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Designing Effective Posters: Design Elements

Learn how to design and publish effective posters. This guide includes sections on design elements, the poster design process, and using software to create posters.


This section describes elements of an effective poster. There are several things that factor into great poster design, and all this stuff can get really confusing! We want to make the poster design process as simple and easy as possible, so we've broken down the design process into more manageable pieces of content.

Layout and Text: Info on fonts, text sizing, and overall organization of a poster.

Images and Graphics: Info on finding and using photos, diagrams, and other graphics. 

Adding and Revising Content: PowerPoint: Advanced tips for editing your content when using PowerPoint to create a poster.

Adding and Revising Content: InDesign: Advanced tips for editing your content when using Adobe InDesign to create a poster.

UNC Logos: Information on downloading the UNC logo.  Guidelines on when/how to use the UNC logo.

Evaluation Checklist: A downloadable/printable PDF checklist that you can use to assess your poster.

We know it can be difficult to condense a big research paper into a poster. While working through the different elements of your poster design, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this information necessary for conveying the overall purpose of my research?
  • Can any of my text be more concise without losing meaning?
  • Will someone else understand my research from the information on my poster if I'm not there to explain it?