p2i Research Poster
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How to Design a Research Poster

As visual communication continues to become popular in the evaluation community, some people ask themselves “How can I make my poster more exciting?” To answer that, we decided to offer a few designs to illustrate how you can do that. The poster in the top left corner is the “before” poster and the other 3 are “after” posters. The yellow arrows pointing away from the “before” poster offer tips and suggestions to make your poster pop.

Here is where we started…

Yes, this poster is acceptable and many people can quickly and easily create something similar using readily available programs like Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Publisher. What if you are concerned about the visual aesthetics of your poster? Why isn’t this poster going to catch the eye of people passing by?

• Sections of text are too large
• No sense of style
• Only 1 accent color used

Let’s spice it up!

For this first version of our redesign, we began to think about basic design principles and elements to help capture a more pleasing layout. Using the same layout programs as before, we also:

• Visualized the data
• Created digestible chunks of text
• Called out key points

Use the power of other programs

You may have to consult a graphic designer for these last examples, but using Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop can help take your research poster design to the next level. In this example, we:

• Added photos for visual interest
• Chose a color scheme that relates to the subject
• Sectioned out text using more columns

Let’s get crazy!

Finally, what if you feel like turning your research poster into a wild piece of art? You can go there too, but remember to maintain the integrity of your project’s message. Here we:

• Used “contrast” to guide the viewer’s eye
• Clipped out images to break the boundaries
• Put a greater focus on abstract illustrations


  1. July 23, 2015, 9:45 am

    […] ‘How to Design a Research Poster‘ – ideas for making your poster look a little more exciting from the American Evaluation Association […]

  2. January 16, 2016, 3:29 pm

    […] How-to Guide uses visuals in a step-by-step guide to revamping research posters. It helped me to apply the […]

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