Academic posters: my very first experience

I might be rushing into this, but I am just extremely eager to share my experiences of creating a poster right now until they are fresh and accompanied with a mild headache. I did spend the last 2 weeks thinking about my poster for the Agency Conference taking place in Cambridge in June. However, the last few hours I have actually been working on making it work onto paper (computer screen, to be precise). Even though I was warned that making a poster is not easy, especially when doing it for the first time, I was secretly hoping that I would not find it very difficult… Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic experience in terms of thinking about your research and its parts a 100 words at a time, but it does bring some degree of discomfort because of the limited space and nature of the poster presentation. On the bright side, I have a layout which I like and text in the boxes that still needs editing but things are coming into shape.

Let’s have a look into what I did to get this far:

I allowed myself to have a good think about it in the past couple of weeks – what are the things that I would like to include as text, pictures, talk accompanying the poster. This was helpful in terms of letting the ideas mature in my head before I actually start with the design.

I did some research into designing academic posters – I looked through the handouts from a workshop I attended and flicked through Vitae’s web gallery just to get an idea of what other people had previously done and what my poster could look like.

My research is not terribly exciting in terms of graphics so I had to think of a way to break any big chunks of text to make it readable and attractive.

I played a little with the layout and colour schemes just to get a feel of what I can do and to make the whole process easier for myself. It’s kind of hard to start working on a poster while staring at a blank white screen.

Having said that, my next steps are:

  1. Work on the content and reduce the word count to 300-400 words.
  2. Check the resolution of the pictures I am planning to use – are they still going to look good when enlarged by 400%?
  3. Get feedback from a fellow student regarding design, attractiveness, readability, making sense to someone else…

I’m off to rewrite the content 🙂


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