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Designing an Effective Research Poster

This guide provides strategies and resources for designing a research poster.

Presentation Software

You can use presentation software, like Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote, to create your poster.  These tools are easy to use and you are likely very familiar with them already. 


  • Easy to use, and is a familiar program for most people
  • Campbell students can get Microsoft Office for free
  • Hundreds of free templates available online


  • Inflexible
  • Limited design features

PowerPoint Templates:

Campbell-Branded Template Downloads:

Vector Graphics Software

You may be familiar with vector graphics software, like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape.  These programs offer flexible and strong layout options, but may be a steep learning curve.


  • Excellent design tools


  • Most students are unfamiliar with these tools, and the learning curve can be steep

Desktop Publishing

Finally, you may choose to design your poster using a desktop publishing software, like Microsoft Publisher or Adobe InDesign.


  • Microsoft Publisher is likely to be relatively familiar to users of Microsoft Office products
  • Adobe InDesign is a robust design software
  • Many templates are available online


  • Adobe InDesign will be a steep learning curve for many users
  • Adobe InDesign is very expensive. This option is best for users that already have InDesign and are familiar with it.