5 Tips for Creating a Research Poster: A Guide for Scientists

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If you’re about to present your work at a scientific conference, you need an eye-catching and informative research poster. A great title and tantalizing subject matter will certainly take you far, but a killer poster can also go a long way in complementing your paper and piquing the interest of even more fellow scientists. It should spark curiosity in attendees and give you an opportunity to discuss your research in a more intimate setting. Moreover, a carefully prepared scientific poster can open the door to additional insights and associations.  

Since your writing will be on public display, scrutinized by your peers, you may want a professional to review your work. If so, reach out to our editors and proofreaders, who will carefully check your work and ensure it’s in tip-top shape. 

To learn how to create an impactful scientific research poster, follow the five tips below.

1. Pick an intriguing topic

While your research is undoubtedly complex and extensive, when it comes to creating a research poster, you should confine yourself to one topic. You have a limited amount of space, so it’s best to focus on a single component of your work that you feel you can confidently convey with visuals and small blocks of text. After all, as the age-old design mantra goes, less is more. It’s important to not overcrowd your poster—this will muddy the message and decrease the aesthetic value of the design, which is key to an effective poster.

Pick an aspect of your research that you feel will fit into a conference setting and that you can discuss at length with audience members. It should be something you can convert into a poster with relative ease and attract more attention to your work.

2. Select an appropriate layout 

Much of the success of your research poster will hinge on its layout. While PowerPoint is the default for many scientists, it’s meant for slideshows, not posters. If you want to take your poster to the next level, there are a number of excellent layout programs and design templates you can use. 

Do some research into different design programs—after all, this provides the base of your poster, so it’s not something to take lightly. Once you’ve picked a template, design your poster in a way that’s organized and cohesive. This will help audience members engage with your material. Your design should make all the information you want to present readily available, immediately projecting the image and details you want to reveal. Make sure it’s clear—your audience should be able to understand right away what they’re looking at. 

LaTeX is an example of a layout design package with a number of useful features, particularly for academic and scientific presentations. 

3. Focus on the aesthetics 

With your layout complete, you’ll want to focus on making your research poster eye-catching. Even scientific conference attendees will likely ignore a poster with dense paragraphs and few to no visuals. You have to grab their attention before you can discuss the finer details of your research. To capture the attention of audience members, you need brief descriptions with plenty of helpful graphics and images. 

The key is to add relevant visuals that complement the information on the poster—you definitely don’t want to overdo it and create something flashy. When it comes to aesthetics, it’s important not to be heavy-handed. Avoid using highly stylized fonts, gaudy colors, and writing in all caps. Your poster should look professional—besides looking tacky, a flashy one doesn’t inspire much confidence. Also, make sure the writing can be read from up to 15 feet away—this will help capture people’s attention and draw them to you. 

4. Review and refine 

The key is to strike a balance between visually appealing and meticulous and professional. Make sure all your text is polished and typo-free and any charts or diagrams are accurate and up to date. Even if your poster looks fantastic, inaccurate information, a silly typo, or an outdated graphic will bring it all crashing down.

To ensure the writing on your poster is free of errors and inconsistencies, get a colleague, a friend, or a professional proofreader to review it. The text on a research poster should be concise and easy to understand. Obviously, a professional proofreader will do the best job of ensuring your writing is polished and grammatically correct, but peers can help you identify factual inaccuracies, and friends with little or no knowledge of your field can tell you what doesn’t make sense to a general audience.

5. Engage with your audience

The purpose of presenting at a scientific conference is to engage with audience members, so make sure you’re prepared to talk at length about your work. That’s why it’s so important to choose a topic you can really dive into when interested parties come over to discuss your research.

Since a conference is a networking event, don’t be shy about distributing your contact information. You can include your email at the top of your poster and hand out business cards. This will allow people to reach out after the event, opening up more opportunities for you, your research, and your academic career. 


Your research poster is vital to your success at a scientific conference. To ensure your finished product is professional and polished, contact our academic editors and get a quote here

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