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How to Create a Research Poster

Guidelines, tutorials, and templates for designing and printing your research poster

Design Software

Adobe Illustrator or InDesign: Feature-rich professional software that creates the highest-quality posters. Best for posters with several high-resolution images, but software is more complex. Software available on select computers in the 24/7 lab classroom.

Microsoft PowerPoint or Publisher: Popular options that are familiar to most people. Create good quality for professional presentations.  (Advice for creating a poster with PowerPoint).

Open Source Alternatives: OpenOffice in the free alternative to MS Office (Impress is its PowerPoint alternative). Inkscape and Gimp are alternatives to Adobe products. For charts and diagrams try Gliffy or Lovely Charts. A complete list of free graphics software. While these options are free, the library is unable to provide support on how to use them!

Design Software Tutorials

InDesign is the optimal software for designing things for printing. Below you will find recordings of workshops for using InDesign from Fant Library staff. For assistance with InDesign, contact us!

PowerPoint is also useful for designing multimedia publications for print. Small issues, like alignment, image re-sizing, and color accuracy have occurred when printing with a PowerPoint file. These can be minimized (though not always eliminated) by saving your file as a PDF before printing.

Like Powerpoint, Publisher is also suitable for designing printable publications. Also like PowerPoint, small issues, (e.g. alignment, image re-sizing, and color accuracy) have occurred when printing with a Publisher file. These can be minimized (though not always eliminated) by saving your file as a PDF before printing.

Canva is a free(mium), browser-based graphic design software that uses templates. Fant Library staff have created a template for research posters, which is available using the link below. To use this template, please make a copy before making changes. 

YouTube tutorial on making posters in Canva (PhD and Productivity)

Poster Templates

Templates of Research Posters for PowerPoint, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign

Below are files for downloading and adjusting with your own content, design, etc. Be sure your computer has the size and program requirements for each file before opening.

Note: InDesign is the optimal software for designing media to be printed. While these other templates are also suitable, they may contain small issues with printing (e.g. alignment, color accuracy, image sizing).

Examples of Research Posters

Example of a well-designed research poster

Image credit: Poster Session Tips by mousejockey@psu.edu

Example of a poorly-designed poster

Image Credit: Critique by Better Posters

Alternative Poster Designs

Mike Morrison, a psychology PhD student, describes how to design an eye-catching alternative to traditional poster designs.