How to Create a Research Poster

Guidelines for creating an effective research poster

Celebration of Research

Celebration of Research 2022

Celebration of Research is
Northwestern College's annual poster and presentation fair.  

Save the Date!

Thursday, April 20, 2023
11am - 1pm


To learn more and view past projects, visit the Celebration of Research site.  

What is a research poster?

Posters are used widely in the academic world, and conferences often include poster presentations. Posters share information or research in a concise and attractive way to help others understand the research and to open up a discussion about the topic.

Posters usually include a mix of text, tables, graphs, images, and reference sources. 

Typically authors of the poster stand near the display to interact with visitors.  

Guidelines on fonts

Use fonts that are clear and legible; this is not the time to use "fun" or decorative fonts.  Font sizes can vary, so use these suggested sizes as guidelines.  Remember the environment you will be in and make sure your text is legible.  


  • Your title should be no more than 2 lines long
  • The title should be readable from 10 feet away
  • Capitalize the first letter of all words except short prepositions and conjunctions
  • Avoid acronyms
  • Do not use all capitals 
  • Bold these
  • Font size: about 80 point


  • Authors should be listed under the title
  • Font size: about 60 point


  • Use headings to divide up major sections, such as introduction, methods, conclusions, and the like
  • Bold
  • Font size: about 44 point

Main text

  • Font size: about 32 point


  • Font size: about 24 point


  • Font size: about 20 point

What makes a good poster?

  • Important information - such as the title - should be readable from 10 feet away; all text should be readable from 3 feet away
  • Title is short and sparks interest
  • Word count for the poster should be no more than 1,000 words 
  • Writing should be clear and concise
  • Bullets, numbers, and subheads help emphasize points and make it easier to read
  • Use 3 or 4 columns
  • Graphics and color should help readers understand the content; make sure they add to the overall content and not distract from it
  • Layout should be clean and consistent; for example, if you round the corners on one text box, do it on all of them
  • Include acknowledgments, all author names, and your institutional affiliation