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URMC / Education / Graduate Education / URBest Blog / July 2019 / Visual and UX Design Principles Can Improve the Effectiveness of Poster Sessions

Visual and UX Design Principles Can Improve the Effectiveness of Poster Sessions

By Derek Crowe, PhD Candidate in Biomedical Genetics 

Mike Morrison’s better poster style encourages scientists to distill their message, a critical step in creating effective posters. Dramatic physical layout constraints are the primary mechanism employed to help users consolidate their story, though this strategy costs a significant portion of the available poster space. Principles of visual design can guide users to achieve the same effective communication as intended by Morrison without sacrificing valuable poster real estate, as demonstrated here in a series of new poster layouts. These designs also incorporate user experience (UX) considerations of realistic time and social expectations during audience interactions at poster presentations. Multiple variations are offered in attempt to accommodate a wide variety of preferences and use cases. (Also, science jargon aside they’re just some free powerpoint templates on a website; you monsters can do whatever you want with them.) 

Sample Poster

Find the full story and the poster templates at

There you will learn:

  • A well-crafted message is more important than any layout design. 
  • Posters are performances and audience members should have a voice in their experience.
  • Visual design principles can help make poster sessions more effective.
  • All academic disciplines can help us approach our world with curiosity.

And lastly, if you find Derek's website useful, thank him at and consider (in his own words):

How STEM-focused rhetoric necessarily excludes the contributions of fields like design—disciplines that work to facilitate our ability to perform the scientific process, which includes communication. Words matter. This world is weird and we need all the help we can get in approaching it with curiosity. If we desire for others to learn from our work, let’s demonstrate what that takes by listening to theirs.

Tracey Baas | 7/19/2019

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