Writing for Business and Industry




When you create a poster, remember that posters have a focal point. Something on it grabs the reader's eye. What is it and where on the poster is it? As a designer, you must consciously know the answer to that question and considered in the design.

Note that everybody creates their own poster. This is not a group project.


Poster readings


Create a poster

Your groups will give feedback on the Homework #1 question about how you intend to meet the audience needs. (A major problem with the posters is they often dump information and don't come close to addressing what the boss wants.)

You will also review the poster drafts and make comments. Please don't take the freshman comp approach of "don't say anything bad about mine and I will not say anything bad about yours." The goal here is to create a strong poster that fits the client and audience needs.



1. Poster audience approach

Write a 250-300 word description of how you will be addressing the audience and client (your boss) needs for the poster assignment. What are they? How will you be creating a poster than will meet those needs? What are the primary elements that have to bee communicated? You can include rough mock ups of the poster if you want.

Send your description to your group members and to me. Blackboard lets you email the group members.

You must respond to each group members (and to me) description of audience. Is it communicating the needs? Does it match how you understand the assignment? Return your responses by Saturday night. Everyone needs time to make any adjustments to the poster.

I've added this element to the poster because in the past I've found that many of the posters completely miss the audience. The poster is a simple "when to use a bar graph and when to use a line graph" approach that does not fit the assignment of "too many people are creating graphics with Excel, using the defaults, and/or picking cool-looking graphs"


Complete the Posters quiz in Blackboard. The quiz is open book (the browser is not locked down), but you can only take it once.
The quiz closes at 5:00pm on the due date listed on the schedule. Don't ask me to reopen it.

Discussion questions

Week 1


The Poster Design Guide reading tells you to pick a thumbnail shape and consider the coherence of the content and your message. The other readings just say to use good layout. Obviously, the overall layout and coherence of content must match. How do you go about figuring out what to do? What pitfalls can cause trouble? Some of the example posters in the readings seem to have problems...how do those problem relate to coherence issues?

Note: the focus of this question is on how to create a poster with coherence and not on just evaluating the examples in the readings.

Weak answer: A good layout for poster design begins with determining what are the major points that need to be addressed. This allows the writer to create a hierarchy so that the most important information will not be left out due to space constraints. Once a hierarchy of informant points are made a designer can then determine how much space to allocate each point based on its hierarchy. This process helps ensure coherence and proper allocation of space.

Weak answer: Using known effective layout principles for posters, the templates can be adapted to fit the content you have and keep the overall effective layout design. I think this is what the other readings mean by simply using a good layout. There are many ways to arrive at a good layout. The best way begin and adapt your content to a good layout, starts with understanding good design principles and the reasons they exist.


How do you resolve the "eliminate all extraneous material" guideline? You have lots of stuff to say and very little space to say it, but all of it is important for the person to know. (Using handouts is not the answer; you need to say what you need to say on the poster.)

weak answer: Using your space well is one of the most important things that must happen when creating a poster. The writer/designer is going to have the main point is of the poster and then figure out how to get that across to the audience/readers in the fewest words possible. Our readings focused on Edit, Edit, and Edit some more. Get you words down to the fewest possible without taking away what’s most needed.

Week 2


All of the poster design guidelines say "be well organized." What does this mean in a practical sense (what are different flow patterns?) How do you know if your poster is well organized? No one creates a poster and thinks "This thing is so disorganized. Time to print it."


Studies show you have "only 11 seconds" to "grab and retain" your audience's attention. What do you think are the most important elements of poster design that enable you to "grab and retain" your audience's attention (especially within a poster session setting of hundreds of competing presenters and viewers with different levels of interest in your subject)? How do you know they are effective? What makes them effective/ineffective?

Week 3.


Define readable and legible and explain how they differ? How do they influence poster design?


Advice on design scientific posters says "Never, ever incorporate "web" graphics without extreme caution. What is the basic issue causing this problem? It also happens if you try to grab a web image and include it in a print document. (Go for a geeky answer to show you actually understand the issue.)


Why spend 3 weeks on posters, just like we did for reports? In the business world, you probably will be making few posters, so this information will not be directly applicable to your work. What aspects make it worthwhile?

Thoughts to ponder







comic I had to include a skunk picture someplace :-)


Design by Michael J. Albers Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
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