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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Posters : Visualizations & images

Poster sessions at conferences and professional meetings are a way to visually convey the details of your research or conclusions. This guide will offer you the basics in design, content and printing resources.


There are lots of ways to include visualizations on your poster - graphs, charts, photographs, as well as many others. 

First, be sure to check out this concise guide on legally using images and/or this guide on finding and using images.

  1. Here is a chart of lots of different types of visualization strategies: A Periodic Table of Visualizations
  2. 50 Great Examples of Data Visualization
  3. Flowing data: Data visualization, infographics, and statistics
  4. Infographics and data visualization
  5. Gallery of data visualization
  6. Data visualization: Modern approaches - Smashing Magazine
  7. You could also create a tag cloud of your interview data:

I used Wordle to create this tag cloud, then I took a screen shot of the image to put on this guide for you. There are other tag cloud generators out there and lots of best practices

Images of posters

One way to add meaning to your poster is to use images.

  • You can find images on the web but you should be concerned with copyright law.
  • You can legally use photos in four ways: 1) find photos that are licensed as Creative Commons (flickr), 2) ask permission from the photographer, 3) buy your photos from a stock photo site (e.g. or 4) take your own photos.
  • Make sure that you don’t increase the photo from the original size. If you copy and paste the image and it’s too small, enlarging it will only pixilate your photo and it will not print properly on the final poster.
  • If you are attending a national conference, it is essential that you identify yourself as an affiliate of Illinois (not as important for our purposes in EUI). If you’d like to use Illinois graphics, they can be found on the Identity Standards website:

Generally speaking, photos as background images rarely look good. The image tends to overpower the text and make the poster hard to read. (If you must, you can fade out your image by using image editing software.) Instead, try using a background color or boxes to set off your text and images.