Preparation for BPS

Like you, I have been busy preparing for the BPS meeting. Isn’t there always a mad rush at the end to take that last little bit of data and compose the poster on the fly, hoping that the poster printer doesn’t break at midnight when printing commences? Maybe this year will be different…

For a change I am a newly minted assistant professor that now has to edit, instead of create the poster. I find this is a lot harder since I have to resist the urge to micromanage and take over the making of the poster. To help I have created some guidelines for my students. Maybe it will help you as well:

1) Check out the BPS guidelines for posters below. You’ll want to be sure your poster is no bigger than 4 ft x 6 ft or it won’t fit on the board and bring push pins! Guidelines here:

2) You’ll want to make sure to add the abstract, introduction, figures, conclusions, acknowledgements, and bibliography. They should all be readable and clear. Think about how you would use the poster to give a 5 minute pitch to someone and how you might use it to spark a longer 15 minute conversation. Also think about those that may be reading your poster while you are not there.

3) Printing of the poster. I compose in Adobe Illustrator and then convert to pdf. I find if I print a small version on 8.5 x 11 inch paper I catch a lot of “big picture” mistakes. Also if I blow up the poster so that I am looking at it at 300% I catch a lot of mistakes as well, generally with the figure resolution. The things that always drive me nuts once I print: (a) any spelling mistakes, (b) the wrong color scheme (most poster printers are CMYK so set your document accordingly), (c) the special characters like greek letters don’t print (check them in your pdf), (d) figures that don’t convert well (if you are using power point I have found that saving figures in the .png format at 1200 dpi and then inserting them into power point seems to work well).

4) Carrying your poster to the meeting is a delicate process. The best way is to roll your poster opposite the way it rolled out of the printer, after it dries. Put a rubber band around it and place the roll in a poster tube. Be sure to put your name and contact info on the poster tube. Carry the poster with you on the plane (don’t check it) and then leave it in the hotel until it is time to hang it the night before. Don’t forget push pins!! Stick some in the tube. You can also have your poster printed for you. For details visit:

Good luck with your preparations. I will be trying not to take over my wonderful student’s work!


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