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Course & Subject Guides

Poster Presentations @ Pitt: Content & Text

This guide is designed to help those preparing a poster presentation for a course assignment or a research display

Poster Content

Your poster should tell the story of your research or project - what you did, why it is important, what your results and conclusions were. It should highlight the main points of your work without going into all the detail that you would include in a research paper.

Here are some things to think about as you organize the content of your poster. You can get more tips from the links on the Helpful Resources tab above.

  • identify the message you want viewers to take away with them
  • focus on the main points of your message
  • organize your information in a logical flow
  • minimize text
  • present your story visually as much as possible
  • include your results in an easily interpretable form, such as graphs or charts, if possible
  • make your conclusions clear and obvious
  • use bullet points and lists to make key material readily visible
  • describe methodology, but leave out the details that would go into a research paper
  • plan on presenting details in conversation with your viewers or in a handout
  • choose a title that is specific, informative, and will catch viewers' attention
  • if an abstract is required, it should concisely summarize the story of your work
  • captions should make clear the significance of an illustration or the conclusion drawn from a chart or graph
  • authors' names, affiliations, and contact information should be readily visible
  • acknowledge any sponsors, research grants, and assistance
  • cite any direct use of others' work
  • include any information or content required by the session organizer

Remember, most viewers will not read your entire poster in detail. They should, however, be able to understand its basic message by looking at the title, abstract or introduction, section headings, figures, and conclusions.


Text is an important part of your poster. Use it effectively to tell the essential parts of your story.

  • minimize text - long sections of text detract from the visual appeal, make key facts less visible, and take more time to read
  • break text into sections that can be separated and arranged with your graphics
  • write concisely
  • choose fonts that are easy to read
  • use font sizes that are readable from at least 5-6 feet away
  • titles should be larger than section headings, which are larger than text and captions
  • captions should be easily readable and written horizontally
  • use bold type for titles and section headings
  • use bold type or color to highlight key terms
  • using all capitals is generally harder to read than using mixed cases