Poster Printing Guidelines

As a learner centered, discovery driven and globally engaged research unit, the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Western Michigan University understands the importance of learning to present knowledge and research both locally and at regional, national and international conferences and symposiums by traditionally offering poster printing services to our Geological and Environmental Sciences students at little or no cost. The guidelines to have your poster printed by department staff are outlined below.

Scheduling the printing of your poster

  • Plan to get your poster prepared and printed at least one week before you leave for a meeting. We have a large format printer, but problems do arise.
  • Check out the poster printing guidelines specific to each conference in advance of creating your poster. The department will provide to our students a maximum of one free poster printed for each conference or presentation a student attends.
  • You and your advisor or colleague should review in great detail and with multiple sets of eyes, each poster with the aid of a projector and whiteboard at least two weeks in advance of the presentation. Department staff are not responsible for mistakes contained in poster prints. Proofing is the sole responsibility of the requestor. Department staff can provide proofreading assistance upon request if their schedule allows for it. If department staff do provide assistance with proofreading the requestor should make an additional final check personally.
  • Print requests must be made and posters finalized at least 5 business days in advance of when the poster is needed. Allow 3 to 5 business days for printing. 
  • Posters charged to a grant or lab account will be assessed the full amount indicated on the order form. Pricing for additional posters or for extraneous requests are also listed on the order form.
  • Requests will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Contact department staff for current queue status.

Successfully creating a poster

  • Use Microsoft PowerPoint, Publisher or similar software to create your poster. Final posters can be submitted in .ppt(x), .pdf, .jpg or .png formats; other file formats will not be accepted for printing. The following templates may be modified as needed and are designed to produce a 48" x 36" poster.
  • The largest possible printable area is 42” by 96”. You can use custom page sizing to make your poster half the final size. (e.g., page size set at 21” x 42” and ultimately prints at 200 percent). The printer is 42" wide, so this is the limiting factor on poster size.
  • Use a minimum of 18pt font; 24pt is preferred (choose either 9 or 12pt if poster will print at 200%). If using PowerPoint, type the text in Microsoft Word or notepad and copy and paste it into PowerPoint as it can be somewhat tricky working with a huge page size.
  • Use a plain white or light-colored background. Drawn boxes around text can be useful. The University provides specific guidelines when using its visual identity (logos).
  • Sample poster guidelines: GSA Annual Meeting, Designing Conference Posters.
  • The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences offers these services as a convenience to our students but it should be noted that we are not a print shop and do not guarantee the availability of materials or staff resources. There are several commercial print shops nearby who can provide these services also.