The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
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Design

Software
Page Setup
Graphics
Text Format
Colors
White Space

Software

Students commonly use Microsoft PowerPoint to design posters. If you want a more sophisticated program, you can try Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop.

Page Setup

Before you begin poster layout, make sure that the page size is the same as your final print size. To change the page size in Microsoft PowerPoint, go to “File” and select “Page Setup.” The event where you are presenting may specify poster dimensions, but generally, dimensions are 46-50’‘x40’‘

Graphics


Using visual aids such as images, charts, graphs, timelines, and diagrams is a great way to make your poster less text-heavy and more visually appealing. Make sure your graphics are simple, consistent in scale, properly labeled, and legible from at least three feet away.
Avoid using tables of data. Instead, use the data to create a chart or graph.



The graphs above have labeled axes with units of measurement, a legend, a title, and use consistent colors for % Difference

Photos

Any photo added to a poster should be at least 300ppi. Students should not simply copy and paste photos from the web. Website photos are typically 72ppi and will turn out fuzzy when they are printed.

Text Format

Do not use more than two fonts on your poster. The most legible are serif fonts, such as Times New Roman and Garamond, and sans serif fonts, such as Arial. The minimum text size for a poster is 16 pt. Headings should be between 30 and 60 pt, and the poster title should be over 72 pt.

Do not OVERUSE CAPITAL LETTERS or underlining because it makes text more difficult to read. Use bold or italicized type sparingly to emphasize certain text.

Colors

Use a light color for the background and a dark color for text. Avoid distracting viewers with patterns or complex images in the background. When using multiple colors to add emphasis, be consistent. Viewers tend to look for a pattern in a series of colors rather than absorb the information. Avoid bright or clashing colors that will exhaust the viewers’ eyes.

When using color to create contrast, remember that some people cannot distinguish between certain colors, such as red and green.

Notice in this poster that there is red text on a green background, which is difficult to read for those who are color-blind.
It is difficult to read black text on a dark background.

White Space

Divide the sections of your poster logically by using empty, white space. If there is too much information to fit in white space, either take out some information or summarize the information more concisely.

This poster does not have enough white space.