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Poster Design Tips


Basic principles

Creating your poster

Plan on paper first. Let the technology serve the message, not dictate it.

Once you've planned it, you can use Microsoft PowerPoint or Word to create your poster. These are not graphical layout applications, but they are adequate in most cases. Some tips to get you started are given below, but you might also consider attending the Word 2010: Creating Illustrated Posters course run by IT Training.

When the poster is designed, you should convert it to PDF for printing, using PDF Creator or Adobe Acrobat. The conversion process can be problematic: edges of words and images may be cut off near to the margins, images may appear degraded or misshapen, poster elements may have shifted and become overlapping. However, by ironing out these problems at the conversion stage, you avoid nasty surprises later when you come to print it out. When the PDF looks good, you can be pretty confident that the printed version will also be OK.

Test your poster early, and regularly, by converting to PDF and printing to A4, to make sure you're not storing up layout problems that will be difficult to correct later on.

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Images and PDF conversion

When converting your poster to PDF, take care that your images are not degraded in the process. They may look fine on-screen but then look blurry or pixellated when printed as A1 or A0.

The following process, in Word or PowerPoint, will ensure that images retain their resolution up to A1 size (provided that they were sufficiently high-resolution in the first place - 300 pixels per inch should be sufficient).

First, set the page size:

If using PDFcreator or Adobe Acrobat to convert to PDF, check the print resolution before converting:

Embedding fonts

Important! It is always a good idea to embed the fonts within the PDF document you create. If you do not, there is a danger that one or more of the fonts you have used will not be present on the printer's system, and in which case the font you chose will be replaced by a substitute, and that can mess up the layout of your poster.

How you do this depends on the way you convert to PDF; instructions for PDFCreator and Adobe Acrobat are given below:

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Content of the poster

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Design suggestions

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Getting it printed

Although LSE Reprographics only has facilities to print up to a size of A3 (42cm x 30cm), they can send work out to be printed by an external bureau. If you have a budget code, this is the simplest option. Prices are competitive with those shown in the table of local bureaux below.

If you're in a hurry, you might need to use an external printing bureau. There are several close to the LSE, listed below. Most companies will accept your poster as a PDF file, which you can deliver on a CD or a USB drive, but check first to see if there are any particular requirements. Posters will be ready within 24 hours except where stated.

The cheapest option is usually to use an online bureau, but you do have to wait for delivery. Online bureaux are listed in the 2nd table below.

Whatever bureau you use, you may be asked what weight of paper you require. Typically, weights around the 170gsm (grams per square metre) will be sufficiently high quality.

Printing bureaux close to LSE

Name Address/map Telephone Price for A1 poster*
Kall Kwik 186 Fleet Street
020-7583-5207 £42.00
Captain Cyan 124 London Road
020-3005-4495 £15.00
The Color Company 114 Strand
020-7632-8820 £36.00
KWT Printing Services Ltd. 80 Long Acre
020-7240-2062 £24.00
London Print Company
Note: Takes 2-3 days
212 Shaftesbury Avenue
Service Point 81 Endell Street
020-7836-9422 £24.00
S.S.Graphics Ltd 21 Museum Street
020-7637-0371 £30.00

* Prices include VAT at 20%. Quotes obtained by telephone on 18 May 2012.

Online printing bureaux

Name URL Price for A1 poster*
Captain Cyan £15.00 (satin or matt) + £4.00 postage = £19.00
PWA UK £14.40 (silk or gloss) + £6.00 postage = £20.40
Supersize Print £13.79 (matt) + £3.99 postage = £17.78

* Prices include VAT at 20%. Paper weight 170gsm in each case. Quotes obtained online on 31 March 2014.

LSE Reprographics

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Further reading

Nichol, Adelheid A M and Pexman, Penny M. Displaying your findings: a practical guide for creating figures, posters and presentations. (2003) American Psychological Association. ISBN 1557989788.

This book has a chapter on poster presentations and is available from the LSE Library.

Gosling, Peter J.(1999) Scientist’s guide to poster presentations. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. ISBN 0306460769.

Includes a good overview of the process of creating and delivering poster presentations.

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LSE PhD Poster Exhibition

The 2nd LSE poster exhibition was held on 26 May 2011 as part of PhD Research Day

Poster exhibition 2011

Poster exhibition 2011
Poster exhibition 2011

Poster exhibition 2011
Poster exhibition 2011

Poster exhibition 2011
Poster exhibition 2011

Poster exhibition 2011


The first LSE PhD poster exhibition was held on 26 May 2010 and attracted 58 entries.

Poster exhibition 2010 Poster exhibition 2010 Poster exhibition 2010 Poster exhibition 2010
Poster exhibition 2010 Poster exhibition 2010 Poster exhibition 2010 Poster exhibition 2010

All photos by Ly Voo (ALV Photography)

View the exhibition posters online

Web resources

There are lots of useful resources on the web with information about how to create posters. Much of the guidance below is quite general: do remember to read the criteria specified by the conference you are hoping to attend very carefully.

Sources of images

These are sites where you can obtain copyright-free images from use in your posters:

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