Spacing arrangement and poster size

At different meetings, poster display boards may be as small as 3 ft x 3 ft (1m x 1 m) or as large or larger than 4 ft x 8 ft (1.3 m x 2.6 m). Sometimes they must be mounted horizontally on a stand or table, whereas others must stand vertically on the floor. Before attempting any layout, check written materials from the conference organizers to find out the exact dimensions that will be allowed for the display board. Section the poster into modules based on the organization of the material. Then construct the poster in such a way that sizes and shapes are roughly balanced, with no more than four or five blocks or columns on the board.

Blank space is important, too. It gives the eye a place to rest. As much as 50% of the poster should be blank, including space used to separate parts of the poster.

Table 4.4. The two most common ways of constructing scientific posters


Separate sections, each mounted on mat board or poster paper.

Single page developed with computer software (usually PowerPoint) and printed on oversized glossy paper.


Durable and attractive. Easy to modify. Pieces can be carried in a small portfolio and assembled on site.

Relatively easy to prepare. Poster can be rolled carefully and packed in a tube for transport.


Can be time-consuming to prepare. Use of too many small pieces can be distracting.

Any modifications require reprinting entire poster. Poor or inappropriate use of color or full-page graphic backgrounds distracts from the scientific communication, and can render parts of the text illegible.

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