Posters and Display Board Tips


  • NEAT appearance - no smudges or misspellings
  • Careful lettering – legible, uniform letters; proper spacing of words.
  • Clear information – titles, labels and headings; any required components.
  • Related images – photos, graphs, illustrations, diagrams, charts or symbols; artwork done with tempera paints, markers, cut paper or computer art.
  • Uncluttered “layout” (plan or arrangement) – including lettering and images.


  • Think and Plan! Write out ideas and requirements on scrap paper.
    • What is the main topic or project?
    • What are the important words?
    • What style of lettering or type font will be best for this topic?
    • What kinds of pictures or images will be used to support the topic?
    • What colors to use? Do selected colors relate to models or samples?
  • Practice
    • Draw several “thumbnails” – small sketches showing different layouts.
    • Select the best plan – make sure layout is balanced (Bold colors, large words and pictures should be distributed across the display area…not all positioned on one side or at top or bottom of board.)
  • Follow “How-to” Steps
    • Mark off margin around all panels of the poster or display board (1-2 inches) with light pencil lines. (Helpful to use a yardstick or T-square.)
    • Sketch the best layout on poster board with light pencil lines. Outline spaces where pictures, diagrams and other images will be placed.
    • Ensure that information can be followed easily. (Read from left to right.)
    • Make any corrections of the layout by erasing and re-arranging outlines.  (Easier than erasing and re-drawing words and pictures…or
    • Use a pencil and T-square or ruler to draw light, parallel guidelines for words. Pencil in all words. Make sure letters are level and uniform in size. Alternate plans for lettering include printing words by hand or by computer onto paper strips. Cut the word strips to fit the background layout.
    • Use upper case letters for titles and headings, but use upper/lower case letter combinations for sentences or large areas of copy. (Easier to read.)
    • Avoid lettering multi-colored or “rainbow” words; avoid mixing too many letter styles or fonts; form letters with line weight (thickness) in proportion to the overall size of display board. (Thin lettering is too hard to read.)
    • Check spelling; have another person check spelling!
    • Trace over letters with markers or paint….OR…affix word strips, construction paper letters or purchased letters.
    • Finish any artwork. Work from the top of the board to the bottom to prevent smearing any artwork or lettering done with markers or paint.
    • Attach pages that were finished separately. Use glue sticks, non-toxic rubber cement or double-sided tape. (White glue causes paper to buckle.)
    • Erase, carefully, all pencil guidelines and smudges.
    • Arrange any models or samples on tabletop or secure to display board.


Suggested Materials


DISPLAY BOARD – heavy poster paper, 3-sided display board or sheet of Foam-Cor.


TOOLS – No. 2 pencil, ruler, yardstick, T-square, vinyl or kneaded erasers, scissors. OPTIONAL: Scissors that cut a deckled or decorative edge.


ADHESIVES – glue sticks, rubber cement (non-toxic brand: Ross Rubber Cement Glu) or double-sided tape. Special adhesives are available with scrapbook or photography materials: glue dots, tape strips or glue sticks formulated to reposition paper pieces. (White school glues, such as Elmer’s are too watery and will cause paper to buckle.)


MARKERS – Classic formula markers (washable are more likely to smear) or permanent markers with wide tips for lettering as well as for artwork. (These are available in ½ inch – 1 inch tips, as well as standard tip.) Sharpie brand fine tip or ultra fine tip markers are best for smaller lettering.


PAINT – Tempera paints or acrylic paints provide bold, solid colors for artwork. Chalk, most crayons, oil pastels, colored pencils and watercolors are not suitable for displays. If the crayons are not too waxy, they may work on some background surfaces; however, crayons and colored pencils are too labor-intensive for coloring large areas. Also, chalk, watercolors and colored pencils are not vivid enough to make an eye-catching display.


MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS – Construction paper is suitable for cutout letters or for frames and backgrounds for photos, diagrams, charts or other attached components. Check scrapbook supplies for a variety of papers and borders.


OPTIONAL LETTERS – There are many types of products to help with lettering: stencils in a wide range of sizes, letter patterns, self-stick letters, felt stick-on letters and press type transfer letters. (Look at art supply stores, craft shops, fabric stores and teacher supply stores. Meijer and Wal-Mart have many lettering products.) Computer- generated lettering is easy. Avoid using more than 2 or 3 font styles and be sure that the font size for titles and headings is large enough to be seen from several feet away.


REPAIR KIT – Consider packing a baggie or envelope with supplies for making “on-the-spot” repairs…”just in case!” : tape, glue stick, correction fluid, eraser, markers and construction paper to match background (in case a patch is needed.) This can be tucked behind the display.