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WORKSHOP: Altoona Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship


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Cori Biddle
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Eiche Library
Penn State Altoona
Subjects: Campus: Altoona

Poster Content

The goal of posters is to present your project in a visual form to an audience. Your audience may view the poster with, or without, you present so be sure your poster can stand on its own.

  • Identify the highlights that will be important to your audience and will grab their attention as they walk past.
  • Include any visual elements that can represent your project
  • Aim for 300-800 words

Be sure to include also include

  • Poster Title (may be slightly different than your project title - meant to grab audience attention)
  • Project authors or group members
  • Your department, advisors, etc
  • Bibliography or references

Designing Your Poster

Poster Organization

  • Print posters may be laid out in landscape (48" wide by 36" high), but also done in portrait (36" wide x 48" high). The exact size will depend on the fair's specifications.
  • Often there are 3-4 columns across with 1-3 bocks of text/image in each.
  • Try to keep some white space on the poster so viewers can easily follow the information

examples of poster alignment showing horizontal symmetry; horizontal and vertical symmetry; diagonal symmetry; and asymmetry (text-heavy on one side, image heavy on the other)

image from:

Poster Aesthetics

  • Place your Title and Author information at the top to make it easy for the audience to find. Choose a larger font size (100+)
  • Use only 2-3 different styles of font, be sure they are easy to read, especially at a distance. Choose a larger font size to highlight important content.
  • Choose 2-3 colors and be consistent. Make sure there is enough contrast for the poster to be read.
  • Left adjust text boxes to aid in readability.
  • Aim for simplicity. Let the content of your project be the star.

Visual Elements

  • Choose elements that you've either created or you have the right to reuse. Look for Creative Commons items or those in the public domain. If they are created by someone else, be sure to give them credit.
  • Be aware of pixilation if you try to re-size an image.
  • Try to be consistent in the colors or styles of the elements used.
  • Keep it simple! Any visual element should contribute to your content, and help you explain your project.

Poster Creation Software and Tools

Popular Layout Software Options


Chart and Graphics Creation Options

  • Canva
    • Create infographics or other visual elements
  • Gliffy
    • Draw diagrams or flow charts
  • Excel
    • Build graphs and charts and export them to your poster

Printing your Poster

Students can print research posters for free at The CAMP

They are located in the Learning Resources Center, 125A Eiche. Phone: (814) 949-5301 | 

Note: The long edge of your poster cannot exceed 42 inches. Don't forget to include CAMP in your acknowledgements!

Scholarsphere Basics

Scholarsphere is Penn State's Institutional Repository (IR), which allows the community to share their research and scholarly work with the public. Uploading content to the IR allows others to view and learn from your work, and it allows provides an easy way for your share your work in graduate school or internship applications or with potential employers.

Best Practices

  • Add as much detail as possible related to your project. Include metadata like an abstract or keywords helps search engines to find your work and makes it easier for others to discover your work. Along with describing your research, you'll also want to include keywords related to the format, discipline, and your campus (along with its presence in the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Fair).
  • Review the Creative Commons license. The purpose of IR's is to help present your research to the public, while ensuring that you get credit. Choose the Creative Commons license that you feel most comfortable with.
  • Set the Privacy of your work. Those most materials in IR's are open to the public, you can set it to be more private.
  • Consider the format of your materials/files. Choose file types that are easily accessible (like PDFs).
  • If you are using Adobe Spark to supplement your research poster or presentation, you can still upload the project to Scholarsphere. You will just need to provide additional artifacts (like a Word doc, Powerpoint, or Images), along with the Spark URL. 

Additional Resources