Research posters

Champion sponsor of the Annual Meeting

Reported by Sarah Sabir


  • Mike Morrison, Science Communication Designer, University of Michigan

If you’ve ever presented a poster at a scientific congress, chances are that you’ve experienced meeting attendees walking straight past your poster with a plate of food in hand. Can we really blame them?

Most scientific posters have the same predictable layout and are likely packed with a lot of data. This has been the case for over 30 years, Mike explained, and the result is a bottleneck for scientific exchange.

Introducing poster 2.0! Mike shared that congress attendees have the potential to leave a poster hall armed with key takeaways from each poster. Posters should be designed with engaging visual aspects and simple key messages, making information easy to digest by someone walking past.

One key element in making a research poster more immediately engaging is to make the title a statement of the most important finding. This makes the most compelling content visible, delivers the key message and can engage attendees to find out more.

Mike finished his presentation with two golden rules for posters.

1. Don’t put things on your poster that people will ignore.

2. People will ignore most things.

While some pharma clients have started to adopt the new poster layout, attendees questioned how to balance scientific rigour and how to avoid the perception of cherry-picking data with the need to present in an engaging way.

About the author

Name: Sarah Sabir
Job role: Medical Writer, Oxford
Time at Oxford PharmaGenesis: 2 years
What am I most looking forward to at ISMPP? Hearing about why and how to individualize and tailor communications to reach our audiences, and joining discussions at the ORCID roundtable co-moderated by Paul Farrow