The purpose of an internship poster is to summarize the internship experience for an audience that might not be familiar with the field. To be effective, the poster must be visually attractive. The presenter's aim is to create a poster that stands out from other posters and captures the audience's attention. In most cases, the audience will decide within seconds whether to read the poster. Therefore, the poster should include compelling visuals and clear, succinct prose.
Below are recommendations for creating posters for both Virginia Wesleyan's Port Day and off-campus academic conferences. These instructions are intended to be interdisciplinary, and therefore, they might have to be modified for specific disciplines or projects.
- Program: Both paper and E-posters should be designed in POWERPOINT. A paper poster should be designed as a single PowerPoint slide. Am E-poster may be 3 to 5 slides.
- Set-Up for Printed Posters: To be printed by VWU, posters must follow specific design parameters. The PAGE SET UP (which is located under DESIGN in PowerPoint) should be set as follows:
- Height= 24"
- Width= 36" to 48"
- Set-Up for E-posters:
- 40.97x23.04 (16:9 aspect ratio)
- You may include images, graphs, videos
Content should be of high quality and follow professional and disciplinary standards.
Posters should include the following content sections:
- Project Title. The title should include specific language that focuses on the key facets of the internship experience. While it's appropriate to incorporate disciplinary language into the title, viewers should be able to read the title and understand the focus of the internship.
- Introduction. Include the student name, company name, internship location, internship position, and internship dates. Also note the course rubric and number, course title, and instructor(s). In addition, describe how you secured the internship.
- Abstract. The abstract should provide a concise summary of what was done and learned in the internship and the course.
- Learning Objectives. List 2 to 5 learning objectives that you had planned to achieve by completing the internship.
- Description of Key Responsibilities. Summarize the major responsibilities, activities, and project(s) completed during the internship.
- Application of VWU courses to the internship. Explain how your coursework helped with the internship. Link relevant courses, theories, and concepts to their applications within the internship.
- Lessons Learned. Explain what you learned about the industry, the company, the career process, and yourself through the internship experience.
- Acknowledgements. Recognize the people who helped you, including the internship site supervisor, the course instructor, and mentors. Include full titles in the acknowledgements. In addition, acknowledge funding sources.
- Visuals. Incorporate visual aids to illustrate key points. Be sure to label all visuals. Include: names, dates, locations, and photographers. Do not include photographs of children unless you have secured approval from your site supervisor to use the children’s images.
- Employer Logo. Include the employer logo.
- VWU Logo. Recognize Virginia Wesleyan University as the institution where the internship was undertaken by including the VWU logo.
The text should communicate ideas clearly and succinctly. While the poster should include the above content items, it's also important to limit the amount of text, as few people will read a poster that contains mostly text.
- Avoid long sentences.
- Use the active voice.
- Additional information may be distributed as a supplemental handout during the Port Day poster session.
Posters should follow specific design parameters to make them visually interesting and effective. Here are some guidelines:
- Margins: Avoid putting content elements at the margins of the PowerPoint slide because these might get cut off in the printing process. In other words, leave large margins on the slide.
- Clearly Define Content Sections. Place key content is separate sections that are visually separated from other content sections. Each section should include a clear title that explains what the section does.
- Blank Spaces. Include ample blank spaces that set off content sections. If the poster contains too much content (especially text), the viewer might feel overwhelmed and thus be reluctant to read the poster.
- Poster Coherence. To enable the viewer to read the poster with relative ease and to understand the relationship between its sections, the poster should contain visual coherence. In particular, related content sections should be visually aligned in such a manner that they flow from one main point to the next. This provides a visual path for the audience to follow. Graphic hierarchy (e.g., larger to smaller font and color coding) also helps the viewer to interpret the project's significance quickly.
- Background Color: The background should be light colored (but not necessarily white). If you use other colors, make sure that they are a lighter shade of that color. Gradient coloring looks good. Avoid red for the background.
- Section Background Colors: Posters that include different background colors for sections/elements look good and help the audience to follow the content sections. However, be mindful that the poster does not include too many competing colors.
- Background Images: In most cases, posters should not include background images, as they tend to compete with the content and make the poster look busy.
- Font Sizes: Posters should use a variety of font sizes to draw more/less attention to certain elements on the poster. The largest fonts should be reserved for the project's title, the section titles, and the abstract. The minimum setting for the font size is 24 point; however, the font sizes generally should be larger than 24 point.
- Font Color: The font color should be dark. This sets the font off from the light-colored background.
- Presentation of Text: Bullet most of the text to make information easy to read (although the abstract should be written out in complete sentences).