Some Massey assignments require work to be presented in poster format. The poster’s aim may be to communicate important information to the public, or to generate academic discussion.
The instructions for poster assignments will generally include specific design and formatting guidelines. Since these guidelines differ from course to course, it is essential to follow all instructions closely.
Questions commonly asked by students are:
Is my poster format correct?
There is no single correct layout for a poster. The only correct layout is a layout that strictly follows all design and formatting guidelines included in the assignment instructions. It is essential to make a note of any particular requirements in relation to:
- Personal identifiers (name, course number etc.) to be included.
- Sections to be included.
- Recommended font size and type.
- Poster orientation (portrait or landscape).
- The number of colours to be used.
- Whether the use of bullet points is advised.
- Whether the inclusion of direct quotes is allowed.
- The distance from which the poster should be legible.
- The location of the reference list.
- Software to be used (often PowerPoint).
Should my poster be portrait or landscape?
If the assignment instructions offer a choice of poster orientation, the poster’s content will often determine which orientation is best. If the poster is mainly comprised of text boxes with the occasional image, portrait orientation is often a better choice. A landscape orientation can cause textboxes, and therefore sentences, to sprawl across the screen, making the poster’s content trickier to read. If the poster contains a mind map, a landscape orientation may make this more legible.
How many words should I include?
Some assignment instructions specify a word count. Others don’t. In the absence of a specified word count, check whether there is a recommended minimum font size for the body of the poster. The minimum font size and any requirements in terms of images will place a natural restriction on the number of words that can be included. If you are still unsure, please contact your lecturer directly.
How do I reference clip art or stock images used in my poster?
Most poster assignments at Massey require APA referencing. The APA Style Guidelines offers advice on how to cite and reference clip art and stock images. The advice differs depending on whether the image requires an attribution (credit) or not. Please see: https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/references/examples/clip-art-references
How should my reference list appear on the poster?
Some instructions for poster assignments ask for references to be submitted in a separate document. This might be the case where the poster is intended for a broad public audience (rendering the inclusion of references in the poster itself unnecessary). Most academic posters (e.g., those designed for display or presentation at conferences) include references. Due to space restrictions, an APA reference list for a poster cannot always accommodate a hanging indent. References usually appear in a separate box at the bottom of the poster and in a smaller font size than that used for the main text. All the normal formatting rules relating to APA citations and references (or to any other referencing system used) still apply.
Does the poster:
- have a concise, specific, and engaging title?
- include all required content within the confines of the word limit?
- communicate a clear message or idea?
- use a tone suitable for the intended audience?
- follow all design and formatting advice?
- have clear headings and subheadings?
- have a smooth logical flow and an easily discernible order in which textboxes should be read?
- contain any text that is tricky to read (e.g., white wording on a yellow background)?
- include images that clearly connect with and complement the text?
- showcase accurate spelling, grammar, and sentence structure?
- contain well formatted citations and references?
- seem tidy, balanced and visually appealing rather than overloaded?