In case you need a quick guide to making a conference poster, here are two versions of my poster of poster tips. They have content overlap, so just choose the layout that pleases you. More details below the images.
Both posters are descendants of a document I created circa 1997 for my evolution students at Swarthmore College. The bottom one is available as a PDF if you want to print an actual poster of it — which I highly recommend if you are assigning a poster project for your class (students don’t like reading the website, below).
My full tips are at Designing conference posters. I created the website for my students, too, but eventually made it public in case it might help make the world’s poster sessions more enjoyable and their posters easier to understand. Please share with your friends.
I was invited to talk about poster design in Berkeley (DOE NNSA SSGF) and DC (DOE CSGF) this past summer, and used the opportunity to test out fabric as a medium for large-format conference posters. Below are some photographs if you’re curious how logos, illustrations, and photographs look when viewed close up on fabric. By the way, I ordered the posters from PhD Posters (they mailed to my house in a tube, inside a box). And if you’re interested, my poster design tips are here (rather long-winded because I’ve maintained page since 1997).
The rolled up poster above is also fabric. I didn’t have the nerve to fold it into luggage-sized square, but I’ve heard that it can be done … though crease lines an issue. Might be able to iron them out, I’ve also read.
The photograph above isn’t as crisp as a glossy poster, but was totally fine for my purposes. If it really mattered, I’d just print a copy on my photo printer at 1200 dpi (or whatever) and then use double sided tape to attach. Even paper posters have fairly low photo quality, so attaching a high-resolution version is always an option when you need it.
Yes, you can see the fabric if you get close enough. People standing 6 feet away wouldn’t notice and probably wouldn’t care if you told them.
One of my pet peeves about posters at conferences is that they often devote a lot of important real estate to text that nobody really wants to read. So if you’re shopping around the internet for a layout, give the layout below a try. I’ve situated the Literature cited, Acknowledgements, Further information (a section I’m trying to push), and annoying logos in a single strip at the bottom. Doing this pushes the interesting sections up, closer to eye level. I’ll eventually put a template for this up at http://colinpurrington.com/tips/academic/posterdesign.
For those who are interested, the logos in the sample layout are largely related to diseases: I’m presenting at the 2012 Annual Conference on Vaccine Research sponsored by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. I don’t know anything about vaccines, for the record. I’m just there to present at a workshop on science communication. I’m bringing hand sanitizer, of course.