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Beyond the Basics design tips
Part 1 of this workshop series is an overview of what an effective poster can be, and what elements make a poster underwhelming.
The second half of the Poster Workshop gives more detail about specific design elements such as layout, white space, color schemes, and more.
Advanced Software Options
- Inkscape (https://inkscape.org/en/): Very powerful design software that operates very similarly to Adobe Illustrator. Although it has a steeper learning curve than PowerPoint, it can be a great choice for people who really want to make their poster stand out. You can use tutorials online to learn some of the basic functions of Inkscape before starting work on your poster to get a feel for the functionality of it: https://inkscape.org/en/learn/. Smply save your poster as a PDF when you're done so it's compatible with the printers.
- 30-day free trial of Adobe Illustrator: If you're considering creating more professional documents (publishing your thesis?), you may want to check out Illustrator. If you want really powerful software but don't like Inkscape for some reason, you can try Illustrator for free. Bonus: the 30-day trial includes access to a bunch of other Adobe products too, like Photoshop and Acrobat. This is a great way to create really impressive figures for documents as well as posters! Try it out here: http://www.adobe.com/downloads.html
Paid options include the full Adobe Creative Cloud package, which is $20/month for students or $240 for one year. That's a reduced rate, but still pretty expensive for most students, so unless you're going to be doing a lot of work in Illustrator or other Adobe software (and getting paid for it, perhaps), you probably want to stick to Inkscape.
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