The traditional way
The Presenters Story
You create your poster, usually as a .PDF or .AI file.
You need a template, all the right logos etc, and to make sure of the specs ... file formats, resolutions, bleeds, etc.
This is the very last point at which any changes or corrections can be made.
You get it printed, maybe laminated. How long will it take ? Are there deadlines ?
Use an internal department, or send it to an outside printer.
Get all the file formats right, and get the artwork transferred to them, checked.
( Printing cost for an A0 poster is around £20, or £40 if you want it face laminated )
What's the shipping contact and address ?
Remember to allow plenty of time for it to get there.
You send it by post : Royal Mail takes 2-3 days, not guaranteed ( this will cost around £5.50 + a shipping tube at £3.50 )
Maybe you send it guaranteed next day delivery ( cost £12.50 + your tube )
Or you send it by courrier ( cost around £22 or considerably more if its international ).
You hope it arrives, you can connect with it again at the event, and there's no loss or mix up
So, not to take any chances, you hand carry it to the event yourself ; or maybe you have a nice transport tube ( if not one of these is £14-£18 )
You arrive at the venue, ( find your poster ) eventually find your spot, and pin it up. If you are lucky, there's plenty of room.
Ah, the board is 'protrait' and my poster is landscape. What now ?
Did you remember to bring velcro, pins ? If not, where do you find them now ? Some nice organisers will help.
Ah, how am I going to collect contacts from interested viewers ? - I know, I'll beg an envelope, scribble "business cards" on it, and pin it up beside the poster somewhere.
There, it's on display : hooray !
Is there a formal poster session ? - when am I supposed to be here to answer questions ?
When can I take it down ?
I need to leave early, will the organisers be cross if I dissapear with my poster ?
Do I take it away again or discard it ? - many posters are simply discarded at this point.
I carry it home and it lives rolled up in the corner of my office, along with all the others.
I try to use it again, but it's got rather dog-eared and torn a bit ... start over.
The Instututes Story
Your researchers and their work is on public display : you want it to be shown in the best light
- clear, accessible, impressive
- on point as far as corporate guidlines go : logos, formats, etc.
There is some cost involved, not just for the materials, but the time and running around your people have to do. When it's something you do a lot, you want the whole process to be as streamlined, efficient, stress-free and cost-effective as possible.
You want to make sure your researchers work gets noticed, and has maximum impact.
You want interested readers to be able to easily connect with the researchers.
You may want your posters to be be accessible on-line after the event, extending their reach.
The Conference Organisers Story
Poster sessions take up a LOT of SPACE.
Just finding enough room at your venue can be a challenge. It might be a significant factor in your choice of venue. You may have to limit numbers purely on this basis.
If you are hiring a commercial venue, this can be a significant part of your venue costs.
Plan your layout carefully.
Do you hire them in ? There's a cost to this ( around £15 per board ). If you can use both sides, that helps.
Plus transport, which for a large number of boards can be significant ( several hundred pounds ).
Making sure what you get is of reasonable quality can be a challenge. Tatty boards don't make a great impression.
You may own your own boards, but you still need to store and transport them.
SETUP / BREAKDOWN
Somebody needs to put all the boards in place according to your nicely planned layout. The board hire company may do this, or your stand contractor. Both these options involve some staffing costs in the mix somewhere.
Unless you are fortunate enough to have some volunteer helpers.
Whoever does it will need some guidance, supervision, a copy of the plan and be handy with a tape measure .
Don't forget to number all the boards.
Then we have to clear them all away at the end, load them back onto the transport.
All on schedule too.
What to do with all these posters left behind ?
- Keep / return them ? ( time to track down the owners ) ... or simply bin them ?
You will need somebody on hand to run the session help desk.
Check in posters / presenters as they show up, connect them with shipped / couriered posters, help them locate ther spot, find pins, velcro, fixings, ( do you supply them ? ), deal with people who have the wrong size or orientation.
Q & A during the session(s).
It can be a full time job !
You will need some kind of guide to help people locate posters.
This may be as simple as a printed list at the help desk, or you may produce something more sophisticated.
Do you make copies of it available to people, on the spot, or after the event ?
Planning & implementing all the above.
Instructions to presenters : formats, sizes, print orientations, deadlines for submission, shipping instructions.
Collecting details for the guide ...
It all really does take up your time.
" I know the deadline was yesterday, but can you just ... " :-)
So, you have to pay for ...
- the room
- the boards
- the transport
- the staff
- the guide + sundry other bits & pieces
- all your planning, prep and management time.
When you add it up, your traditional poster session is quite an overhead.