Poster Creation with Adobe Illustrator
Here are some helpful Middlebury-specific pointers concerning poster creation using Adobe Illustrator.
Naming Your File
Files used in our spring and fall symposiums typically follow this naming convention -- your course number, an underscore, and your usename -- for example, COURSE0101a_username.ai.
Getting Started - Setting Up Your Document
The first thing you will do is make a new document. The document size is set in this initial process and Illustrator will read the embedded information in the document everytime it is opened.
1. Select File > New (opens the New Document dialog box)
2. Name your file (see “Naming Your File” above).
3. In the Artboard Setup:
- For Orientation, select Landscape
- For Size, select Custom
- For Units, select Inches
- For Width, enter 64.5
- For Height, enter 41
- Click OK.
NOTE: Height and width here are relative to the orientation of the document. If you are using portrait (vertical) orientation, set your width to 41 and your height to 64. If you are using landscape (horizontal) orientation, set your width to 64 and your height to 41.
Remember that the physical width of the paper is 42 inches. We used the dimension of 41 inches because the poster printer does not print to the edge of the paper.
SAVE your work! Save often.
Important Plotter Printer Lore
- The plotters thrive on gentle handing. Do seek help for any task, including changing paper or cleaning the plotter.
- A poster can take up to 20 minutes to print! Schedule your time accordingly and avoid waiting until the last minute before class or during crunch times when many posters are due on the same day.
- Be patient. The plotter will cut the paper for you when the print job is done. Please be patient and wait for job to cut on its own! Tearing can cause considerable damage to the printer.
Location of Poster Printers & Getting Help
Check hours to be sure (particularly for Armstrong Library) that the location will be open when needed!
- The Wilson Multimedia Development Lab in the Davis Family Library (DFL 220). Contact a DLINQ intern in the lab for assistance.
- Armstrong Library in McCardell Bicentennial Hall (MBIH 209). Contact Shawn O'Neil (443-3286) for assistance.
1. Select File > Print (opens Print dialog box)
- Printer: POSTERS This printer selection allows you to release your document in either DFL 220 or in MBIH 209.
- Set Media Size to Custom (this should pick up the dimensions from your document and display the entire document in the preview window to the left)
2. Select the Color Managment tab, in the Color Handling field, select “Let Postscript printer determine colors”.
3. Click on the Print button.
4. Release your print job just as you would any other.
General Design and Layout
- Simple and uncluttered
- Focus on one main point; do not try to present too much.
- Readers will want to grasp your main point quickly.
- Use only one or two type faces (e.g. Times-Roman and Arial).
- Keep the style consistent throughout the poster.
- Use an organized layout.
- Standard scientific headings are good: e.g. Abstract, introduction, methods, results, conclusions.
- Vertical arrangement is preferable to horizontal layout so that the reader is not required to walk back and forth to read each section.
- 3-4 columns are good.
- The reader should not need a road map to negotiate your poster!
- Lettering about 2.5-5 cm high (about 100-144 pt.)
- Should be readable from 5-7 m away. (You’re trying to attract a reader from across the room!)
- Authors’ names and affiliations slightly smaller
- Lettering 1-3 cm high (36-72 pt.)
- Should be readable from 2 m away
- Minimum size: 18 pt.
- Keep it brief.
- Use left-justified rather than full-justified type.
- Cross-Platform Fonts
- Serif: Book Antiqua, Bookman Old Style, Garamond, Georgia, Palatino, Times
- Sans Serif: Arial, Arial Black, Arial Narrow, Comic Sans MS, Helvetica, Impact, Trebuchet MS, Verdana
- Symbols: Webdings, Wingdings, Wingdings 2, Wingdings 3
- If possible, display data with simple graphs rather than complex tables.
- Remove all non-essential information from graphs, e.g. topics not discussed by the poster
- Use colors, but use them judiciously.
- 2-3 colors can add a lot.
- Many more colors can be a distraction!