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May 30, 2019

Research presentation guide goes viral

Mike Morrison, Michigan State University organizational psychology doctoral candidate, is reshaping how mundane research posters are designed and presented at academic conferences across the world.  

Morrison worked for a year to create a video guide to poster design that maximizes the amount of information presented during conference poster sessions without following a traditional template. His new design allows academics to be more creative with how they showcase their findings without sacrificing the science behind their research.

Since his video debuted on Twitter on March 25, it has been viewed nearly 150,000 times, retweeted 2,900 times and liked by 7,400 Twitter users. 

Click here to view the video. 

Morrison’s new poster design allows passersbys to get the gist of the poster and research findings from afar, even while others are reading the poster or talking with the presenter.

The design simplifies complicated poster designs by placing main findings in the center of the poster in large, easy to read font. A QR code is added below the findings to direct viewers to more details about the study. The typical sections of the academic poster, such as the methods, discussion, and results are still part of the poster, but the focal point is the main takeaway.

Initially, Morrison was concerned that the higher ed community would reject his poster design because of its less-academic approach. 

“What amazed me was how positive the scientists were about it; even those in physics and computer science. They are extra methodological, detail-oriented and pragmatic thinkers, so I thought they would be the last to embrace the minimalistic design thing, but they ran with it,” Morrison said. “That was one of my biggest surprises — seeing fields that are very technical do these artistic things.”

Morrison’s poster templates have been used at conferences in fields from medicine to meteorology, and he hears from satisfied presenters on Twitter daily the design, cartoon and templates are also available in traditional and simplified Chinese on

By: Caroline Kraft