The Transport Problem
Choosing what type of poster to create depends not only on how you present your information but also on several other factors. In this section, we discuss different overall designs for posters and why you might choose one over the other.
Once you know your purpose in preparing a poster and the types of readers to expect as viewers of your poster, your next decisions will all be constrained by transporting and setting up the poster. First, find out whether the conference guidelines specify a particular size or display format. If no guidelines are listed, inquire about what facilities are available to you. For instance, must you bring your poster completely assembled? Must the poster fit on a table, or can you use a cork board or wall to display your poster? Can you use multiple sheets of posterboard or wall space equivalent to two or three posterboard sheets? Next, consider how you will get your poster to the presentation. If you have to fly, will the poster fit overhead? How about in the back seat of a car? Considering these factors ahead of time means less frustration on the presentation day.
With the pin-up poster, each sheet or board is separate. These are typically the easiest posters to transport. This display format does require attention to formatting details so that each sheet or board is uniform with the others. You'll also need more set-up time on site, particularly if you're pinning sheets to corkboard or the wall. Finally, you will need to have the sheets in order so that you can pin them up quickly without worrying about layout at this point.
International conferences typically allow for pin-up posters of some sort to alleviate the problems in transporting large posters via airplanes.
Like the typical Science Fair poster, this type stands on a table. Typically, these posters are approximately two by four feet in size. They are held together with tape along the back side or they are bent to create "wings" that support the posterboard upright. Because they fold together, they are relatively easy to transport by car but can be awkward on airplanes. If you need to travel by air and the conference requires a tabletop poster, ask the organizers if they will supply posterboard or an alternative on site. Most conferences will do so or will arrange for office supplies—including posterboard—to be available for purchase on site.
Floor posters usually require expensive materials and are much more difficult to transport. Because they stand on the floor, these posters are larger than the others, but conferences will often allow posters to take up more table or wall space than a single posterboard would require (40 X 32).