Designing Posters to Share the Story of Your Work

Do you have research data or program findings you want to share with the world? Do you prefer the one-on-one interaction of a conversation rather than a workshop session? Then a poster session may be the perfect fit for you! Poster sessions allow you to interact meaningfully with participants, engage in rich conversations about your project, and develop connections with other professionals in the field.

A poster is a blank canvas on which you paint a picture of your research results or program. Even if your project is ongoing, you have a lot to share­—data, program components, and participants’ stories. You can put almost anything on a poster!

Below are some tips to create a stunning and effective poster:

  • Keep it simple and clean: Use colors that contrast with each other. If your poster board has a color, make sure the font color sharply contrasts for legibility. Avoid backgrounds and textures as they make it look busy and are harder to read.
  • Color with caution: You can keep your poster colors “on brand” with your agency or project. If you don’t have a color palette to work from, Google one up! DesignSeeds has many options and ideas. Just don’t select random colors that may clash with each other.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words: Use graphics and illustrations instead of text to convey your message. If people have to read a lot, they may get easily distracted and walk away.
  • Don’t overdo it with graphics: We want you to visualize your data, but you should also be careful of putting too many visual elements on the poster that distract from your main message.
  • Big font: Text should be readable from three feet away, so make sure the text you use has a big font: 24pt for body text and at least 50pt font for headers and the title. Use different font sizes for headers and body text to establish a hierarchy of importance. Don’t get carried away with fancy text that may be hard to read!
  • Polish your masterpiece: Make sure all items that are related to each other are evenly aligned and close together. Left justify body text to increase legibility.
  • Want more tips? Check out this blog post on how to create an effective poster presentation. The American Evaluation Association has many more tips!
  • Need inspiration? Check out Healthy Teen Network’s previous posters below. Not everyone has a designer on staff to do this type of work, but everyone has a good story to tell. With sound design principles and elbow grease, you will create a masterpiece!

Posters from Past Conferences

Recruiting? Facebook (and Instagram and Grindr) Can Help!

Genevieve Martinez-García, Milagros Garrido, & Nick Sufrinko (Healthy Teen Network)

Not all social media platforms render the same results when used for participant recruitment. This poster will present how different social media and digital platforms can be used for recruitment, the resources needed to run an effective social media campaign, and how ads should be designed to attract the youthful eye.

Likes, Tweets, and Hashtags: Harnessing the Power of Social Media to Recruit Study Participants

Nick Sufrinko, Milagros Garrido, Genevieve Martínez-García (Healthy Teen Network), Elizabeth Cook, Jennifer Manlove, & Makedah Johnson (Child Trends)

Social media and internet advertising continue to prove promising frontiers for the recruitment and engagement of participants for programs, studies, and campaigns. This poster shares key lessons from the digital recruitment efforts of the Pulse Study, a randomized control trial testing a web-based sexual and reproductive health app for young adult women. While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google all offer promising metrics to advertisers, in the Pulse Study, platforms varied in producing eligible recruits. Platform-specific targeting abilities and return-on-investment are explored and the impact of incentives, user experience, and race and ethnicity on recruitment are considered.