While I was doing my PhD (in sociology) I was never asked or expected to create a poster, but it seems like they are either gaining ground or as my disciplinary focus has changed I’ve begun to encounter them more often. Whereas presenting and producing conference papers clearly relates to the rest of an academic’s job, i’m not so sure that posters do. Is it reasonable to expect academics to be decent graphic designers?
I was recently asked to put together a poster for my SCORE fellowship and this was the first time that I’ve been asked, even though I was recently a judge at Durham University’s poster competition for phd students. The poster will be used by SCORE (and me i guess) to help promote my project, and this is no bad thing.
I think that producing good posters require quite a specific skill set, one that I don’t really possess, and I’m not even sure one that is particularly relevant to an academic career. I’m no graphic designer and that’s pretty obvious with my finished poster, which still took the best part of a day to knock together.
As you can see it’s pretty basic looking. My first thought was actually to use old fashioned cut and paste (a collage, which is vaguely relevant to the topic) but this quickly became a fuss, so i tried to use MS Paint and that was too difficult so ended up using PPT, which i’m sure shows. I’ve kept the hand drawn arrows in as a nod to the homemade original idea.
I wonder what software other people use to create their posters? i’ve seen some great posters (and plenty of not so great ones), so I’d be interested to see what other people are using. Although the bigger question is should an academic really need to have graphic design skills to get ahead? I doubt this poster will find its way onto my CV, so why exactly have I opened up myself to ridicule!?