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Old Feb 1, 2007, 02:58 PM   #1
dolphin842
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Creating a 46" x 40" conference poster

Hi all,

I'm heading to a conference in April and have been given instructions to create a 46" x 40" poster to display my work. It will consist mostly of text and perhaps a few graphics.

I've not made such a poster before so I was wondering how best to go about it, i.e. what software to use, what settings (such as dpi) to use, what format to output for the print shop, etc. I have access to the Adobe Suite in the campus lab.

Any advice would be much appreciated!
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Old Feb 1, 2007, 03:11 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by dolphin842 View Post
Hi all,

I'm heading to a conference in April and have been given instructions to create a 46" x 40" poster to display my work. It will consist mostly of text and perhaps a few graphics.

I've not made such a poster before so I was wondering how best to go about it, i.e. what software to use, what settings (such as dpi) to use, what format to output for the print shop, etc. I have access to the Adobe Suite in the campus lab.

Any advice would be much appreciated!
Depending on how you want it printed (material) Kinkos & most large local print shops will charge between $8 & $15 per sqft. I would use Illustrator if possible; if you must use Photoshop I would suggest a 300dpi file (you could probably fudge as low as 180dpi depending on the viewing distance)
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Old Feb 1, 2007, 03:24 PM   #3
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It depends on whether the graphics you intend to use are of a photographic nature or they are already in a vector format. If it's all vector (ie, smooth lines that don't pixelate when you enlarge) probably Illustrator is the way to go. You won't need to worry about dpi at all.

So it depends on how familiar you are with the software. What sort of and graphics are you using.

If you're comfortable with it, InDesign might be best to use as all the text will be easy to manipulate and give you enough control. The graphics, whether photographic or vector are easily imported in their own boxes.

You might want to prepare the photos first in photoshop to have them at or close to the size reqired and save as cmyk.

For a poster 150 dpi for images is more than adequate.

You may also consider preparing the entire job in Photoshop and saving as a CMYK pdf, if you do that you *will* need to set the dpi at 150, this will be a big file maybe about 150Mb but it's not that big really. Photoshop may be easier to use if you are not familiar with laying out in InDesign.

My gut reaction (in your particular case) would be for you to do this in Photoshop, you'll be able to do more interesting and fun things with the text and graphics.
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Old Feb 1, 2007, 03:39 PM   #4
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I've had a bit of Photoshop experience but none with InDesign so I'll probably try the former first.

Thanks for the replies!
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Old Feb 1, 2007, 03:41 PM   #5
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I would suggest less text and a few nice graphics. It's a poster, no one is gonna stand there and read it all.
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Old Feb 1, 2007, 03:46 PM   #6
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Do they really mean that you must have a single sheet poster that big, or just one that fits in that space? Do you know anyone who has been to the conference before you could ask?

The common approach I have used in the past is to make a series of 11x17" (~A3) panels each mounted on separate poster boards and mount them as a mosaic at the conference. Each panel can then easily be deisgned in Powerpoint/Keynote and reused for oral presentations.

This approach has another advantage besides removing the difficulty of creating the single sheet in the first place, in that you can reuse panels if you have another poster to present.

Quote:
Originally Posted by heehee View Post
I would suggest less text and a few nice graphics. It's a poster, no one is gonna stand there and read it all.
Agreed. Don't forget the main reason for poster presentations, meeting other people in your field and selling yourself. The goal of a successful poster is to get the other people at the conference to talk to you, so give them enough room to ask questions and entice them with text and graphics that are readable from some distance. (Don't just pin up an archival paper).

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Old Feb 1, 2007, 11:55 PM   #7
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balamw, thanks for the idea about having multiple smaller pieces. The conference is sketchy on what is or isn't allowed... they just provide the dimensions of the space they give you to velcro the poster to.

It's my first conference poster, so I appreciate the style tips as well!
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Old Feb 2, 2007, 12:28 AM   #8
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For some of the meetings that I go to we need to have posters of our work. Last year I made a 3' by 4' by simply making a custom size slide in Keynote (some of my co-workers were using PowerPoint), and making the entire poster there. Then we had it printed on a large-format printer. Worked well.
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Old Feb 2, 2007, 09:45 AM   #9
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Scribus is a decent publishing program that's open source. I used it to make a poster for a graduate research class.

http://www.scribus.net/
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Old Feb 2, 2007, 09:54 AM   #10
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This is a technical conference and a research poster, right? You can actually do pretty well at this just using Powerpoint (and presumably either pages or keynote can do this too). And it'll be a lot less painful editing primarily text in PPT than it will in Photoshop.

Take a look at my research website...

http://phhp.ufl.edu/~mkrishna/

All the posters at the bottom are done in powerpoint.

The other thing is that you can often print these posters on plotters, if you're at a university -- ask the campus computing labs. Here at Univ. of Florida, it only costs $3 to do so. Usually, this means you end up with 36x48, but typically at conferences, 75% of people ignore the conference recommended size, and use that one.
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Old Feb 2, 2007, 10:14 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mkrishnan View Post
This is a technical conference and a research poster, right? You can actually do pretty well at this just using Powerpoint (and presumably either pages or keynote can do this too). And it'll be a lot less painful editing primarily text in PPT than it will in Photoshop.

Take a look at my research website...

http://phhp.ufl.edu/~mkrishna/

All the posters at the bottom are done in powerpoint.

The other thing is that you can often print these posters on plotters, if you're at a university -- ask the campus computing labs. Here at Univ. of Florida, it only costs $3 to do so. Usually, this means you end up with 36x48, but typically at conferences, 75% of people ignore the conference recommended size, and use that one.
I suggest using powerpoint as well. I had to do a poster presentation at my university and they said to use powerpoint.

I remember that it cost a lot to get it printed. Luckily I didn't have to pay for it.

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Old Feb 2, 2007, 12:46 PM   #12
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Check www.bamagazine.com. It's the fifth article down.
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Old Feb 2, 2007, 03:17 PM   #13
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Thanks again all for your suggestions!

Mohan, thanks for pointing to your posters... it's good to see that you can get that type of output just from powerpoint.
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Old Jul 19, 2007, 01:08 AM   #14
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Old Jul 19, 2007, 06:14 AM   #15
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ok I'm going to suggest something that has not been suggested as far as I can see.

Speak to the company/people who are doing the printing, they should know their equipment better than anyone else. You can also get an idea of what software they have available (they may not have keynote/powerpoint for example), what formats they prefer for printing etc.

Spending 10-15mins speaking with the printer could save you a lot of wasted time if you pick the "wrong" program.

However as a general rule, the 150dpi etc I agree about (seems to be about right for the larger prints in my experience)

In regards the work less text more pictures is probably the best approach.
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Old Jul 19, 2007, 08:16 AM   #16
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Hi all,

In the end, I used OmniGraffle to create the poster... the alignment guides, paper size/margin specifications, and other niceties came in handy. The engineering department on campus had a large-format printer and was able to print it out (in color, no less!) for free. I just handed him a PDF generated from OmniGraffle and everything was good to go.
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Old Jul 19, 2007, 08:44 AM   #17
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Sounds nice. Picture?
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Old Jul 19, 2007, 08:51 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkrishnan View Post
This is a technical conference and a research poster, right? You can actually do pretty well at this just using Powerpoint (and presumably either pages or keynote can do this too). And it'll be a lot less painful editing primarily text in PPT than it will in Photoshop.

Take a look at my research website...

http://phhp.ufl.edu/~mkrishna/

All the posters at the bottom are done in powerpoint.

The other thing is that you can often print these posters on plotters, if you're at a university -- ask the campus computing labs. Here at Univ. of Florida, it only costs $3 to do so. Usually, this means you end up with 36x48, but typically at conferences, 75% of people ignore the conference recommended size, and use that one.
O/T your work is impressive.
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Old Jul 19, 2007, 09:05 AM   #19
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Use Phototshop or InDesign. if you go PS, you can build it at half-scale at 300-400 dpi. If you have text, you'll want this resolution to keep it looking crisp. And for the love of God, do NOT go to Kinko's. They're a rip-off. Check out local service bureaus that do large format color output.

Oh, and use PPT if you feel like making the people printing your poster very mad at you

Also anyplace that does blueprint output will generally have a color device. $8-15 a square foot for posters? WAAAAY too high. $15 psf is what you should expect for high-coverage, full coverage inkjet banners on vinyl, not a small poster on paper. Expect to pay closer to $4-5 psf, assuming a typical 40-60# bond. You can save it as a .jpg or .tif.

If you create in InDesign, a hi-res PDF will be sufficient, just make sure either way that you include bleeds if the art bleeds. Good luck!

(Oh, and I know this is an old thread, but I thought my $.02 might come in handy who wanted to do a similar thing, but didn't have access to a free plotter)
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Last edited by oscuh; Jul 19, 2007 at 09:56 AM.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 06:01 PM   #20
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Finally somthing I know something about on a thread

I have made several very large displays in the past year(a couple of 8x10ft displays and a couple of table top 5ft) and helped with a 82 foot big rig truck wrap. Rule is working full size at 150dpi. Like previous post check with your printer on what to use. My printer runs at 48in wide, and as long as the roll. And Kinko's is the herpies of the graphic design world!

on a side note about big graphics
If you have photoshop there is also a really sweet technique I found in a digital photo book. It always depends on the quality of the photo but the bigger the better(at least 300dpi 5x7in in the book it says poster size from 3x5in), If you increase the image size by 10% at a time(under image/imagesize increase by 110%), you will not loose as much quality on the photo when you blow it up. I blew up a 8x10 photo (digital from a canon 20d) 4 ft high and lost almost no rez. Its a sweet trick. Make a action out of it in PS and assign a shortcut, and its saves a lot of time. No one believed me and my 1700 display graphics and a free lunch was on the line....I got a free lunch and the people liked the display
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 06:24 PM   #21
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I've always used PhotoShop in the past. I use 144 dpi and have never had a problem with the print quality. The reason I don't go up to 300 dpi is that it takes A LOT of RAM since I usually have several dozen layers.

I strongly recommend AGAINST PowerPoint. This probably sounds arrogant, but I have never really seen a PowerPoint poster that I like from a design standpoint. Most people just stick stuff in text boxes and have at it.

I would also recommend doing a test print so that you can see what the colors look like (it will look different from on-screen) and if the font is readable. The poster should be readable from at least 3 ft (1 meter) away.

Here are some posters that I've done in the past (and I realize that I've now opened myself up to criticism because I criticized PPT above):
http://burro.astr.cwru.edu/stu/me/im...er_aas2004.jpg
http://burro.astr.cwru.edu/stu/me/im...er_aas2005.jpg

Note that in mine, you can still read the text even though the poster has been reduced to 12"x12", the section headings are very clear, and the images stand out from the text. It's also clear how your eye should travel throughout the poster since there's no giant blob of images in the middle drawing your immediate attention. There's also white space that helps break it up, and space between paragraphs and lines as opposed to a bulletted list that just runs on.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 06:28 PM   #22
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O/T your work is impressive.
Thanks!

I dunno...maybe I should try using something like PS or something one of these days, doing all the pre-work and text and everything and then just laying it out. Although I do have to say I've found PPT quite adequate for research presentations.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 07:43 PM   #23
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I work in a print lab on campus. We always have people coming in with Powerpoint. Half the time Powerpoint screws up printing it large-formatted and we just have to print an 8.5x11 to PDF and scale it up in Illustrator. I would strongly recommend using Illustrator. Whoever decided that Powerpoint was a good program for making posters needs to be shot.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 08:12 PM   #24
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Whoever decided that Powerpoint was a good program for making posters needs to be shot.
Excuse me? I need to be shot because you don't know how to use a printer? My posters always print out correctly.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 09:58 PM   #25
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Excuse me? I need to be shot because you don't know how to use a printer? My posters always print out correctly.
There's more than just the scaling aspect. Powerpoint has no native color management and our school's colours are a dark navy blue and burnt orange. Which unfortunately from RGB almost always prints out a lovely LSU purple with a Tennessee orange. There's only so much we can do control the RGB->CMYK conversion, especially given the way our lab and printing is set up (which is not a for-pay printing lab, for university related functions we're free, so people come in and literally print out five different "proofs" of their posters and each time come back in to reprint with one single letter different), thusly clogging up print queues for the people who have actually taken the time to use smaller letter-sized proofs and care about colour management and design, etc. The only surefire way to get the colours spot on is to load the file up in Illustrator and change the colours. Granted it's a lot easier now with CS3 to change all the things in colour X to colour Y, but before in CS2 you could see the disgusting output from the PP->PDF converter, and though I'm not sure which side is the culprit (MS or Adobe), based on Word's HTML output, I'm leaning the former.
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