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Positives for Posters

With Andrew Friskop and Ryan Limb, I judged the undergraduate and graduate student posters that were part of NDSU's Ag Week. I was really impressed with the student posters in this week-long event sponsored by students in the NDSU Agriculture Collective.

As reminders to all of us, here are a few tips for better posters.

  • Determine the most important or interesting finding, and focus on that. Don't try to cover too much so that your poster has so many words it looks like a mini manuscript.
  • Write concisely. Use words only if they add to the explanation. Even then, only hit the high points.
  • Use bullets, subheads, short sentences and short paragraphs to make content easier to read.
  • Choose an easy-to-read font. Use a bigger type size and bold for subheads, not underlining. Avoid all caps.
  • Use the correct NDSU or N.D. Agricultural Experiment Station or NDSU Extension Service logo, not an NDSU seal or bison.
  • Focus on a few large photos and graphics that tell your story rather than lots of small ones.
  • Avoid busy backgrounds that make your words hard to read.
  • Use left justification mostly. Full justification often leaves gaps between words.
  • Avoid acronyms and abbreviations that your target audience might not understand.
  • Identify the source for any image that is not yours.
  • Avoid dark backgrounds with reversed-out type and copy blocks in boxes.
  • Ask others to provide you with constructive criticism several weeks before you have to present your poster.

Your goal probably is to get meeting-goers' attention so you can tell them about your research, not for them to get all the details from your poster, so make it inviting with these tips.

, Ag Communication Director, 701-231-7875

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