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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Posters

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. The Data Visualization Catalog also shows types of visualization, including what kind of data works best with each type of viz.
  3. 50 Great Examples of Data Visualization
  4. Flowing data: Data visualization, infographics, and statistics
  5. Gallery of data visualization
  6. Data visualization: Modern approaches - Smashing Magazine
  7. Observable has a library of D3 graphics which can be forked and used with your project data. Full of ideas even if you don't copy their templates.
  8. Tableau Public is another free data visualization software.
  9. You could also create a tag cloud 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. 


  • 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 Brand Guidelines, 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.