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CHEM 4310 - Instrumental Analysis - Sebree


There are many software programs for creating posters. Check with your program to determine preferences or if they have a template. Note that some programs may offer extra features, storage, etc. if you use your .edu email address.


Triple check spelling, grammar and punctuation before printing. It should be reviewed/approved by your advisor/mentor. More reviews are better. Check with your faculty member for printing procedure.

Sample Poster (sciences)

The template below shows typical section arrangement for a poster in the sciences.


UNI Undergraduate Student Work (all disciplines):

Examples and poster presentation videos:

Poster Sample

Poster Content

  • INCLUDEfunding source, scholarly references, image citations, dept. name, and other specifications provided by your dept. and/or funding agency.
  • MINIMALISM: Minimize text - use a combination of text and images. Keep text elements to 50 words or fewer. Use phrases and bullet points rather than full sentences. Don't try to be comprehensive like you would in a paper--just give highlights. If posters will be available for viewing for many weeks or months, it may be acceptable to have a larger amount of text.
  • LANGUAGE: Use plain language. Avoid jargon and acronyms unless you're really positive your audience will understand. Check with an advisor about using 1st-person (I/me we/us); in some venues 1st-person is discouraged as a way to help objectivity.
  • HEADER: Title should be informative and interesting. Include authors' names in order determined by researchers, with institutional affiliations.
    • Some departments  may require UNI LOGO to be included, usually in in the upper left corner of the header; Programs, departments, and funding agencies (such as Iowa Space Grant) may require their logos be included, usually in header or acknowledgment. See Logos for Download box.
  • CITATIONS: Cite any information and images that aren't common knowledge in the field. Not sure? Ask an advisor. It's better to cite too much than not enough. Format according to 

Visual Elements/Graphics

  • FONT: Use a standard, simple font such as Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial. Use large font & make section headings bold and/or a bit larger. Stay consistent – double check that all headings (30-34pt), body text (22-28pt), and graph and photo captions (18pt) are the same.

  • JUSTIFY: Left-justify text; avoid centering and right-justifying text. Check that lines don't break in the middle of words.

  • COLOR: Dark text on light background is best. It is easiest to read and uses less ink when printing.

  • FIGURES: Try to keep tables, graphs, and other images 4x6 or larger. Be sure to caption each image. Include image source using citation style conventions (see Citing Sources box).

  • ARRANGEMENT: Standard arrangement is boxes in columns followed top to bottom and left to right. See examples provided.
  • BALANCE: Have a good visual balance of figures and text, separated by ample white space. Balance occurs when images and text are mirrored (at least approximately) across a central horizontal, vertical, or diagonal axis. Symmetry is key.


            • PRESENT: Poster presentations are a conversation between the presenter and attendees who stop by your poster. Usually the presenter shares a very short summary and attendees ask questions. 

            • PREPARE: Be ready to give a very short (1-2 minute) summary of your research to attendees. Use notecards if necessary but it's best to practice enough that you don't need them; it's nice to have your hands free to gesture to relevant sections of your poster as you talk. Prepare responses to questions attendees are likely to ask.

            • PRACTICE: Do a practice run with friends, classmates, and/or advisors. They can help you predict some questions attendees might ask.

            • WEAR: Professional attire is usually recommended. Be comfortable yet professional. Minimize jewelery, makeup, and perfume/cologne/other scented products. Specific conferences/programs may have specific attire trends, and it's always fine to ask what's acceptable.

            • MORE TIPS: For tips including video examples, see this guide.


            Citing Sources

            Be sure to cite your sources, both in-text and in a bibliography box on your poster. You also need to cite any images/charts you reproduced. If you created images/charts using data from a source, cite that source. Need help? Ask a librarian!