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Designing Posters for the Humanities and Social Sciences: Home

This guide provides users with the basics of design and color theory, conceptual models for inclusion of interesting content and practical advice for translating poster designs from the computer screen to print matter.

Guide Purpose

This guide is designed to aid students in the humanities and social science design aesthetically attractive, informative posters to use in presentations. The guide covers areas of aesthetic design such as color theory and layout, as well as information organization. Students with questions about this guide or its general topic may contact Krista White, Digital Humanities Librarian at the Dana Library in Newark.

Comments and suggestions for additions to this guide and its companion workshop are welcome.

Conference Poster Design Blogs and Resources

Poster Basics by Sherry Wynn Perdue at Oakland University. An excellent PowerPoint presentation providing essentials for the creation of effective posters.

Stephanie Krom's Poster Tips for Humanities Conference Posters An excellent starter guide for humanities students who want to translate their research into a poster format.

Designing Conference Posters by Colin Purrington. This is a guide designed for science students, but has a wealth of good, general design information for creating a successful poster.  Purrington, C.B. Designing conference posters. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from

Data Visualization - Cousin of the Poster Presentation

There are important takeaways for creating posters taught by data visualization experts. Some posters will have visualizations in them, but some of the general rules of data visualization - don't overload the information - are universally applicable.

Edward Tufte, Grand Master of Data Visualization - Tufte is THE expert on data visualization. Explore his blog to get a sense of how to present non-visual information visually.

Chart Dos and Don'ts from the Duke University Libraries - a quick guide to data visualization. Information here can be extrapolated to general use by humanities and social sciences posters.

Poster Creation Practicalities

What should I use to create my poster?

Unless you are facile with another program, the easiest way to create a poster is to use Microsoft PowerPoint or another presentation software program. You'll want to customize the size. As Krom notes, posters are typically very large, a minimum of 36x48 inches.

Where can I print my poster in Newark?

Rutgers faculty, students and staff may print posters at the Bradley Hall computer labs on the 4th floor of Bradley Hall. Lab hours are posted via this link. There is a fee of $1.75/sq foot for printing large format posters.

Layout Theory: The Designer's Guide to the Golden Ratio. This page provides you with information about the Golden Ratio as a design concept, with helpful illustrations to help incorporate the proportions of the Golden Ratio into poster designs easily.

Color Theory Guide from the Desktop Publishing course at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. This tutorial provides an excellent overview of how different color combinations work, including examples from professional publications. Understanding how color schemes function will enable you to create more attractive posters.

Color Theory Guide from Interface Design for the WWW course at New York University. This particular tutorial is especially useful for understanding the differences between on-screen color and printed color. Knowing how each type of color works will aid you in designing posters that look closer to what you create on the screen after printout.

Guide Owners

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Krista White
Digital Scholarship & Pedagogies Librarian

John Cotton Dana Library, Rutgers-Newark
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