Poster Guidelines & Checklist


Photo of Posters at End of Year Event

A student discusses project findings with a guest at the RCP End-of-Year Celebration. © Steve Schneider, 2015

The following guidelines should serve as a reference in creating a poster that is both engaging and professional. A checklist is also included for you to review prior to submitting a final version of your poster to RCP. 

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Poster Guidelines


Your poster should allow someone unfamiliar with either the project or the partner community to get a basic understanding of the purpose and outcomes of the project. Posters do not need to look like dry research posters—be creative and engage your audience! At a minimum, your poster should:

    • Explain the problem or issue the project was intended to address;
    • Briefly describe the approach(es) or method(s) used;
    • Summarize the findings from the project (graphs or charts can be helpful); and
    • Offer conclusions or recommendations from the project

All posters must include a credit box that provides the following information:

Screenshot of Poster credits box

In addition, posters must include the RCP logo (downloadable at

Prior to turning in your rough draft, you should refer to the Poster Checklist (below).

Designing the Poster

    • Use Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, or PowerPoint to create the poster.
    • The poster should be designed to print at 32 inches by 40 inches. RCP will pay for printing and for foam core to display the poster.
    • The final product should be provided to RCP as a print-resolution PDF. If possible, also include the native files used to create the poster (i.e., the Illustrator, PowerPoint, or "packaged" InDesign file).

Use of Photos and Figures (includes maps, charts, graphs, renderings, illustrations, etc.)

    • Include an appropriate credit line for all photos and figures (even those you created). Ideally this should include the name of the photographer and/or the individual or entity that owns the copyright to the photo. For example, “© The Regents of the University of Minnesota, 2018. Photo by NAME.”
    • Include titles and/or explanatory captions for photos and figures as appropriate. Captions should accurately and truthfully communicate the event or subject being depicted. Avoid attributing meaning, thought, intention, etc. to the individuals or actions depicted in the photos unless you know these claims to be truthful.
    • Images should not be digitally altered. Scaling, minor cropping, and reasonable technical enhancements (correcting contrast, white balance, exposure, saturation, etc.) are acceptable, but it is never acceptable to alter a photo in a way that portrays a subject dishonestly. If you use a photo as a base for adding photo-realistic elements (e.g., adding human figures to a photo without any people in it in order to depict activity), you must include a caption that clearly indicates the image is a “photo illustration” and has been altered.
    • Be sure to use images and figures with suitable resolution for printing. A native resolution of 300 dpi at the size the image will be printed is recommended; lower resolution images may appear normal on your computer screen, but will look pixelated when printed.

Uses of the Poster

The Creative Commons license that you entered into with RCP licenses the poster for noncommercial uses only, including but not limited to:

    • Display at the RCP End-of-Year Celebration (your team will be invited to attend the event)
    • Posting on the RCP website
    • Display by the partner community or their partners for various outreach purposes
    • Archiving in the University of Minnesota’s Digital Conservancy

Payment Terms

    • RCP will pay one student $100, two students $75 each, or three students $50 each upon completion of the poster. 
    • Payment will be in the form of a prepaid VISA gift card.
    • You will receive the gift card upon RCP review and approval of the poster, and delivery of the PDF and native files by the final due date.

Poster Checklist

Before sending a rough draft to RCP for feedback, check to be sure your poster meets the following criteria.

When creating the poster, remember to assume that your audience is unfamiliar with your project. Most of the audience will not be knowledgeable in your field, so avoid jargon and acronyms. If you must use technical terms, be sure to define them.

☐ Font size is appropriate.

    • Main headings: approx. 96–108 pt (1.5 in.) 
    • Sub-titles: approx. 72 pt (1 in) 
    • Explanatory text: approx. 24–36 pt

☐ Includes credit box with the following:

    • Course designator, number, and course title (e.g. PA 5311: Program Evaluation)
    • Term and year (e.g., fall semester 2018)
    • Description of RCP (see guidelines on page 1 for suggested explanation)
    • Names of students who worked on the project
    • Names of students who worked on the poster
    • Name of course instructor
    • Name of staff lead for the project from the partner community

☐ Includes RCP logo (downloadable at

☐ Includes a brief explanation of problem/issue project addressed (background/context for the project)

☐ Includes description of approaches or methods used for the project

Includes the findings from the project

☐ Includes the conclusions or recommendations from the project

☐ Includes images, graphs, photos, renderings, etc., with an appropriate credit line  for each
(even those you created)

☐ Images, graphs, etc. are a suitable resolution for printing (see guidelines above)

☐ Images, charts, graphs, etc., include appropriate titles and/or explanatory captions as needed

☐ Poster is formatted to print at 32 inches x 40 inches

☐ Poster is visually appealing (be creative!) and easy to read

    • Font is legible and easy to read from a few feet away 
    • No long paragraphs (bullet points are good)
    • Background colors and images do not distract or make it difficult to read
    • Text for bullet points has parallel syntax 
    • Minimal technical terms, jargon, acronyms

☐ Poster has been double-checked for spelling and grammatical errors

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