poster tradeoffs

Nov 27 2011 Published by under academia, help

It has been a while since I gave a poster at a conference. I've been to a lot of meetings recently, but was lucky enough to be chosen to give talks. I always jumped at the talks, as I was either on the job market or just starting my own lab and was happy for the publicity. But, to be honest, I kind of miss poster sessions. The amount and type of interactions you have with folks at a poster is much more intense than in questions after a talk. Of course, you are more likely to have someone hunt you down at the bar to grill you about your talk.

In any event, I am going to be giving a poster at the next conference I go to. On the event of this special occasion I am considering having my poster printed on fabric instead of the normal glossy print. That way I can just pack it up with the rest of my stuff and don't have to worry about leaving my poster tube on the plane. Again. Ahem.

Tonight, I asked folks on twitter what they thought of the fabric posters. Especially those that just got back from SfN. Several folks (Nam, Dr. Becca, GR) were encouraging. The poster ninja, Dr. Zen, pointed me to a post he wrote about the fabric posters. But others (@benchwise) were convinced that posters should be shiny to make a good impression.

What say you, beloved blog readers? Can a fabric poster rock your world-or is high gloss a must? If you have seen fabric posters that you liked (or didn't) was there a specific reason*?

Is the tradeoff of more convenient transport worth losing the high-gloss print?


* I'm a little concerned about how images look when printed on the fabric.


34 responses so far

  • Lucas says:

    I presented with fabric before and got as many visitors if not more. I see no difference... Plus, fabric is super convenient packing. I just ironed it before presenting it to get the folded wrinkles out. Once you go fabric you never go back

  • If you're that worried, do a small-scale sample first, just one image. Should be pretty cheap.

  • GEARS says:

    I think it's totally cool idea. And when you find a place to print to fabric, lemme know. Kthx.

  • tmbtx says:

    I need to get out of my office more, I've never come across a fabric poster. Having said that, it sounds pretty cool and you should at least try it once!

  • Pascale says:

    I've been using foldable fabric from MegaPrint for several years now. Yes, shiny laminated posters look a bit more Madison Avenue, but these have lovely print and color. Wrinkles can be overcome with a cool dry iron, conveniently provided by most hotels. And the convenience outweighs any issues with appearance.
    Megaprint is the service I use. $150 for 3x6 ft.

  • Glfadkt says:

    The fabric posters available at are fabulous. Figures printed on these posters are every bit as great as on paper. Also, I have found that light reflecting off glossy posters in a large poster hall sometimes sometimes impedes viewing due to annoying glare... I am 100% sold on the fabric posters, but keep in mind that you really should iron them once you arrive at your hotel (prior to the presentation) AND be sure to follow the instructions about ironing WITHOUT steam!

  • Glfadkt says:

    FYI: MegaPrint and are one-in-the-same.

  • biochembelle says:

    I had one done on banner-esque fabric material (it actually reminded me of older type thick roofing fabric). It basically came out as a very nice matte finish. I still carried mine in tube with some others; quality looked good and less worry about crinkles and folds. So I think it will partially depend on the type of fabric.

  • BioGirl says:

    Recently i was asked to check in my bag at the gate as all of a sudden my poster counted as a third piece of luggage. Highly inconvenient. Printing on fabric ftw! No more document tubes for me.

  • Bashir says:

    Never even heard of using fabric. Now I'm trying to remember if any of the posters I just saw looked a little fabric-y.

    What I am waiting for is for someone to just bring one of those portable mini-projectors and just project on to the poster board.

  • I've never heard of fabric posters, but it sounds like a fantastic idea!

  • Emma says:

    My fabric poster is the best - I find them easier to read because there isn't any glare and there is no trouble with it trying to roll up on you as you try to stick to the board. The only trouble is that people are more interested in touching my poster in wonder than actually reading it...

  • fabric! when you're done, you'll have an awesome cape!

  • The only caution I would have with fabric posters is to be careful about resolution. I was at a conference recently, and a number of figures were hard to read, because they weren't big enough for the fabric to handle.
    But if you have a good poster design, it doesn't matter what it's printed on.

  • I've seen them occassionally and always thought that they would be more expensive than the paper printing, but I just checked and the price is almost the same and sometimes even cheaper than laminated paper. Now I'm going to spend hours agonizing over this development and deciding if I should try it out.

  • At this stage of your career, you should not be presenting posters at all. Indeed, you should not be submitting any abstracts at all to scientific meetings for which you are the presenter. If you don't get invited to give a talk, then you don't present. Only your trainees should be submitting abstracts as presenters.

    • gerty-z says:

      really? I kind of thought that I should still work to get my name out there. I'm not really to the point yet that folks are calling me up and inviting me to speak at conferences (well, except that one time, which was pretty awesome). If I don't submit abstracts I don't know if I would get to advertise my work enough.

      • Your *trainees* should be submitting abstracts, with themselves as the presenting author and you as the senior author. This is how you advertise your lab's work *and* "Hey, look at that. Gerty's students/post-docs seem to be doing some cool shitte. Her new lab must be humming."

        You directly advertise your work at meetings by schmoozing with other faculty, funding agency program staff, journal editors, etc.

        Presenting posters yourself gives others the impression that you are not independent and that you do not have decent people in your lab who are both doing the experiments and competent to present a poster.

        • Fred says:

          what if it's a balls out expensive conference, ye ole young PI can't afford to send the trainees, and talks are reserve for those with HHMI funding*?

          (*or other prestigious titles, etc.)

          • gerty-z says:

            You could still go to the meeting and network with folks even if you don't present your work, I suppose.

          • qaz says:

            As I replied to gerty-z's follow-up post, CPP is crazy. (We knew that.) Sometimes it is entirely appropriate to present your own poster as a lab PI. The key is to be senior author on anything you present. You can present a poster and still be senior author.

            Gerty-z's follow-up comment gets CPP's implications completely backwards. The point is to be a PI and to do the appropriate shmoozing. If you are not presenting your work in other ways at the meeting, then you should DEFINITELY present some way, and a poster is a perfectly fine way to do it. Showing up at a meeting to schmooze without data makes it look like you don't have anything to present, which makes you look a lot younger/noob-ier, and is far worse than presenting a poster.

  • [...] wall or whatever. But I digress. Now, since I just jammed it in my carry-on, I could use my poster as a cape (h/t Zwitterionique) or even make cut-out-snowflakes (Dr. Becca FTW! via Dr. [...]

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