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Create an Academic Poster


  • Contrast is essential for readability; use simple colour, boxes and lines. A contrast ratio of at least 7:1 is ideal. Use a contrast checker such as WebAIM to ensure your content is readable.
  • It’s easier to read dark text on a light background, and you might find that this prints more clearly as well.
  • Avoid neon colours and gradients.
  • Use neutral background images and colours that don’t detract from the text content.



  • Maximize space for content by leaving only 1 cm (or 0.5”) borders.
  • Use white space to help define points and make your poster more readable.
  • Use pictures or diagrams to make your points instead of text when appropriate.
  • Use bullets instead of full sentences to shorten your text and create space between points.


  • Use one, or a maximum of two, typefaces. Use Sans Serif typefaces for smaller body text because they are easier to read.
  • Choose suitable font sizes for each poster section (see suggested ranges below) and use them consistently.
  • If you use bold, italics, or underlining, use them consistently.
  • Check if the conference or event has specific guidelines for formatting posters and follow them.

Suggested ranges for font sizes of different poster sections:

  • Poster title: 100-120 pts. (bold recommended).
  • Author name(s): 60-90 pts.
  • Institution name(s): 40-60 pts.
  • Headings: 40-60 pts.
  • Body text: 28-32 pts.
  • Figure captions: 18 pts.

Resources to help with poster design

These resources provide

  • recommendations to consider when creating a poster
  • downloadable preformatted templates in PowerPoint to start creating your poster
  • tips to save you time and money to create a quality final product

Video: Dos and Don'ts of designing a posteHandout: Academic Poster TemplatesHandout: How to create a poster

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