A poster is a medium of increasing importance and has become widely used to communicate technical information in a form with greater immediacy than is possible in a formal report. Designing posters is quite different from writing reports.
Enabling students to develop the skill of technical poster design is the main objective. A secondary objective is to produce a collection of attractive posters to help inspire future students with enthusiasm for engineering.
The first thing to recognise is that the poster is not a cut down version of the final report. You should have done too much work to describe adequately on one page. So you must decide what message you want to convey with the poster. For example, in an experimental project it could be some aspect of the results, or it could be the design of the test rig or the theory used to analyse the results.
Then you must make it eye-catching. Think out how you will put over your ideas in a way that will make people want to stop and read your poster. The best way is to tell your story in pictures (photographs, graphics, drawings, graphs) as much as you can.
Finally fill in the gaps with words. You must use a large font (preferable at least 32 point font) or people will not be able to read from a comfortable distance. Keep the blocks of text short. Try to make each block put over a particular point, preferably illustrated by a nearby figure.
Finally lay out the poster. You want to make it lead the reader through the story you are trying to tell, so it must be obvious where to start. Then try to lead the eye through the poster in the sequence you want.
There are a lot of posters in the stair wells, and these are the best produced by students over the past few years. Do study and learn from them. See which ones attract your attention and try to adapt the techniques used to your own content.
The two examiners will award a single agreed mark for the poster based on its presentation quality, the student’s judgement of the appropriate content and the quality of the work described.
To obtain an excellent mark, it will be necessary both to have good work to describe and to present it well.
The Poster must be submitted as both a computer file in PowerPoint (.ppt) format on a CD-ROM or DVD disk, together with the project report, and printed on an A4 sheet. Do not print it full size.
The poster should be designed for display as A2 size, but you should not print it full size. The text and figures should be sized so that they can be read at a distance of at least 1.5m. This requires a text size of 20 point font minimum, and preferably 36 point.
Avoid blocks of solid colour. This just uses a lot of expensive ink and annoys the computer technician. Instead, use a textured background such as dots. This uses much less ink and makes the foreground text more readable.
The Poster should not be just a version of the Final Report. It is a fundamental mistake to try to cram too much onto it. It is also a mistake to waste time on fussy or ‘arty’ features which often serve only to distract attention from the core technical message that needs to be conveyed. The style should be technical rather than commercial or ‘popular’ and it should convey a technical, scientific or business impression. Nevertheless, it should be pleasing to the eye, which requires good use of graphics.
Selected Posters will be displayed by the School to showcase the work of our students.