An effective poster is self-contained and self-explanatory. Viewers can proceed on their own while leaving the author free to discuss points raised in inquiry.
Scientific Rigor in Annual Meeting Presentations
Accepted abstract presenters will be expected to transparently report a study’s experimental design and analytical methods in their poster or nanosymposium presentation at the annual meeting. Efforts to ensure scientific rigor include blinding, statistics, sample sizes, and replication. Error bars should be defined. Biological variables such as species, sex, age, strain, or cell line should be noted in the presentation, if applicable. Visit Neuronline for resources to help you understand and incorporate scientific rigor best practices.
Download a template for demonstrating scientific rigor in your annual meeting poster presentation.(PDF)
The poster session offers a more intimate forum for discussion than a slide-based presentation (like a nanosymposium), but discussion becomes difficult if the author must explain the poster to a succession of viewers. Unlike nanosymposium presentations, time spent at a poster presentation is determined by the viewer, not the author.
An effective poster balances figures and texts and is not a page-by-page printout of a journal paper or a slide show.
Poster Board Organization
Poster boards are six feet (1.8 m) wide and four feet (1.2 m) high. Consider organizing illustrations and text using a grid plan. Arrange materials in columns rather than rows - this format is easier for viewers to read. Place the most significant findings at eye level immediately below the title bar; place supporting data and/or text in the lower panels.
For conventional multi-panel posters, form five columns using poster elements printed on 11"-wide paper (or 29 to 30- cm wide A4 or B5 paper) with suitable spacing or borders. Mount materials on colored poster board. You may want to group logically consistent sections or columns of the poster on backgrounds of the same color. Use muted background colors - shades of gray are also effective.
The increasing availability of 36"- and 54"-wide inkjet printers and page-layout software permits economical production of effective and attractive posters on a single sheet that is easily transported to the meeting either in a poster tube or carefully folded (accordion-style in the long dimension, then once in the short dimension) to fit in a carry-on suitcase. Use line borders to separate areas. Avoid reflective, plastic-coated paper.
Prepare a banner for the top of the poster indicating the abstract title, author(s), affiliation(s), and the presentation number. Use lettering at least one-inch high.
Design figures for viewing from a distance and use clear, visible graphics and large type. Colors are effective if used sparingly; use dark colors on white or pale backgrounds and light colors on dark backgrounds. Figures should illustrate no more than one or two major points. However, simple figures are unnecessary. Make clear main points, but include detail for the aficionado. Indicate illustration sequences with numbers or letters at least one inch high. (Omit "Fig." or "Figure." This is unnecessary and occupies excess space).
Each figure or table should have a heading of one or two lines in very large type stating the "take-home" message. Provide additional essential information below in a legend set in 16 point or larger type.
Minimize narrative. Integrate text that would normally appear in the body (Results and Discussion) of a manuscript in figure legends. Concisely describe not only the content of the figure, but also the derived conclusions. Place brief details of methodology at the end of each legend.
Use large type in short, separated paragraphs with unjustified (ragged right) margins. Numbered or bulleted lists are effective ways to convey a series of points. Do not set entire paragraphs in uppercase (all capitals) or boldface type.
Place an introduction at the upper left and a conclusion at the lower right, both in large type. It is rarely necessary to post a copy of the abstract.
Fifteen minutes before your session, post materials on the board and leave them in place for the full session. Theme J posters may be left on the poster board from 1:00 p.m. Saturday until 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Pushpins and poster presenter buttons are provided at designated poster attendant stations in the area.
Do not write or paint on the poster boards. Note: Projection equipment is not provided in the poster session area.
Presenting authors are required at the board during the assigned presentation hour - authors can elect to stay longer. Presenters should post a message on their board if they are absent for an extended period of time during their assigned presentation hour.
Remove materials promptly at the end of the session. Remove morning session posters by 12:15 p.m. so afternoon authors have sufficient time to set up posters. Promptly remove materials in poster sessions ending at 5 p.m., as authors and audience must leave the hall by 5:15 p.m. Scientific posters remaining after 12:15 p.m. for the morning session or 5:15 p.m. for the afternoon session are discarded. Theme J posters remaining after 5:00 p.m. Sunday are discarded.
SfN encourages you to enhance your poster presentation with the use of a personal mobile device at your poster board. Tablets are approved for use at your assigned poster board to show additional elements of your poster, such as videos, but please note recording and photography from these devices will not be permitted at any location on the poster and exhibit floor, or in any session room. Elements that run off the device itself rather than the Internet will display more reliably. Power will not be provided for these devices; presenters are responsible for ensuring they are charged. SfN is not liable for any damage, loss, or theft of devices.
You may download a sample poster (PDF).