Do you have any good examples of academic poster design? Most posters look exactly the same (I don't want to pick on anyone in particular), and from my experience at conferences, almost nobody reads them. There's a good article on this here.

What I rarely see is:

  • Clean layout - everything is wrapped in boxes and coloured backgrounds
  • Nice typography - it's rare that the text is legible from a foot or two back
  • Data that doesn't look like it was copied straight out of Excel
  • Consistent use of colour

Can you share any examples of good design?

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    Can't think of any examples, but if you want a good overarching principle, think hierarchy - between each element, there should be a clear simple logical order and flow, and within each element, there should be a hierarchy such that you can get the gist quickly, some detail with modest effort, or all the detail with effort, in that order. The primary purpose of colour, fonts, styling etc should be to draw attention to and through this hierarchy – user56reinstatemonica8 Sep 11 '12 at 21:26
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    Some thoughts here: edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00017C – YXD Sep 12 '12 at 0:13

I can't remember a single academic poster, from my 'scientific years', that was (at all) well designed. All I can think of are walls and walls full of text (usually in the same font), and me not reading even 10% of them. But to be honest, most teams wouldn't have the budget for (or the tradition of) hiring designers to do them.

Posters usually need to cover a whole research project, and follow a certain constrained structure. They are mostly based on published work (or work that will be published soon), so they have to organise the information in a more or less standardised way (abstract/intro, problem, conclusion). I'm not sure about this, but I think most of them turn into publications sooner or later, so they are like a step in between.

I am curious about your question, though, I think it's a really good one. Doing a quick search I realised the best 'posters' I've seen are infographics, so you can probably incorporate some of those principles to the boring old poster. I can't really find any good examples from hard sciences, but this is how I would imagine a good poster could look like:

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Edit: Found two new ones (the first is the winner for me)!

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    Thanks for your excellent reply. To answer a few questions - in my field (computer vision) you submit a paper to a conference, and it will either get accepted with an oral presentation, accepted with a poster, or rejected. So posters normally accompany a finished piece of work and are done after the paper. (Occasionally there will be some smaller event or grad-student get-together where you might have a poster for work-in-progress though.) – YXD Sep 11 '12 at 23:41
  • Infographics are a good idea for inspiration. The differences/considerations are perhaps that the poster will sometimes have one of the authors standing there to talk you through it (so in that case it could be seen as a prop), it'll be big (A0), and it'll be fighting for attention in a busy room. I'm really impressed by the examples you managed to find. I agree that I've never seen a well-designed academic poster, and I've seen a lot! – YXD Sep 11 '12 at 23:47

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