Powerful Poster Presentations: Concise and Pretty Text

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Picture your poster audience. Cheese cubes and crackers in one hand and a drink in the other as they casually stroll past your poster. What will make them want to stop in front of yours?

White space is one answer. If your poster is chock-full of nothing but text, your potential viewer will feel a headache coming on and move to the next poster. To make sure you have white space, you’re going to need to be concise. A general rule is that the whole poster should be able to be read from beginning to end in less than ten minutes.

To eliminate unnecessary words, concentrate on how each word works to contribute to the meaning of the sentence, and how each sentence contributes to the effectiveness of the paragraph, and finally, how each paragraph contributes to the overall purpose. As you edit, have the guts to cut.

The text not only has to be as concise as possible, but it also has to be attractive. Keep the look simple by using plain fonts. Although much debate has focused on whether serif or sans serif fonts improve readability, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest one is better than the other. We do know for certain that ALL CAPITAL LETTERS ARE MORE DIFFICULT TO READ. So use them sparingly (if at all).

The size of the text is important  for good visibility. All text should be able to be read within four feet. Here are some standard text sizes for each of the sections that work well.

85 point
56 point
36 point
Body Text
24 point
18 point

Think of text as coming in three sizes: big, medium, and small. Use these size variations to direct the viewer to the title, headings, and body text. By paying attention to the conciseness and visual attractiveness of your text, you may be able to get your viewers to put down the cheese and discover your research story.

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