We want to challenge you creatively to think about how to use the time-old poster presentation format for communicating your work. This is why at this year’s IMC there will be a poster competition. It will be the first time that such a competition is organised at an IMC. All posters will be entered automatically into this competition for the title of the ‘2016 best poster award’. Listed below are some of our tips for designing a poster. The jury will assess the posters on the basis of these properties in addition to their overall contents.
Design tips and assessment criteria for the best poster award
What makes a poster a good poster presentation is often considered to be subject to personal taste and tradition. However, there are a few ‘best practises’ when it comes to designing a poster. Here is our Top-5 of tips that you may consider when designing your poster.
Poster should be readable from a distance, especially when multiple people are admiring your work at the same time. Adjust your design accordingly. For example, your title needs to leave an impact, so think big. Use smaller font sizes than the regular text for the administrative sections, such as acknowledgments, references and affiliations. Here is our top tip to check the readability of your poster: print your A0-sized poster on an A4-sized sheet of paper, all text should be readable at this scale.
2. Text and word count
A poster is a presentation form; think of it as an illustrated abstract. It is by no means meant to be the equivalent of a full paper printed on an A0 sheet. The optimum word count for a poster lies around 500-600 words. Your challenge is to design a poster that has enough information for a reader to enjoy your work without needing you there (e.g. when looking at it when you are away on a coffee break), while you can also use it to illustrate and discuss your work when interacting with someone directly during the poster session.
3. Structure and layout
Help your audience using a recognisable structure and flow of the story. For example, apply numbering to your sections or be creative in using colours or other means that show the connectivity of the text on the poster. Condense your information into powerful phrases; use bulleted lists as opposed to lengthy sentences. Pay attention to aligning your text and figures and leave some breathing space around your text and figures to make sure the poster doesn’t look cluttered.
When including figures on a poster, note that a graph for a poster needs to be more robust and readable than the ones you design for your conference paper. It’s comparable to the readability of the poster with respect to font sizes. If you can’t read the graph at the scale of an A4 print, it won’t draw attention on a poster. Also, figures need to be self-explanatory. If you are not standing near your poster, a reader should be able to make out what the figure conveys.
5. Creativity and interactivity
Go wild, be creative; make your poster stand out amongst the many others. However, try to be methodical about this. Avoid too many colours; three tops. Think of contrast; dark-coloured letters on a light background are easier to read than light-coloured letters on a dark background. Also, TEXT IN CAPITALS is less-easy to read than normal font. And if you want to, make your poster interactive using e.g. anaglyph images and a pair of 3D-glasses or include QR-tags for directing readers with their smartphone to online content such as a video, a website or your email address.
Please note the maximum poster size:
- A0 format, 1189 x 841 mm
- Portrait orientation, i.e. oriented vertically
Note that only this format can be accommodated on the poster boards at the conference venue.
Disclaimer: The jury comprises of Sebastiaan de Vet (chair) and two additional members of the LOC and SOC, all of whom who are naturally excluded from winning the award. Please note that the jury’s decision is final and not open to discussion.