your poster, and the ones that do will have no reason to start a conversation with you.
Good layout and flow is accomplished using adequate white space around your text. This makes the poster easier to read less cluttered. Short and to the point blocks of content are easier to read than enormous, drawn-out paragraphs.
Be sure to include clear and concise data that supports your text.
There are five questions your poster should answer:
- What is my poster presentation about?
- Why am doing this and what do I hope to add to this field of research?
- What were the methods I used?
- What conclusion did I come to from the data I collected?
- What are my recommendations based on this research?
Your poster presentation should follow a path that leads anyone reading from section to section. A reader should start in the upper left corner of the poster presentation and work their way to the bottom of the poster then left to right adding new columns as they need them. Refer back to our "Anatomy of a Poster" section or the image (on the right).