ACE Festival Poster Guidelines

From designing to printing to displaying your poster, details matter! Before launching your poster project, read all instructions and adhere to them carefully. Attention to detail early on will enable you to relax and enjoy the festival when the day arrives!

How big can I make my poster?

Maximum poster dimensions are 48 inches wide and 36 inches tall (4 × 3 feet). Your poster must be small enough to fit on a stand-up display board of this size. These display boards stand in a horizontal (landscape) orientation. Therefore, if your poster is in vertical (portrait) orientation, it must be less than 36 inches tall.

Minimum size is 19 × 24 inches (1.5 × 2 feet), in either horizontal or vertical orientation.

What to include? What should it look like?

Posters must contain the following: title, name(s) of author(s), primary author’s contact info, and acknowledgment of sources. The content of the poster should include: statement of the basic research question or presenting challenge, description of the research methods or process/plan or action, the results of the research or project, and a summary conclusion.

Posters should be designed for clarity and legibility. Envision a poster hanging above eye level or about two feet away; will the reader be able to see the text clearly? A poster 3 × 4 feet in size should contain no more than 800 words of text. Adapt content of smaller sizes appropriately. Choose font style and size for clarity more than for artistic visual interest. Color contrast is important: dark text on a light background is preferred. Give attention to adequate white space and placement to avoid an overcrowded or cluttered appearance.


The following resources may be helpful in planning the content and design of your poster:

Poster judging - for STEM departments

Posters in the ACE Festival that are from Biology, Chemistry, Math, Computer Science, Engineering, and Psychology programs  will be eligible for the STEM departments' traditional STEM Celebration awards. These posters will be judged and prizes will be awarded in several categories, such as project posters, class assignment posters, and independent research posters.

This rubric will be used to evaluate STEM posters and select the winners.

Can I use the EMU logo?

It is customary to include the institution’s logo on academic posters. However, if your poster will be used online or in any setting outside of EMU, you cannot use EMU’s logo without approval. Such posters must be submitted to the marketing department for review, to ensure the usage is consistent with EMU’s brand identity guidelines. Send posters to for approval prior to printing. Allow at least 48 hours (two business days) for this additional step.

Where and how do I get it printed?

Faculty are responsible to supervise students in the poster design and printing process. Departments may have differing expectations as to how printing costs will be covered. Talk to your faculty mentor, and make sure expectations are clear before proceeding.

Posters must be printed in time to be displayed on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Plan ahead!

The former EMU printshop is now owned and operated by Campbell Print Center. They are located off campus but provide daily delivery to EMU. If you choose to utilize another off-campus printing service, shop around and check costs ahead of time; a price range of about $70 is not uncommon to print a single large poster. 

Printing considerations

With careful attention to design, posters can be created using sheets 13 × 19 inches in size, which Campbell Print Center can print for a much cheaper price. Joining two, three, or four of these panels, can result in several possible layouts. See diagrams of EMU printshop options

  • Each 13×19 panel needs to be designed separately and sized correctly. Each panel should be its own page in the final PDF document.
  • If posters are initially designed in PowerPoint, create a separate slide for each panel. Use the “set slide size” function to size each panel to the correct dimensions (13×19 or 19×13). Design panels with margins to allow for some overlap when attaching the panels after they are printed.

Campbell can print larger, single-sheet posters in any dimensions within the maximum size stated above (4 x 3 feet). The cost will vary depending on the dimensions. Contact to get a price quote. 

Remember that your poster may need to be attached to a standup display board. For this reason, please avoid overly thin paper, which may tear or curl too easily. 

Submission instructions

If you choose to get your poster printed at Campbell Print Center, the following guidelines MUST be followed:

  • Print-ready files must be submitted by the following deadlines:
    • 9am on Friday, April 12 for larger single-sheet posters
    • noon on Monday, April 15 for the small 13x19 panels
  • Faculty must submit their students’ posters to the print shop, providing the necessary account number. (Students should not individually submit posters.)
  • Contact (or 540-434-4171 and ask for Connie) for instructions on submitting your files. Please reach out in advance if you plan to place a quantity order.
  • Files must be submitted in PDF format. Do not send PowerPoint files!
  • Communicate clearly about who the posters should be delivered to when ready.

How do I display it?

Posters will either be hung from tack strips along the walls, or attached to tri-fold stand-up display boards on tables. Presenters are responsible for bringing their poster to their assigned location during the scheduled poster displaying period the day before the festival – between 1:30 and 5:00 pm on Wednesday, April 17. Please check in with the attendant, who will assist with displaying your poster.

Note that poster entries are expected to consist of a poster only. There will not be space for additional display items. Exceptions may be made in cases where a project entails the creation of a three-dimensional product; this must be indicated on the entry form.

Posters printed on individual panels must be joined (taped together) and displayed as one poster. Do not bring panels to hang or display separately.

Try to avoid tightly rolling your poster prior to display, so it will lay flat on the wall or display board.

After the festival, posters should be picked up by their owners between 5:00 and 7:30 pm on Thursday, April 18. Posters not claimed during this time may be discarded or claimed by academic departments.

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