Creating a Research Poster: A Learning Path

Learning paths road sign.I need to assemble a research poster – how do I get started, and what programs can I use to make a poster?  And how do I make graphs to display my data?

With programs like InDesign, Illustrator, and Microsoft Publisher, with a little help from Microsoft Excel, you can create an eye-catching poster to showcase your research project.  Illustrator and Excel can be used to create attractive graphs to display any data you wish to share, and you can pull everything together in InDesign or Publisher and lay out the contents of your poster.  Before you start building your poster, there are a few steps you can take to help get things rolling.

Photograph of a pad of paper, with a rough design for a poster sketched out on it.Having a general idea of how your poster will look will help you get started – think about how things will be laid out on the page, what colors you’ll be using, and what fonts you’ll be using for your poster.  A rough sketch of what you want your poster to look like when it’s finished may be helpful, and you can use that as a road map of where things should end up on your poster.  Make notes about the colors you might want to use, and fonts you might want to use for headings and body text – when you start building your poster, you’ll have everything you need planned out already and can focus on laying things out.  You’ll also want to make sure to collect any images you want to include, the data you want to present, and the text of your poster in one location before you start working.  Once you have those items together, the following learning paths will help you create your poster.

Creating a Poster

Poster Learning Path 1: Using InDesign to Create a Poster

This path starts out with the basics of page design and layout, and introduces you to the basic page design principles that help make an effective publication.  Once you’ve got an idea of what goes into building a poster, you’ll then learn the basics of using InDesign, and get some experience laying out a document.  Once you’ve had some experience with InDesign, you’ll learn how to lay out a poster that includes graphic, text, and some simple text treatments.

Poster Learning Path 2: Using Microsoft Publisher to Create a Poster

Learning the basics of page layout and design is important, no matter what program you use to create your poster!  After you’ve familiarized yourself with page design principles, the lynda.com video Publisher 2013 Essential Training will help you get started if you’re new to Microsoft Publisher.

Creating Graphs

If you need to create your own graphs and charts for your poster, the following learning paths can assist you in the process.  Both Illustrator and Excel can help you make attractive charts and graphs for your research poster.

 Charts & Graphs Learning Path 1: Using Excel to Create Charts & Graphs

Microsoft Excel offers built-in chart and graph creation features which allow you to create captivating visualizations of your data that you can add to your poster.

Charts & Graphs Learning Path 2: Using Illustrator to Create Charts & Graphs

If you prefer to create your charts and graphs entirely from scratch, you might consider using Illustrator to display your data.  Illustrator can be used to create individualized charts and graphics, and can also be used to create infographics to display data.

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