Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Creating Research Posters: Introduction

Header for Creating Research Posters LibGuide


Creating Research Posters

A research poster is one of a few common ways in which scholars share their work, and the highly visual format provides a lot of flexibility in how you engage your audience. Regardless of whether you're creating the poster for a classroom assignment, for a research fair, or for a conference, the process you follow is largely the same. Before you get started creating your poster, there are a few practical concerns that will guide your design process:

Poster Format

  • Will your poster be displayed digitally, on a screen, or will it be printed out?

  • Print posters are commonly 48 inches by 36 inches, there may be specific requirements for the dimensions

  • A digital display may be widescreen, which has a width to height ratio of 16:9, or standard, which is 4:3


  • Do you only need to bring a completed poster on the day you are scheduled to present, or do you need to submit your poster ahead of time?

  • Designing a poster usually involves making a lot of choices, and it may take longer than you expect!

Design Tools

  • Are you required to use a specific template or tool? If not, how will you make your poster?

  • PowerPoint is a common tool and is accessible through Office 365, but requires tweaking as it is not designed with posters in mind

  • Adobe Creative Suite includes many high-powered graphics design tools (like Illustrator and Photoshop), but is expensive and complex; Several Macs and PCs in the Undergraduate Library, labeled "graphics computers," have Adobe Creative Suite installed

  • LaTeX is a typesetting tool which is commonly used in math and science, and can be used to create research posters

  • Canva is a "freemium" browser-based graphic design tool that offers good functionality but limited options for unpaid users

  • Inkscape is a free and open-source design tool meant to serve as an alternative to Adobe Illustrator

Adapted from the guide "Creating Research Posters" originally created by Clayton Hayes, Wayne State University Library System.