Three Quantify authors were awarded the ISPOR Europe 2017 Best Poster Award. This made us reflect on what constitutes a good research poster. Some tips and tricks from our pros.

Emma Jonsson, first author of the poster, is certain that the main reason for winning is simple: ‘We had an interesting topic. And really good data.’ But on top of that, effective communication is key. Emma continues: ‘You should think visually. Try to have as little text as possible, and don’t get into too much detail about methods. I think the graphs were the most outstanding feature of our poster. We had a number of graphs illustrating the results, and made them as self-explanatory as possible.’

Online tips for poster presentations reinforce the importance of effective lay-outing. NYU, for instance, advises to have a consistent and clean lay-out. Leaving enough white space is recommended – it is even suggested that up to 40% of the poster should be white. Don’t have more than 1000 words on the poster, less is more.

Another important feature is the title and presentation of conclusions. As Emma says: ‘A good title both explains what you are trying to do, and attracts people to read the poster. Highlight the conclusions to make them stand out from the other parts and place them in the beginning, in a separate text box.’

When designing a poster, keep the 3-30-300 rule in mind. This means that you have 3 seconds to attract the attention of your audience. A good title is key, as well as the overall lay-out and graphics. You have another 30 seconds to keep the attention and convey the key points of your research. Lastly, it should take about 300 seconds to read the entire poster.

Attracting this interest however, brings us back to where we started. Because according to Oskar Ström, partner at Quantify, a good poster still stands or falls with the study design and relevance of the study. ‘Winning the award was not only due to how the poster was presented, it came from the study design and the objectives. It had an obvious relation to clinical practice.’

Of course, there are more ways to promote your research effectively with a poster. Make sure to have hand-outs of the poster, or prints from the accompanying published article. Or have a website ready with more information and use creative solutions, such as a QR-code, on the poster. Our team at Quantify is happy to help!

You can find the award-winning poster here.