Poster Presentation Guidelines


The GRIND conference poster competition is an opportunity for MSU graduate students to present their research, discuss their work with guests and be judged in the following categories:

  1. Overall Poster
  2. Topic Organization
  3. Content Details
  4. Presentation Content
  5. Ability to Answer Questions
  6. Body Language

All posters will be reviewed by judges from 10am to 12 noon. Posters need to be up by 9am. Poster presenters must be on hand with their poster during the entire two-hour review of posters. Poster competition winners will be announced during the awards luncheon. Participants who are unavailable during the review of posters by judges are disqualified from the competition.


Poster Size Requirements
Poster size limit: 48″ x 36″ with horizontal layout

Design and Layout

There are no hard-and-fast rules for the sections in a poster, however, here is a suggested list:

Title (with names of authors and affiliations)
Contact information


Study examples. (Search “scientific poster examples” on the Internet.) Note that poster content is always arranged in columns on an invisible grid.

Put your research objective (the Big Question) in a prominent place. Typically, that place is the upper left of a poster, where a reader’s eyes will land first.

Use graphics to convey most information. If you can’t explain your research graphically, you don’t have a poster. Keep text to a minimum. A typical poster contains about 1,000 words, or 250 per section. Let the graphics do the talking. Captions must convey much information. Give titles to graphs that explain what the viewer should understand from the graph.

Keep all elements of a section close to one another, and place captions close to their graphics. Leave space between sections so that the viewer can make sense of the graphics and their corresponding captions.

Have an advisor or faculty mentor review your poster before you send it to print.


Titles should be large enough to be read from 10-15 feet. Captions should be clear at 4 feet. One design guideline proven to be effective is a sans-serif font for titles and headings, and serif fonts for text and captions. Use the same sans-serif font for titles and headings, and use the same serif font for text and captions. Text should be justified (aligned) left. Use italics or bold for emphasis. Do not underline or use all caps.

An example of effective font choice and size:

Title = 100 pt bold sans serif font (Ariel)
Section Headings = 48 pt bold sans serif font (Ariel)
Body Text = 28 pt serif font (Times New Roman)
Captions = 24pt serif font (Times New Roman)
Dark text on a light background is easiest to read. If you have a very dark background, use large, bold white text. Be very careful about this option because the text will look much less defined in the printed version than when viewed on a computer. Avoid color-on-color, especially bright hues. Keep backgrounds simple. If you want to use a photo, choose “Watermark” to make it light and unobtrusive. Choose a simple color scheme with only two or three related colors. Change colors on graphs and figures in a way that they complement the background color.

Writing: Style Guides
Use style guides from your discipline for the text of the poster.

(all photos above depict posters and competitors in the inaugural GRIND conference in 2017)