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LP English - Design Thinking Research Project: Academic Posters

This guide gathers together information for the LP English Research Project.

What is a Research Poster

  • An academic poster is a visual way of communicating information.
  • It needs to grab attention and convey a message in a clear and compelling way using a mixture of text and graphics.
  • Academic posters are academic, this means they should be written in a formal style and referenced.
  • Academic posters are designed so others can read and understand the information quickly.

What to Include

Your content needs to be clearly and logically laid out using headings and subheadings.

If you are reporting information you could adopt a report structure for your poster, but if you are providing a solution to a problem you may find an analytical style more appropriate.

Planning your content

Be guided by the learning outcomes and topic.

A poster needs precise and concise communication so spend time identifying your key points, be specific and use plain English, not jargon.

What information do you want to include?

What information do you want the reader of your poster to know?

Decide upon any pictures, diagrams, charts, graphs or photos that help communicate the information to the reader of your poster.

Academic posters require referencing to show evidence of your reading and research so you should always provide a reference list or bibliography.


Academic Poster Examples

What Makes a Good Poster?

  • Important information should be readable from about 3 meter away
  • Title is short and draws interest
  • Word count of about 300 to 800 words
  • Text is clear and to the point
  • Use of bullets, numbering, and headlines make it easy to read
  • Effective use of graphics, color and fonts
  • Consistent and clean layout
  • Includes references and your name 

Design and Layout

Design and layout

Once you have decided upon the content think about how are you going to arrange your information?

  • Keep referring to the purpose of your poster.
  • Choose a layout that matches its purpose. For example, think about whether you are going to choose a circular design that flows from section to section or columnar design that will be read in the same way as a newspaper for the information you want to display.
  • The reader will need to know how to read your poster so decide whether you are going to number the sections or use arrows as a guide.

Layout tips:

  • Have a clear point of entry for the reader
  • Have a logical structure. What information do you want to reader to know?
  • Avoid over-simplification and over-complication in your design. Don’t use loads of fonts and colors, make it look professional.
  •  Use space and margins to avoid overcrowding your poster

Remember that your poster must have visual impact and be clear and legible from about a metre away.


Based on a factsheet developed by the Library and Learning Services, Staffordshire University.