Preparing your poster or display

Basis for Posters or Displays

Entries should be based on research or creative activity you’ve engaged in significantly during the past year. Standards of the entries are expected to be at the level that is common at regional and national discipline meetings. Discuss these expectations with your faculty mentor.

Printed Posters

See Poster Guidelines and Templates for tips, poster size requirements, and related details like costs and deadlines for printing at the Pixel Lab.

Ask your department whether departmental funds are available to cover the cost of printing your poster. If not, and you are a graduate student, the Office of Research and Economic Development has set up a special fund with the Pixel Lab to cover the cost of printing the poster. To be considered for this support, check the box on the registration form.

Other Display Methods

Students interested in using other display methods must submit their ideas on the registration form and will be contacted further. Presenters will be given a space roughly the size of a 6-8’ table. A table can be provided and other resources may be available. 

A limited number of TVs will be available for electronic materials or creative displays.  Please select that option when you submit your registration.  Students will be notified if they will be provided a TV for their display, so those who want to present electronically should plan to bring a laptop, computer monitors, and/or other display methods.

Poster and Creative Exhibit Guidelines and Templates

A poster or creative exhibit is a visual representation of the work that you have accomplished; it should “tell the story” of the work you have done.

This page provides general tips and some requirements specific to the UNL Spring Research Fair but you should follow any discipline-specific guidelines when developing your poster or creative exhibit. Talk to your advisor or mentor about the norms for developing a poster or creative exhibit in your discipline.

Composing your poster

Size and Layout

The maximum poster size for the UNL Research Fair is 29×40 inches or 39×48 inches (in either dimension), and using one of the templates provided by the Pixel Lab is strongly encouraged.

Draw a rough sketch of your poster first. Space information proportionally. Divide your poster horizontally or vertically into three or four sections. Use index cards, or use graph paper and cut-up sticky notes, to visualize where the components of your poster will go.

Background color is up to you; however, lighter colors (pastels, greys) typically provide the best contrast for text, graphic, and photographic elements. Use a light background with darker photos or a dark background with lighter photos.

Aim for 20% text, 40% graphics, and 40% empty space.  Look critically at your layout. Cluttered posters are difficult to read. Your poster should stimulate discussion, not give a long presentation. When in doubt, edit.


Use text sparingly. Your poster’s purpose is to tell a story but the poster is primarily a visual representation.

Recommended font sizes if using Helvetica:

Producing your poster

Remember to proofread before you assemble or print your poster!

Printed Posters

The  Pixel Lab in Henzlik Hall provides printing and laminating services at affordable rates.

For the 2024 Study Research Days: