Three Steps For Successfully Designing And Printing A Scientific Poster

A lot of time and intellectual capital goes into the content of a scientific poster.  Additionally, a lot of time goes into the layout of that content for printing.  Unfortunately, many people creating these posters don’t realize how a printer needs to receive the file to produce the desired result.  Below are a few ways you can save yourself time, money and unnecessary frustration while achieving a great outcome.

1, Start With The Correct Size 

You may know what size you want your poster to be but don’t necessarily know how to lay it out to print at that size. If you are using a graphical design system, you should easily be able to set the size when starting your layout. However, if you’re like the majority of people designing a poster, you may lay it out in PowerPoint.  Most people start with a blank slide that is set to an aspect ratio of 4:3 or 16:9 which is based on different types of screen sizes, not printing.  If you start laying your poster out using one of these settings it will be almost impossible for it to be printed at your desired size and dimensions.  And if you try to resize the slide after you’ve laid it out you will find that most likely your text and graphics will shift, resulting in the need to rework just about everything.

To avoid that, start with the slide size first.  Open a new slide in PowerPoint.  Then select the “Design” tab.  In the upper left corner, you will see “Slide Size” with a drop-down menu.  From the menu, select “Custom Slide Size” which will open a pop-up menu.  Enter your poster size here.  For large posters you can cut the size in half but this will allow your printer to double the size when printing.  Following this step will insure your layout remains intact and that your poster will print correctly.

2.  Convert The File To PDF

Once you have your poster laid out and ready to send it to your printer make sure you save it as a PDF.  That’s ideal no matter which software you use but it is critical if you use PowerPoint.  Since you and your printer may have different versions of the software, problems can arise when your printer converts from PowerPoint to PDF.  For example, if your printer converts it, copy may disappear and/or graphical elements my change or shift.  If you save your file from PowerPoint as a PDF file you can avoid these types of problems at the printer.

3.  Work With An Experienced Printer

Lastly, before you get started, search online for a reputable printer in Boston or Cambridge who has expertise printing large format materials like banners and posters and especially scientific posters.  If you have concerns or questions, they are a great resource and would be happy to help you so that you don’t waste your time and effort and the files they receive from you will be ready to print.  They can also provide recommendations on materials depending on your use.  For example, more people who are flying to conferences are opting for fabric posters.  If you use the right printer, fabric posters reproduce as well as paper posters but can be folded and put in bags or luggage.  The bottom line is that a reputable printer will be happy to help you at any stage of the process but will take time out up front to make sure you achieve the outcome you are seeking and that the process is smooth.

In summary, you’ve put a look of hard work into the content that you need to present.  Following these three simple but important steps as you begin to lay out your scientific poster will allow you to easily produce a great looking presentation piece.

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