Oversized Printing Services


Oversized Printing Policies

Temporarily Restricted Services for Fall 2020:

  • The poster printing service will resume on August 24, 2020, the first day of undergraduate classes.
  • The University Library will only accept print requests for academic posters (no marketing-type or signage printing).
  • 2 business day turnaround time is required for all submissions.
  • Items that are 13×19 inches or smaller are not accepted. Contact University Copying Services for small format printing.

Copyright: Copyright compliance is the responsibility of the user. The University Library staff reserves the right to refuse to accept any printing request if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

The above information also appears in our our Large Format Printing Protocol.

Oversized Printing Prices

Academic posters created by students or by faculty/staff members in partnership with a student(s) are printed gratis.

  • Posters for academic poster sessions are created for a poster session that is presented either on- or off-campus and are not already subsidized by the Office of the Provost or other official University entity.
    • Examples: fall/winter term economics poster sessions, Shepherd Poverty poster sessions, LACS poster sessions
  • To be printed gratis, posters must have at least one undergraduate author.
  • If reprints are requested, due to typos or other issues that are not a result of the printing process, the University Library will charge for reprints at a rate $0.0125 per square inch.

Posters created solely by faculty/staff/law students (without undergraduate student involvement) for academic poster sessions are charged at a rate of $0.0208 per square inch.

Academic Poster Setup & Design

Academic posters, unless otherwise directed, should be created as 30×40 inch documents—in either portrait or landscape orientation.

Publisher and PowerPoint can be used for free via myVI (myvi.wlu.edu).

To use programs via myVI:

  • Log in with W&L username and password.
  • Select your desired app.

Publisher 2016

  • Open Microsoft Office Publisher 2016.
  • A screen that prompts you to choose a template will appear. Select More Blank Page Sizes.
  • Under the Custom heading, select Create new page size.
  • In the Create new page size popup box, set your desired page dimension (likely 30×40 inches or 40×30 inches) and click OK.
  • Save your document. Choose FileSave As.

PowerPoint: Mac 2016

  • Open PowerPoint 2016 for Mac.
  • In the PowerPoint Presentation Gallery, select the Blank Presentation theme and click Create.
  • Choose FilePage Setup.
  • In the Page Setup dialog box, set the dimensions (width/height) to be 30×40 inches. Also, set the page orientation of your slide—either landscape or portrait. Click OK
  • A new pop–up will appear which reads: “You are converting to a larger slide size. Do you want to scale content up?” Click Don’t scale.
  • A blank, properly sized slide should now appear. Make sure to save your work. Choose FileSave As. Save to network storage, a removable storage device, or Box.
  • To insert text and images, work within the top Insert tab.
    • From the Insert tab, select Text Box to insert a text box. Select Pictures to insert an image.

PowerPoint: PC 2016

  • Open PowerPoint 2016 for PC.
  • In the PowerPoint Presentation Gallery, select the Blank Presentation theme.
  • Select the top Design tab.
  • Within Design toolbar, select Slide Size then choose Custom Slide Size.
  • In the Slide Size popup box, alter the dimensions to that the poster will be 30×40 inches and select OK.
  • In the resulting popup box, select Maximize.
  • A blank, properly sized slide should now appear. Make sure to save your work. Choose FileSave As. Save to network storage, a removable storage device, or Box.
  • To insert text and images, work within the top Insert tab.
    • From the Insert tab, select Text Box to insert a text box. Select Pictures to insert an image.

Poster Content & Organization

When creating the textual content of your poster, remember the following tips.

  • Consider your audience.
  • Create logical divisions—such as Introduction, Methodology, Results, Data, Conclusions, & References.
  • Label your information—use headings, captions, etc.
  • The less text the better—a poster is not a 12 page paper!
  • Include proper citation for any image or content you did not create.
    • Ask your professor if you should follow a particular citation style (e.g. APA, Chicago, MLA).

Design Tips

Font tips:

  • Choose the proper font size for readability.
    • Use 24–48 point font for body text.
    • Use 48–80 point font for headings/subheadings.
    • Use 80–100 point font for the main title.
  • Some research suggests sans serif fonts easier to read in large blocks of text–but don’t feel limited to one form of font. Avoid overly ornate fonts (these will be difficult for viewers to interpret).

Coloration and Brightness:

  • Make sure there is enough contrast between the poster background and text.
  • Pick a color scheme; but, limit it to 3 or 4 colors. Need help creating a color palette? Try Adobe Color CC.
  • IMPORTANT FOR DATA VISUALIZATION: Consider those who are color blind.
    • According to Colin Ware’s Information Visualization, “About 10% of the male population and about 1% of the female population have some form of color vision deficiency. The most common deficiencies…result in an inability to distinguish red and green.”

Finding Images:

Search for pertinent/quality images.

  • When creating oversized print posters, TIFFs make the best images.
  • Pick images around (at least) 100 dpi.
  • For enlargement, original images should be at least 300dpi.

Using Images:

When enlarging images, make sure to preserve the original aspect ratio!
PC TIP: Hold down the Shift key when enlarging images to maintain the original aspect ratio. In the below example, the picture on the left represents a properly resized image. The picture on the left represents an improperly resized image which resulted in a skewed aspect ratio.

Checkout the Library’s Finding & Using Images page for a thorough list of image repositories, a discussion of available image editing/creation software, and much more!

Academic Poster Examples

Scientific Poster Example
Many students who create scientific research posters utilize a landscape layout--although posters can be created in either portrait or landscape orientation.
Study Abroad Poster Example
This poster utilizes a fluid design layout. Viewers interpret the poster's "story" by following way-finding indicators...in this case, the arrows.

Poster Proofing

The University Library is NOT RESPONSIBLE for proofing posters before printing. To ensure your poster has no spelling or grammar errors, prufreed and proofread again!

Submission for Printing

Convert poster file to .pdf. Do this by selecting Save As and choosing .pdf as the file type.

Submission to the Digital Archive

The University Library is interested in adding capstone posters & final project posters to the University’s Digital Archive (@ repository.wlu.edu).

If you want to digitally preserve your work for future scholars, fill out the online submission form. Attach a .pdf file of your poster to this form.

There is no submission deadline; but, the form is only visible to current students.

More Design Inspiration

Looking for more inspiration for your academic poster? Check out the W&L Library’s pinboard, “Academic Posters.”

Need More Help?

Emily Cook


Elizabeth Teaff