Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

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.


Including visualizations can help your poster stand out and help others understand your research. 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 from our library on finding images

Other Visualization Resources:

  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 crowd of your interview data:

I used to create this tag cloud, then I took a screen shot of the image to put on this guide for you. 

Important considerations when using images on your poster

  • 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 If you’d like to use Illinois graphics, they can be found on the Office of Strategic Marketing & Branding Website, or you can find a few in the Illinois logo section of this guide. 
  • Many images on the web are protected under copyright and should not be used on a poster. 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. iStock ) 
    4. Take your own photos
  • 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.