Project Ideation

A large part of the reason I attended a multidisciplinary university rather than an art & design one was that I wanted the opportunity to meet and collaborate with people from other disciplines. Over the course of my studies, I was able to do just that, and as a side effect noticed that many research posters that were created for conference presentations were badly designed, unable to communicate their message.

My initial thought was to offer to redesign posters for a fee, but I quickly realized that every penny scientists have goes into their research (as it should), so they wouldn't have the budget for this. So I thought that it would be a great exercise for myself, and more scalable, if I could provide templates and other resources for scientists to create their own posters, except with much less hassle, and much better results, than before. See the blog here.


To gauge interest and to better understand my audience, I asked people in my target audience to fill out a 3-minute survey online. Among other questions, I asked the following:

Additionally, several respondents confirmed the need for such a service:

I think this is definitely a needed area of improvement for scientists, and we can all benefit from learning more about posters and presenting! Thank you!

I actually really enjoy most of the process of making/designing posters, but it would be nice to have things a little more streamlined.

Templates sound super useful! Especially if you don't need special/costly programs to utilize them.

Thanks for doing this! Buying expensive software (Adobe) isn't an option for many of us, and the learning curve for design programs can be intimidating, but Powerpoint kind of sucks. So, tips on how to break into free/cheap design software for super newbies and/or how to use Powerpoint more effectively would be much appreciated.

You're doing God's work!

This is such a great project and I really appreciate it! Thank you!

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I also asked respondents which resources they'd use if available, and the most-requested were poster layouts they could copy (89% of respondents). Based on this and the fact that an overwhelming majority use PowerPoint to design their posters, I decided to create PPT templates for scientists to edit (but not without a blog post explaining why that's wrong!).


The next most asked-for resource was a document about design best practices (75%) and links to online resources such as free fonts, photos and color palette generators (66%). I decided to combine the two in a "Ten Top Tips" document, which could even be printed and turned into mini posters or flashcards.


I also made a second version that used less color and would be printer-friendly.

Moving Forward

Now that I've established a blog and mailing list to keep followers informed, I plan on releasing a handful of templates a month, as well as other resources that are requested. Eventually, I hope to create video tutorials that show specifically how to lay out a research poster in InDesign; critique submitted posters and establish a forum where scientists can get feedback before printing.

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