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					           GUIDELINES FOR PREPARING POSTERS FOR CONFERENCES

                                       Dr Judi Edmans,
                      on behalf of the Scientific Programme Committee


Posters can be a costly alternative to presenting a paper at a conference. However, they
can now be made reasonably easily by most computer-literate people using powerpoint,
where they can be made as a single powerpoint slide. Some guidelines to assist in the
production of posters using powerpoint are shown below:


Planning the poster

      Decide on the overall size of the poster e.g. A4 → A0 (A0 is 16 x A4) - remember
       to check any poster guidelines regarding size
      Decide on the orientation of poster i.e. portrait or landscape - remember to check
       any poster guidelines regarding orientation
      List the important headings and points to be presented
      Type the main information in the format you think you may use to give an idea of
       the sizes of each text box
      Sketch a rough plan of the poster
      Experiment with different layouts – don’t just use the first idea you have

Layout design

      Consider the background – pictures are often too busy and this can make the text
       difficult to read
      Consider the colour scheme – a contrast is easier to read e.g. dark background,
       white text box and black text or white background, colour text box and white text
      Consider the choice of colours – bear in mind that the colours will probably look
       slightly different when professionally printed, especially colours such as purple,
       pink or turquoise and remember, readers may be colour blind
      Plan the layout so the content flows i.e. horizontal or vertical – choose which to
       use and be consistent
      Consider the use and balance of text, tables, graphs, photographs, pictures
      Consider the inclusion of appropriate logos e.g. Trust and Sponsors – your
       employer may have their own guidelines or corporate identity that has to be used

Text

      The poster text needs to be able to read at a distance of 3-5 feet
      Choose a font that is easy to read e.g. Arial, Verdana, Tahoma or Times New
       Roman
      Suggested text sizes for an A0 size poster:
               Title text - 24 point font size
               List of authors’ and institutions text - 12 point font size
               Text - 8 point font size
               Headings - 12 point font size
               Subheadings - 10 point font size

Content

      Plan the content of the poster considering the introduction, method, results,
       analysis, discussion, conclusions and implications for practice
      Remember KISS – keep it simple
      Limit your information and highlight key points only - excess information on the
       poster makes it too busy
      Consider how long it will take the reader to read the whole poster


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        Use bullet points of short phrases rather than long paragraphs or text
        Only use abbreviations if the full text has been included first with abbreviation in
         brackets e.g. College of Occupational Therapists (COT)
        Include a maximum of five references
        Avoid the use of complex tables / figures etc – e.g. include no more than three
         curves on graphs
        Ensure photographs / images are of a high quality as they will be enlarged on the
         finished poster
        If including photographs / images, ensure you have copyright clearance to use
         them on a poster
        Include your email address on the poster, either with the title / authors /
         institutions or at the end, to enable readers to contact you

Building the powerpoint slide

        Set the page set up to A4 size (21.0cm x 29.7cm) or custom (if making non-
         standard sized poster) ready for printing
        Use gridlines to help line up the text boxes
        When text boxes are selected they can be nudged by tapping the arrow keys in
         the direction you wish the box to be moved

Review

        Prepare the draft poster and print a draft version on A4 paper – bear in mind it
         will be 16 x larger if preparing an A0 size poster
        Ask others for comments and proof reading
        Proof read ++ prior to taking the poster to the printers
        Save the document as a pdf, if possible, to ensure your poster remains in the
         same format on any computer

Printing

        Consider which quality paper is required for your poster and whether you want it
         glossy, heatsealed or laminated
        Get quotes for printing costs – e.g. audio-visual departments in NHS or
         Universities, local printers, national printing companies with branch in your area
         (e.g. Prontaprint)
        Prices vary greatly from approx £30 i.e. cheapest quality paper, not laminated -
         £300 i.e. designed by audio-visual departments and printed on best quality paper
         and laminated
        Check who will be paying for your poster – this may determine your choice of
         company
        Check with the printing company whether you will get a proof copy to check prior
         to final printing
        Check with the printing company how long it will take to have the poster printed –
         this may determine your choice of company, according to how much time you
         have left before your conference i.e. do not leave until the last minute
        If you design and fully prepare your own poster in powerpoint and take it to a
         reputable printing company, an A0 size poster printed on 200g paper and
         laminated, should cost approx £60
        Costs may vary according to whether you request a copy for proof reading prior to
         printing – this is advisable to ensure any bullet points etc will appear as you
         planned
        Depending on the type of conference where the poster is to be displayed, it is
         often appreciated if you take some A4 copies of your poster to be used as
         handouts – these can be printed in black and white or colour


16th July 2007


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