Poster impressions

From meandering among the thousands of posters on display, I will share some impressions of things that I liked and things I disliked. These will be very related to a personal Dos and Don’ts for posters, though I promise that these points are really based on what I saw here, and are not my generic poster rules. Some of them are about the content of posters, and some are about the aesthetics. Here we go:


  • Write the title in a big enough font such that it is legible from at least the middle of an SfN poster row
  • Use colours, but in a way that they help tell the story of your data (and not in a way that they distract from the data)
  • Have a border with space (i.e. do not push the contents up to the very edges)
  • Generally have some white space
  • Use consistent colour coding helps the reader understand and follow the data


  • Put so much stuff that you had to decrease the font size again and again
  • Use a 3-line title full of jargon
  • Show your group data only in bar charts (if you’re wondering why not, check out this paper)
  • Put your stuff in boxes with very rounded edges, or differently rounded edges in different boxes – it takes unnecessary space and I find it kind of ugly, though of course that is personal taste
  • And finally on the size of the poster: small posters look kind of sad on these huge poster boards, but so do posters that overlap the edge of the board

Dynamic posters

For me, the majority of dynamic posters I saw did not work out particularly well (one exception, admittedly). I think there are several reasons for that:

  • They are still shown as posters which were most likely designed to go on a piece of paper that is much bigger than the screen, so it is hard to see the stuff on it, mostly it is too small
  • Even though many data types that neuroscientists use could work well in a ‘dynamic’ format, I have yet to see more than one really nice implementation. Maybe that is because we are not used to show ‘dynamic data’? (Though some people have published dynamic figures!)

What are your thoughts?

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