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 the Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematical Sciences Departments will be eligible for the STEM departments' traditional STEM Celebration awards. These posters will be judged and prizes will be awarded in three categories: project posters, class assignment posters, and independent research posters.

The following rubrics will be used to evaluate the posters and select the winners:

Poster rubric - for posters in the class assignment and independent research categories

Project rubric - for posters in the project category (project accompanies the poster)

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 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 15, 2020. Plan ahead!

Off-campus printing

If you choose to utilize an 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 poster. 

EMU Print Shop (out-sourced)

The EMU print shop can now offer services (off-site) to print wide format posters (on a single sheet) in two sizes: 24 x36 inches or 36 x 48 inches. Prices are competitive;  contact the print shop at or x4543 for a price quote. Print-ready files must be submitted by noon on Thursday, April 9, 2020. See additional instructions below.

EMU Print Shop (on-site)

With careful attention to design, posters can be created using sheets 13 × 19 inches in size, which the EMU print shop can print in-house 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

Posters using this approach must be submitted by noon on Monday, April 13, 2020.

  • 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 print

EMU Print Shop submission instructions

If you choose either option for printing at the EMU print shop, the following guidelines must be followed:

  • Faculty must submit their students’ posters to the print shop, providing the necessary account number. (Students should not individually submit posters.)
  • Contact the print shop at or x4543 for instructions on submitting your files.
  • Files must be submitted in PDF format. Do not send PowerPoint files!
  • Posters must be submitted to the print shop by the deadlines stated above.
  • Communicate clearly about who will be picking up the posters when they are 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 1:00 and 5:00 pm on Wednesday, April 15. 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.

After the festival, posters should be picked up by their owners between 5:00 and 7:30 pm on Thursday, April 16. Posters not claimed during this time may be discarded or claimed by academic departments.

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