STScI Imaging Lab
Poster Printing Guidelines

Some suggestions for STScI staff submitting material to be printed on the Photo/Imaging Lab’s Encad wide-format ink-jet printer.

Preferably, use page layout or illustration software such as FrameMaker, Adobe Illustrator, etc. to create your poster.
Microsoft PowerPoint is not really intended to be a page layout or illustration program, though it is relatively easy to learn and can suffice as a “quick and dirty” method for poster production. Native PowerPoint format (.ppt) files will be accepted.
Make sure the document contains a single page only. Use separate document files for separate posters.
Some general guidlines on science poster design are available from the American Physiological Society.
Document Size
Create your document at its intended final size from the beginning by specifying the full page size in the layout software. The maximum paper size is 40 inches (100cm) wide.
Keep in mind that what looks fine on a letter-size (8.5 x 11 inch) page may lose quality or appear out of proportion when reproduced much larger.
The recommended bitmap (raster) format for imported images to preserve full detail and color is TIFF. This applies to all imported images, including rasterized vector graphics.
Import charts and graphs using original vector file formats (EPS, Postscript) whenever possible. (Yes, PowerPoint can import EPS files.)
Any type of bitmap (raster) image file format such as GIF, JPEG, or TIFF should be considered a solution of last resort for the importing graphs and charts that contain curves and text.
If you need to use a bitmap format, use TIFF if possible and make sure it is rendered at high enough resolution to preserve fine detail in text, lines, etc. At least 300 pixels per inch (ppi) at the final printed size is recommended.
Acrobat PDF (Portable Document Format) is a good format for this purpose if it is available as output from the layout software (“Save As” or “Export”). If you use PowerPoint, we prefer to accept native .ppt files.
File transfer
Send files to the Imaging Lab via anonymous ftp to in the /world/inbox directory.
PDF and PowerPoint files may be sent as an attachment to email.
Send email to Skip Westphal ( or John Bedke ( telling us that this has been done, what the file name is, what is required, and when it is needed.
Turn-around time
Turn-around time can range from next day to two weeks depending on demand, lab workload, and unexpected technical difficulties. Please do not wait until the last minute! Be aware that each poster may take many hours to print and ideally at least a day to dry for maximum ink durability.
Note that there will be specific times when many people will want posters made; for AAS and ADASS meetings, for example, which may increase turnaround time.
You can see some examples on-line. Note that these are relatively simple posters intended to showcase images rather than science results, but they might provide some ideas regarding size, color, general layout etc. All were produced using Adobe Illustrator.
Interested in providing your science poster as an example? Please contact Zolt Levay (, x4907).
Direct questions to Skip Westphal (, x4747), John Bedke (, x4747) or Zolt Levay (, x4907).

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October 11, 2001