North Central College - Naperville, IL

Poster Preparation Guidelines

The main advantage to presenting your work in a poster format is that you and the symposium attendees will be able to talk with each other about your project. Posters are displayed together in one room where attendees are free to wander from poster to poster, stopping to talk with presenters when a poster interests them. For this reason, you should prepare your poster with two ideas in mind:

1) People do not really want to read a lot of text—they want some text, but mostly, they want you to tell them what you did, and

2) Because people want you to tell them what you did, you should be prepared to give a 5-minute summary of your work and be able to answer questions as well.

Your poster should be designed to be 48-inches wide by 36-inches high and will be professional printed.  Printing will be done through the North Central College Print Shop.  Detailed guidance on poster preparation can be found at  You must email a powerpoint file (.ppt or .pptx) of your poster to no later than noon, Wednesday April 29 so that we can have the posters printed for the symposium. Files must be less than 8MB.

In preparing your poster, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Content
    • Minimize the amount of text. It helps to use bullets to highlight the main points you want people to know rather than to provide text in paragraph form
    • Make sure you have a banner or title slide that includes the title of your poster, the authors (NOT just those presenting), your faculty supervisor, and your departmental affiliation (e.g., History)
    • Begin with a slide stating the main objective or goal of your project
    • Include a very brief introduction in which you state the assumptions made in conducting your project, findings of previous research that influenced your project, or any other information that would be helpful for your audience to know before they learn about your project.
    • Clearly describe the method used to conduct your research. If applicable, include clear statements of the hypotheses tested.
    • Describe the main findings or outcomes of your project. Did you meet the objective you stated at the outset? Did your findings support your hypotheses? Be succinct in stating these points. Whenever possible, use pictures, tables and/or graphs to illustrate your findings.
    • Tell your audience why you think the outcome of your project is significant, what sort of applications it might have, ideas you have for improving upon or expanding on the project.
    • Include a bibliography or references slide.
  • Formatting your poster
    • Use a large font (at least 18 point) that is easy to read. It is easier for people to read fonts such as Times, Courier, Aerial, etc. You may want to use a bold font but do not use all capitals as this makes it more difficult for people to read the text.
    • Label each section of your report, e.g., Objectives, Background, Findings, etc.
    • Use simple language and minimize jargon whenever possible
    • Be brief—remember, bullet points are an excellent way to present major points
    • Print your pages on white paper or use a color that is muted. Reserve brighter colors for paper that is used to frame or accent the main pages.
    • Do not use color or use it sparingly in text. DO use color in charts and graphs.
    • Order your pages by starting with the first slide at the top of the left panel, moving down the left panel and then back up to the top of the middle panel, down that panel, etc. This is so that two people reading your poster do not have to move back and forth in front of each other as they read.

Examples of posters from previous Rall Symposiums: