Poster Preparation Guidelines

Preparatory Considerations
Poster Content and Design
Judging Criteria
Snell Library Resources
Tips and Tools
Final Considerations
Preparatory Considerations

Before creating your poster, ask:

  • What is the main function of my poster? Who is my audience?
  • What is the primary thing I want my audience to understand and experience?
  • What solution, new way of thinking or seeing does my project provide?
  • How do I express my expertise simply so I don’t overwhelm non-experts?

While creating your poster, aim to:

  • Engage attendees in conversation.
  • Express your project in layman’s terms.
  • Focus on simple, memorable messages; include only essential details.
  • Leave out points that distract from your central message.
  • Emphasize “why” over “how.”
  • Less is more. Avoid jargon and extensive technical description.
Poster Content and Design

Your RISE poster is divided into the following content areas. We suggest a quadrant format.

  • Opportunity – Write your abstract, introduction, background, goal, etc. here.
  • Approach – Describe your method here.
  • Data/Results – Include images, figures, tables, etc.
  • Impact – State your value proposition and elaborate on your MyRISE impact statement.
  • References and Acknowledgements (Optional)

When designing your poster, remember:

  • This is a template. Some features may be changed, while others are fixed.
  • The fixed features that should not be changed are:
    • RISE and Northeastern logos
    • Abstract ID, Category and Undergraduate/Graduate headings
    • Content Area topics and order (Opportunity, Approach, Data/Results/Impact)
  • The modifiable features are:
    • We suggest a quadrant format
    • Quadrant lines
    • Size of text boxes, font style/size of headings, titles, text, etc.
    • Alignment of headings and text
    • Inclusion of graphics and images
  • Within these limits, freely employ design strategies that will capture the attention of RISE attendees and express the value of your research.
  • Please delete instructional box once you have completed your poster layout.
  • All posters must be submitted as a PDF through MyRISE.
Judging Criteria

Your RISE poster will be judged by the following criteria:

  • OriginalityIs the project fresh and new? Does it offer a unique perspective? Is the project compelling and interesting?
  • Significance/Impact of ResearchDoes the project achieve a beneficial objective? Does it present a compelling model for advancing social, civic, and/or environmental equity? Does it expose bias? Improve efficiency and/or efficacy? Increase wellbeing?
  • Quality/Substance of PosterIs the poster clear and concise? Does it convey the essence of the project? Does it compete with or complement the message?
  • Overall PresentationDoes the presenter demonstrate command of the project? Is the topic effectively communicated to a lay audience? Does the pitch inspire further engagement? Do you feel compelled to share the project with others? (Based on day of pitch and presentation)
Snell Library Resources

Northeastern University Libraries have a number of resources available to help RISE presenters at many stages of the research process.

Resources include:

  • Experts at finding resources in your area of study, called “Subject Librarians.” Find your expert here.
  • GIS and Data Visualization Subject Guide for assistance with displaying your data graphically.
  • Walk-in office hours, open to students, faculty, and staff, and located at Snell Library, Room 243.
    • Data Visualization – Thursdays, 10:00AM – 12:00PM.
    • GIS – Thursdays, 1:00PM – 3:00PM.


Can’t make office hours? Email to schedule an appointment. Contact Snell!

  • Steven Braun, Data Analytics and Visualization Specialist, for further assistance.
  • Bahare Sanaie-Movahed, GIS Specialist, for further assistance with GIS, spatial analysis, or digital mapping.
Tips and Tools

Tips for Creating an Award Winning Poster

  • Use quadrants to organize your content.
  • Use headings and sub-headings to convey your message.
  • Highlight headings by italicizing, bolding, or using larger type.
  • Keep text segments to 50 words or fewer, use phrases over sentences.
  • Use dark colors against the light background – the opposite causes eye strain.
  • Use at least one image – a photo, graph, or illustration.
  • Keep graphics simple, clean, and, preferably, two-dimensional.
  • If using color images, make sure they don’t clash with the rest of the poster.
  • Balance the placement of text with blank space.
  • Consider the laws of symmetry when choosing how to organize text and images.

Tools for Creating an Award Winning Poster

Final Considerations

When revising your poster, ask:

  • If I encountered this poster, would I stop?
  • Is the poster layout visually interesting?
  • Are the important points labeled? (e.g., “Opportunity,” “Impact”)
  • Are the title and headings readable from a distance?
  • Is the text easy to read in terms of font and color?
  • Are my graphics relevant? Do they complement the text?
  • Is there balance between text, image, and blank space?
  • Would a non-expert be able to understand the content?