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4 Design Tips, For Awesome Research Posters

Today’s guest blog post is by AAA member, Ashkuff.

Name’s Ashkuff, and I’m a business anthropologist. Part of my job involves conducting solid academic research, and presenting it in a slick and business-savvy way. I honed my design skills while running the marketing committee at UF’s Office of Multicultural & Diversity Affairs, and I learned about poster presentations through trial-and-error at various conferences. After my poster presentation at American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) 110th conference in Montreal, AAA invited me to guest blog about anthropology and communication. Shortly afterward, colleagues started asking me to help them design their research posters, giving me the chance to perfect my designs even more.

Based on that experience, I want to offer anthropologists four design tips for research posters!


Have one clearly-defined goal for your poster. Vague goals make themselves difficult to pursue. Multiple goals overwhelm each other. Instead, decide upon one specific goal that would make you feel successful, even if all else failed. For example: “I want passersby to stop and discuss my research with me.”


Have a straightforward call-to-action. Marketers have long understood that, if you want something from your audience, you need to make it clear and convenient. Think of infomercials ending with: “CALL NOW! 1-800-EXAMPLE.” Likewise, if you want passersby to discuss your research with you, your poster should ask them to! Heck, for their convenience, try including a list of suggested discussion topics.


Keep it short and simple! You’re presenting a poster, not a paper. Passersby don’t have time or patience for lots of reading. You’ll be lucky for one minute of a passerby’s time, and people read around 300wpm. Also, drop jargon that your audiences won’t grasp. For example, imagine presenting “The Biokinesic Anthropology of Parkour” at an anthropology conference. Your audience will probably grasp general anthro jargon, but tune out biokinesic-specific or Parkour-specific jargon.


Start with a template, and customize it to your liking! Your research and adventures probably keep you too busy for details like margin alignment and padding width. So don’t start from scratch.

— Ashkuff | http://www.ashkuff.com | Bored with reading about others’
adventures? Burning to venture out yourself? Let this applied anthropologist remind you how.

2 Responses

  1. I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. I also found your posts very interesting. In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he enjoyed it as well!.

    Carl Balog

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