How to emphasize your message.

    © Kathryn Tosney
    Professor of Biology
    The University of Michigan

    Tosney home page

    Society for Developmental Biology

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4. Use visual grammar.

Use a graphic hierarchy
that visually reflects the relative importance of elements.

    Show, don’t tell

    If its important, make it BIG

  • Avoid a publication-style format, like a journal article, that supplies every detail.
    Use figures and graphs.

    Make all graphic elements large enough so that the important information is easily visible 4 feet away.

  • Graphics should dominate the poster visually.

    Use type size proportional
    to importance:

  • largest type: title

    next largest type: section headings

    medium type: supporting material

  • smallest type, 14 points: details


How to obscure your message.

    © Kathryn Tosney
    Chair of Biology
    The University of Miami

Tosney home page
Society for Developmental Biology

3. Let them guess the sequence.

Avoid clues that would help people
to follow your presentation.



logical sequence

Or, use:
tiny numbers
Roman numerals
Greek letters

Odd placement:
and put them in obscure places
or in a different place on each panel

    If you also spread the panels randomly, you will give your viewers the pleasure of the game called: “hunting for the next section.”

If your arrangement is random enough, your competitors may associate the wrong legend with a figure, and thus be unable to “borrow” your ideas and scoop you.


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