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Tips for Arts and Humanities Poster Design

Think visually. Aim for visual impact and readability

Target a non-specialist audience who knows nothing about your research area

Use layout, image, and colour to communicate your research

Avoid cramming the page. Use space to guide the reader’s eye

Use images if you can. Avoid low resolution images that will look pixelated when printed

Use colour for visual appeal, and to highlight key points or make connections

Use colour carefully. Dark text on light backgrounds is easier to read

Keep text to a minimum (~ 300 words max. Less is more here)

  • Break text into small portions
  • Leave breathing space around your text
  • Ensure font sizes are large enough to read
  • Left-aligned text is easier to read than fully justified text

Avoid jargon

Include your name

Prooof raed carefuly!


You can design your poster in PowerPoint

Go to Design > Page set up

In the drop down menu for ‘slides size’, choose ‘custom’, enter the dimensions for A2 paper (42.0 and 59.4 cm) and then select portrait or landscape

When your poster is finished, go to File > Save & Send > Create PDF/XPS Document

Poster design resources

For inspiration, check out our previous HRC poster competition winners.

The Electronic Textuality and Theory Group's blog at Western University gives tips on designing posters for the arts and humanities.

The American Historical Association also gives some tips on why and how to design an effective humanities poster, as well as a post from the winner of their 2015 poster competition on why they found presenting a poster at a conference useful.

Try these tips from blogger Colin Purrington: or these from Berkeley University


These blogs mainly focus on academic posters for specialist conferences, but many of their tips are also applicable to posters designed for non-specialist audiences.

We look forward to receiving your entries!