Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research at the University of Maryland

Creating a Research Poster

The presentation below provides an introduction to designing and printing a research poster. The presentation is targeted towards students in the humanities and social sciences, but provides some general tips and best practices for research poster design for all disciplines. Special focus is placed on designing posters for MCUR's Undergraduate Research Day which is held annually in late April on the University of Maryland campus.

PDF of Designing Humanities Poster Designing a Humanities/Social Sciences Research Poster
(PDF of slides)


Resources for Creating a Research Poster

Adapted from the University of Nevada (Reno) Libraries Poster Resources and Design Tips

A Good Poster Will

  • Summarize your work
  • Convey a message visually
  • Be readable from about 4 feet away
  • Be clearly organized

Poster Design Tips

  • Use large text (your text should be at least 18-24 pt.)
  • Do not use more than 2-3 font styles total
  • Use fonts that are easy to read
  • Avoid too much text (no more than 800 words max)
  • Organize your content with columns, sections, headings, and blocks of text
  • Choose a title that illustrates what your poster is about. Your title should be at least twice the size of your regular text.
  • Choose colors carefully and pay attention to contrast. If in doubt, dark print on light background is best.
  • Selectively incorporate charts, graphs, photographs, and other graphics that support the theme of your poster
  • Avoid fuzzy images; make sure all graphics are high-resolution and easily visible
  • Include your name on your poster and the UMD logo
  • Edit your poster carefully before the final print-out

Templates and Logos

Examples of Posters

Sample Humanities Poster by Elizabeth Tobey

Sample Humanities Poster by Elizabeth Tobey, "The Festival of St. John the Baptist in Renaissance Florence,"
36 x 48 inches, landscape layout

Poster Preparation Resources and Articles

Poster Preparation Online Tutorials, Workshop Slides, and Web Conferences

  • Designing a Poster, online tutorial, University of Leicester (UK) (20-minute free online tutorial which takes you step-by-step through the process of poster design)
  • InDesign CS5.5: Creating Poster Sessions, Mississippi State University Library (Step-by-step webcast on creating a poster in Adobe InDesign. InDesign is a popular design software)
  • PowerPoint Slides from 2014 Poster Design workshop.
  • So Your Poster Got Accepted-Now What?, Screencast presentation by Tracy Volz (Rice University), April 11, 2012, National Library of Medicine Training Center/National Network of Libraries of Medicine. The screencast has be taken down, but the handouts are still available:
    Poster Checklist
    Presenting your Poster

Check your Poster

  • After you have created your poster, review it using the checklist created by the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium. Look for the link under Tips for designing your poster on the University of Washington Undergraduate Research Program site
  • Poster Checklist, Tracy Volz, from "So Your Poster Got Accepted-Now What?," NLMTC/NNLM website

Print your Poster

  • The Engineering Copy Center on campus prints posters (cost around $40) and has a 24-hour turnaround time.
  • There are two posters printer on the 2nd floor of McKeldin Library in the Learning Commons. One of the printers can print out posters of the 36 x 48 inch dimensions that are required for Undergraduate Research Day (cost around $40).
Maryland Center for Undergrauate Research at the Uniersity of Maryland

Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research
Phone: 301-314-6786  |  Email:
1201 Marie Mount Hall, University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
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