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Ordering Information

When organizing your content on a research poster, it is important to visually prioritize the most relevant material through strategic placement. Much like the contextual considerations of message, medium, and materiality, you must ask yourself: what information is the most significant for communicating the main message of this research? Once you have identified the most important content, think about your audience and how they will access your information.

For example, you might be presenting to an audience that primarily reads from left to right and top to bottom. In this case, placing your most impactful content in the top left corner would draw the attention of your audience to this information first. It is also valuable to physically place related information close together on the research poster so that the audience can visually draw connections between the topics.

Tools for Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is a design principle that writers can use to rank design elements (i.e, text, shapes, images, etc.) to help focus readers' attention as they process information. Writers have a number of tools at their disposal that aid the development of a visual hierarchy. Take a look at the list below, though it is not exhaustive, these tools might help you develop your research poster. 

Size For visual compositions, size is an effective tool for gaining the audience's attention; writers should consider the size of headings, body text, and images. 
Color If used correctly, color can significantly aid reader's understanding and engagement with a research poster. Bold, contrasting colors call out for attention. Not to mention, color can be leveraged for branding purposes as well. 
Font Assigning distinct roles to font combinations also aids the way information is ordered. Using a consistent combination of serif and sans-serif fonts for headings and body text, for example, helps readers differentiate between information at a quick glance. When selecting a specific font style for headings, for example, ensure that you utilize the same font size, color, and style to establish the visual ordering of information.
Alignment Alignment refers to the positioning of objects (i.e., text, shapes, images, etc.) within a space; having misaligned information on a research poster will hinder the audience's ability to processes the content of the poster.
Whitespace  Whitespace, also known as blankspace or negative space, is another tool writers and designers can use to create visual hierarchy. Careful composition takes into account the space around and between objects (i.e., text, shapes, images, etc.) to call attention to specific information. One common mistake with research posters is not leaving enough whitespace for readers by presenting large walls of text.