Anatomy of a DH Poster

During poster sessions, researchers present their work through the medium of a large poster that they explain to passing attendees. Informal, interactive, and lively, poster sessions are a great opportunity for scholars of all stripes to share their research in a more personal setting.


Just like a good argument, an effective poster contains only what it needs to: it should be clear, coherent, and visually catchy (simply laid out, basic colors).

A DH poster does not need to follow a strict format like a STEM poster, which usually contains an Abstract, Hypothesis, Results, etc. However, it should include enough information for your reader to figure out what your research is about, including:

  • an evocative title in large enough font

  • a research question

  • the data you are working with

  • tools used

  • challenges

  • questions / next steps

  • written in an appropriate font (large enough to read comfortably. We recommend serif fonts for body text and sans serif for headings)

Concision and simplicity are important. A person should be able to get through your poster in five minutes. Aim for 800 words or fewer, if possible.

Don’t be afraid to be creative! You can use effective infographics or PowerPoint decks as a model. A simple Google search will turn up thousands of posters and poster templates--copy what you like, ignore the ones you don’t. 


So how exactly do you make a poster? The easiest answer is the ubiquitous Microsoft PowerPoint. Most of us already know how to use PowerPoint. Colin Purlington suggests that people seeking more bespoke solutions can check out programs like LaTex, Quark XPress, InDesign (free to Berkeley students via!), Scribus, Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Freehand, and Omnigraffle, Inkscape or Poster Genuis. These will give you more control, but might present a bit of a learning curve.

In Progress Posters

Your poster does not have to be a completed, finished, polished product. "In progress" posters are completely acceptable. These might include things like challenges (theoretical, technical, methods) to be tackled before moving onto the next stage of research.

What do I do during the Fair?

During the poster session, please stand alongside your poster to present your research to interested attendees.

  • You do not need to be by your poster for the entire duration of the Fair.

  • Think through some questions that others might have for your project and prepare how you might respond.


Print posters should be approximately 36” x 24” (vertical or horizontal).  If you would like to demo digital components of your project, let us know in advance.