Poster Printing Guidelines

This page has been prepared to offer design advice for graduate and undergraduate students preparing posters for competition.  

When designing your poster - ask yourself:

Is the subject matter displayed in a logical, easy-to-follow manner? 

Are the text and figures easy to read?

Is the poster too “cluttered”?

Is there an apparent visual hierarchy to lead the eye?

Is there a positive initial response to the “feel” of the poster?

Is the color used conducive to theme and visual contrast?



In general, sans-serif fonts work best (sans-serif = Arial, Helvetica serif=Times New Roman).

Keep sizes consistent! Use ONE font size for headings, ONE font size for body text.

Use only ONE font family - do not mix different styles of fonts

Suggested fonts: Helvetica Neue, Avenir, Century Gothic, Arial

Avoid justified alignment, it makes for odd gaps and blocky text

Use bullet points wisely, sparingly



Less is more! Try to limit your color scheme to a single color with lighter and darker shades, if using more than one color try to stick with just one accent color

If your research necessitates the use of many multicolored graphs and visuals - limit your poster design to black and white, greys, or a single color.

Dark backgrounds rarely work. Avoid using LIGHT text on a DARK background - it is difficult to read

Use gradients sparingly (if at all).


Visual Hierarchy/Layout:

Tell a story - Introduction, Process/method, Conclusion, Acknowledgements

Use boxes to define space and contain information

Work top-bottom, left-right when possible


Wordmarks and logos

Both the Penn State shield logo and MatSE wordmark are required.  The Penn State logo should always be placed in the upper left of your poster, it is recommended that the MatSE wordmark be placed in the upper right.  
Logo's/wordmarks can be downloaded here in a variety of styles and formats.  Use logo’s AS DOWNLOADED - do not modify color, add outlines, etc.