Creating a Research Poster in Photoshop

Things to consider before beginning:

Photoshop is a good tool for creating research posters. It is easy to drag, resize and rotate images onto your canvas, layer and line up objects like images, color fields and text to compose a complex presentation.

However, if you are completely unfamiliair with Photoshop, opening up a blank document may seem a daunting task. Please contact an Instructional Technologist to get assistance by calling x4848, Mon-Thu 8:30-7, Fri 8:30-4:30.

Each semester LTS offers Student Workshops and Photoshop is among the most popular. Check the Student Workshops calendar to see if a Photoshop session is being offered soon!

If you do not think you will have the opportunity to learn Photoshop in time, please consider using PowerPoint to create your poster instead. Keep in mind PowerPoint cannot create slides with dimensions larger than 56".

NOTE: Once you have created your poster in Photoshop, you can print it directly from Photoshop after Flattening the Image down to one layer. However, if you are using unconventional fonts and complex formatting, it is highly recommended that you save a PDF copy and print the file from Adobe Reader.

As soon as you know you are going to use the plotter:

Reserve an hour-long appointment to print your poster using these Google Calendars:

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Instructions for creating a plotter appointment (60 min slot)

Reserve the plotter for 1 hour per poster. If there are no problems with your document, it will print in around 30 minutes. We add the extra time to the reservation in case there are problems with the file.

Create a new poster file:

  • Open Photoshop.
  • Go to File --> New
  • Set Width to 46.5 and Height to 33
  • Set the Resolution to 300dpi
  • Set the Color Mode to 16-bit CMYK Color
  • Click OK.

Create your poster using the following tips:

  • Concentrate on your main points. Too much text will force you to make your font too small and therefore hard to read.
  • Use large or high-resolution images for your poster
    • if you're getting images from Google Search, make sure to enable the Search Tools and set the Size of the image you're looking for to "Large"

  • Follow the rules of C.R.A.P. to make your poster more visually effective and easier to read.

C - color and contrast (create a significant contrast between the background colors and text)
R - repetition (positive - use a well chosen palette of a few of colors (3-4 max), fonts (2-3, including bolding and italicizing) and font sizes (2-3 max) throughout your document; negative - avoid redundancy)
A - alignment (choose a strong alignment - create a visual cohesiveness, order out of chaos!)
P - proximity and placement (consider spacing and how elements are arranged - the arrangement and spacing of elements reveals their relationship to one another)

After you create your poster in Photoshop:

It is highly recommended that you save a PDF copy and print the file from Adobe Reader.

If you are using a special font, or your project contains complex formatting with lots of layered images, moving the original file from one computer to another or one Operating System to another may result in the shifting of the media you've included. Fonts may also be substituted if the original font used in the project is unavailable on the computer from which you are printing. Saving as PDF preserves fonts and formatting.

When you arrive at the plotter:

Follow the instructions provided by the computer or print the instructions for the respective printer:

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