I'm going to participate to a conference and they ask me to do a poster on my research. I've never made a poster for a conference/seen a poster session in a conference. So what is important? What do you want to see in a poster (references, basic definitions and ideas)? What are the things that must not appear in a poster (completed proofs?)? What is a poster session?

PS : My subject of research is about PDE (theoretical point of view : existence of a solution, regularity, unicity) and I'm going to a conference about Numerical Analysis (mostly) and PDE.

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    $\begingroup$ You will find some good advice at academia.stackexchange.com/questions/2330/… $\endgroup$
    – Mark Grant
    Mar 4, 2014 at 9:33
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    $\begingroup$ For specifically in math, I would like to see: Not a poster. More seriously: In most mathematical topics, a poster will rarely be able to effectively communicate the important results due to simply lacking the space needed for this (unless the poster was to be aimed at someone who is already familiar with all the notation needed, but that is rarely the point of posters). $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2014 at 9:52
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    $\begingroup$ I disagree with @TobiasKildetoft, I enjoy the posters, but they need to have nice images, and the harder details can be left to the presenter to explain. I work with combinatorics, so new results using bijective proofs are perfect to "prove" on a poster by giving a few pictorial examples. $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2014 at 10:04
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    $\begingroup$ Even better, same advice as for a conference talk: state the results, explain the importance, but avoid any proofs! (Citing Gelfand, "we all can prove things; give us statements".) $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2014 at 10:28
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    $\begingroup$ In numerical analysis, they are used to have posters, something less common in other topics of mathematics (I ve seen once a poster session in algebraic geometry, most people did not know how to do it). Once your poster is done, I suggest you to try to find a colleague in numerical analysis that could have a look and give you advice. $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2014 at 10:35

4 Answers 4


According to my opinion, a poster should:

a) give rough ideas and hints rather than details.

b) be the starting point of a mathematical conversation. Make the people interested in your topic. In the best case there is an obvious good question that people will want to ask after scanning the poster.

c) make clear the take home message. What do you want people to remember about your work?

d) contain as little distraction as possible.

If not all conference participants know you already, then I think it is nice to include a photo of yourself. It makes you easier to recognize as the author of that particular poster.


Know your audience so that you can communicate to them most effectively.

Text should be large enough to be seen from 5 feet away. The pieces should be organized in a way that leads the viewer through the display.

Make illustrations simple and bold.

The display should be self-explanatory so that you are free to talk.

Keep displays simple and text brief; a viewer should "get it" in 30 seconds.

You can provide in-depth information in a handout.

A neutral colored poster on matte board is more pleasing to the eye than one on a bright colored background.

Organize your material and edit your content to eliminate distracting visual noise.

When in doubt, edit out; make sure every item is necessary.

Take a note pad and pen for notes, extra thumbtacks, pins, tape or glue.

Here are some templates of posters. you can use of online latex to make a nice poster with Latex . https://www.overleaf.com/gallery/tagged/poster

And http://www.latextemplates.com/cat/conference-posters

Here is good advise to make a scientific poster http://www.personal.psu.edu/drs18/postershow/


I learned in a course on scientific writing and communication that sometimes when someone tries really hard to make a poster aesthetically pleasing, the aesthetics end up being visually distracting from the main content. An analogy I once heard for this is that a good poster should have a high signal-to-noise ratio.


I recommend the highly entertaining "Guidelines on Graphics" on pp 91-97 of http://anorien.csc.warwick.ac.uk/mirrors/CTAN/graphics/pgf/base/doc/pgfmanual.pdf


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