How to Make a Poster:

If you are an undergraduate researcher, chances are that you will be communicating your hard work in the form of a research poster. Research posters are designed to summarize information or research, while being concise and attractive to the public. They are essentially an “illustrated abstract.” The ultimate goal of a research poster is to publicize your work and to generate discussion among other scientists and professionals that are interested in your work. Posters usually include a mixture of text and figures. At a conference or research symposium, the researcher accompanies their poster while participants view and discuss it. There are many benefits of doing poster presentations as a student. For instance, presenting enhances your ability to communicate the key points of your research in a way that anyone can understand – an essential skill for every researcher! Additionally, presenting your findings can generate questions from the audience that can help progress your research. Overall, presenting your research is a testament to the hard work put into your research project.

What makes a good poster?

  • Title is concise and draws interest from the audience. The title should communicate the take-home message for the reader.
  • The information provided is comprehensive and well-organized, making it easy for the viewer to understand the research.
  • Text is clear and big enough to read from a distance.
  • Use bullet points and numbering to make content easy to understand.
  • Theme should be consistent and pleasing to look at.
  • Include acknowledgments, institutional affiliations, and the name of all project members.

What does a poster typically include?


Title, Authors, and Affiliations


  • Abstracts vary in length but are usually under 300 words.
  • Some posters have abstracts. Others do not.

Background and Rationale

  • What are the implications of this research in its field/other fields?
  • Why was the study conducted?
  • What are the aims of the study?


  • Briefly describe the approach used to answer your question.
  • Do not fill this section with miscellaneous details. Give an
    overview of what was done.
  • If possible, use a schematic to give a visual representation of
    your methods instead of words.
  • Be sure to cite any publication that you adopted
    methodologies from.




  • Present, but do not explain, the outcome of your approach.
  • Graphs and figures must be accompanied by a figure legend
    so that they understandable standing alone.
  • Figures must be large enough to be viewed from a distance.

Discussion, Conclusions, and Future Directions

  • Provide an interpretation and/or analysis of the results.
  • What do they mean, so what?
  • What future inquiries could be made from these conclusions?


  • List people and/or organizations that funded the research.
  • Acknowledge collaborators that provided ideas to the study.

How do I get my poster printed?

Free or low-cost personal design consultation and printing of posters for undergraduate students is available at Student Media Services (SMS) located on the 2nd floor of the Valley Library, they can be contacted at: 541-737-3332, and are open Monday’s through Thursday’s from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm and Friday’s from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, excluding holidays.

SMS Website:

Order a Print Job Online:

Undergraduate students can print one poster for free (lamination is available for a fee) per one event or assignment for a registered class. Standard paper and 36-inch dimensions are used unless an upgrade is requested. See SMS for upgrade pricing.

Student Media Services (SMS) Specifications:

  • SMS requires two-full business days (48 hours) to produce posters, excluding weekends and official OSU holidays. Rush orders may be available for an additional $50 fee.
  • Acceptable file formats: .PPT, .EXL, .DOC, .PSD, .INDD, .Al, .PDF, .JPG, or .TIF
  • Picture resolution must be at print size; pixilated pictures will not be printed.
  • Any logo used must be an official OSU graphic. Official logos can be downloaded here: (If you are using a non-OSU logo, you must send a copy of that logo to SMS for their files.)
  •  Data should not be printed in green or red, which tends to be difficult to differentiate for those with color blindness. Shades of blue can also distort and print as purple.

Helpful Links

  • OSU SMS Poster Templates:

  • Tips and Resources for Creating a Research Poster:

  • Poster Design Tutorial on PowerPoint 2013:

  • Undergraduate Research Poster Examples:

  • Article on 10 Rules for a Good Poster Presentation: