Standing out from the crowd: how to design an outstanding poster

Standing out from the crowd: how to design an outstanding poster

Picture this: your poster session is about to begin. Your poster is up – along with a hundred other posters – in a big, noisy room. Your fellow scientists walk in after sitting through yet another session of talks. They are already tired and saturated; their attention levels will wane after they have looked at a few posters. But you need them to be alert and fully engaged while you are presenting your poster. You probably want feedback on the manuscript you’re preparing or you want to showcase your skills to a potential future advisor or collaborator. If you want to get the best out of a poster session, you, as the presenter, and your poster need to stand out from the crowd. Viewing a poster session is like visiting an art museum; visitors are bound to feel saturated at some point, and no longer able to appreciate the paintings on display. So, your poster should be like a Caravaggio painting: eye-catching, engaging, and it draws the viewers closer – no matter how tired they are – because they want to see the details.

If you are a graduate student in the middle of your PhD training, or a seasoned postdoc, you will, most certainly, get the chance to present a poster at a meeting. Posters are one of the commonest means through which you will communicate your results to the scientific community, especially early in your career; and like preparing a manuscript or giving a talk, making a standout poster is a skill that can be polished and honed to get the best return on your effort. But the work doesn’t end with printing the poster. You also need to practice how to showcase your results, using your poster as a visual aid.

The FEBS Journal’s latest instalment of the Words of Advice series features the art of designing an outstanding poster that will help you get the most out of your meeting. Get all the details here:

Gemayel, R. (2018) How to design an outstanding poster. FEBS J.

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