In case you need a quick guide to making a conference poster, here are two versions of my poster of poster tips. Just view them large, or display with a room projector and invite students to come up and read together. 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.
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.
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.