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Better Research Posters

Poster Size

Common Poster Sizes 

Small 18" X 24"
Medium  24" X 36"
Large 36" X 48"

OU Printing services also has information on poster size and pricing. 



Composition and layout are crucial in design as they determine how visual elements are arranged to create a harmonious and effective communication of information.

Rule of 3rds grid 


The rule of thirds is a design principle that involves dividing a visual space into a grid. In the context of designing a research poster, the rule of thirds is important for several reasons such as visual hierarchy, balance, organization, aesthetic appeal, and emphasis.



Font size  

When creating a large format posters, the minimum point size you should use depends on the size of the poster. 

  • 18in x 24in: Title 35pt | Sub-heading 20pt | Body text 16pt 

  • 36in x 48in: Title: 75pt | Sub-Heading 45pt | Body 35pt 

Information Overload 

Two research posters side by side: one packed with text, captioned "Yikes, that's a lot to read!" The other, a user-friendly design, with the caption

One of the most common mistakes with research posters is including too much text. Many researchers fall into the trap of presenting their entire research paper on the poster, making it dense and overwhelming for viewers. A successful poster should convey key information succinctly, using concise text and visual elements to engage the audience.

There should only be a few bullet points of text; 

  • Introduction (3 sentences max).
  • Your question or why your question is worth asking.
  • Your methods.

Remember that you're presenting this so the text on your poster should only act as reference points for your pitch. 


Text Alignments 

Punchlines are great to use in the "better poster" design! If your punchline is more than 2 lines, don’t center it. Centered text is slower to read than left-aligned text.


Free Resources


  • Poster Nerd: Offers free Powerpoint templates to get you started. All templates work within the limitations of PowerPoint and have customizable colors.
  • Bio Render: A web-based tool designed for researchers to create professional scientific illustrations and figures. Free when you sign up. 
  • Unsplash: A website that provides royalty-free images for free. Users can download and use the images from Unsplash for various purposes, including personal and commercial projects, without the need for attribution.