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:

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. Plan ahead!

Off-campus printing

Printing posters in a large single sheet requires utilizing 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. 

On-campus printing

Utilizing the EMU print shop is a more economical option, but requires careful attention to design. The on-campus shop can print sheets up to 13 × 19 inches in size. Joining two, three, or four of these panels, can result in several possible layouts. See diagrams of EMU printshop options.

If you choose to print at the EMU print shop, the following guidelines must be followed. (Posters not submitted according to these directions may not be printed!)

  • Posters must be submitted to the print shop no later than 9:00 am, Monday, April 15.
  • Contact the print shop at or x4543.
  • Faculty must submit their students’ posters to the print shop, providing the necessary account number. (Students should not individually submit posters.) Communicate clearly about who will be picking up the posters when they are ready.
  • Files must be submitted in PDF format. Do not send PowerPoint files!
  • 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.

How do I display it?

Posters will either be hung from tack strips in the lower level of the Suter Science Center, or attached to tri-fold stand-up display boards on tables in University Commons. 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 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.

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.