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Rules for Great Research Posters


  1. Know who you are going to be talking to
  2. Don’t use the same poster for K-12 that you are going to use for an industry presentation


  1. Pick a theme
  2. Divide your topic into sections
  3. Write copy to match audience
  4. Use phrases, headers, bullets, shaded boxes to break up the text
  5. Limit the amount of copy – be succinct
  6. Explain why your research is important to your audience


  1. No more than two font families
  2. Avoid reversed typeface when possible
  3. Use colors to make headers stand out

Photos and Graphics

  1. Use high resolution (at least 300 dpi) in jpeg or tif format
  2. Avoid using photos found on the web – they are 72 dpi low resolution
  3. Follow the Boise State University logo guidelines, and download high res Boise State logos
  4. Do not enlarge a low resolution image to fit, it will become very pixelated and fuzzy

Recommended color combinations for the poster design, to enhance the Boise State brand, are blue  and white, with dark blue as a complementary color or Reflex blue and orange.  Try to avoid color combinations that are those of other schools, or that are not complimentary with the Blue University logo.
The precise Pantone numbers are:

  • Blue and White with Complimentary Dark Blue: Light Blue PMS #285 and Dark Blue PMS # 2757  (University logo colors)
  • Blue and Orange: Reflex Blue PMS # 286 and Orange PMS # 172 (Athletic colors)


  1. Keep it simple
  2. Keep it readable
  3. Ghosted back images are good for background (about 15%)
  4. Add funding and acknowledgements


You can have a good looking  poster in Powerpoint if you:

  1. Use high resolution photos and graphics
  2. Do not put the logo over a colored background because you will get the ugly white box (unless you have image editing software such as PhotoShop)
  3. It can be better to use: InDesign but Powerpoint will work
  4. If using Powerpoint, avoid using transparencies. It will cause huge headaches at the printers.

Mounting & Printing

  1. Common print sizes are 24×36 or 36×48
  2. For durability – mount poster on foam core and laminate
  3. Don’t use bulldogs to clip your poster to a reused board!
  4. If traveling with your poster, laminate but don’t mount, then you can roll it into a tube
  5. Average cost for 36×48, foam cored and laminated at Printing and Graphics on Campus is $117 (426-1269)
  6. Send print file as .ppt (PowerPoint) or .pdf (high resolution if using page layout program such as InDesign).
  7. Don’t wait until the last minute to send your file to be printed. The printers will need 5-7 days to print and mount your poster.

Prepared by Michele Armstrong, College of Engineering, 426-4628