Designing Your Poster

When designing your wall poster, you may want to make a simplified version of it, as most people will view it for only 8 to 12 seconds as they walk by. At this time, any posters approved by the Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services (CLACS) is forwarded to Academic Affairs for posting on the digital signs in the IRC. You may also submit your poster by sending it directly to the Academic Affairs Digital Signage email.

Getting Your Poster on the Sign

  1. Design your poster according to CLAC's guidelines (listed below)
  2. Redesign/edit another version of the poster if the content is lengthy or the text is too small.
  3. Send your poster to CLACS for approval (if needed) or just email your poster to Academic Affairs Digital Signage.

CLACS General Guidelines for Materials

Please review the guidelines that CLACS has established as Academic Affairs can only accept CLACS approved posters for student groups.

All posters

  • Must be free from profanity, nudity, or sexually suggestive graphics/phrasing
  • Cannot promote the consumption of alcohol (i.e., drink specials, pictures suggesting alcoholic beverages, or mention of a "bar")
  • Cannot include discriminatory or derogatory statements or graphics
  • Activity must comply with University/RSO policies and guidelines
  • Poster must list sponsoring group's name (RSO, Department or Non-Profit agency)
  • Poster must have an accurate contact name and phone number or email printed on the posters
  • If event is a Finance Division sponsored event, poster must contain the Student Activity Fund logo. Public events sponsored by the University and its affiliates (all RSOs, Departments, etc.) must include the following Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) statement:
    "Anyone with a disability who needs special accommodations to attend this event should contact (telephone number and contact email) at least 72 hours in advance."

Converting Posters for Digital Signage

Wall posters may need to be converted to view well on a digital sign. Below are instructions on how you can design or modify your poster to make it attractive and legible on a large monitor.

Size and Format

  • Horizontal posters: 1300 x 775 pixels
  • Vertical posters: 560 x 866 pixels
  • File format: .jpg or .png with the original Illustrator, Word Document, InDesign, Photoshop, or Publisher files.
  • .JPEG, .JPG, or .PNG version of poster, though you can send a PDF, and
  • Zipped original InDesign or other file format (save as a package that includes images and/or fonts)
    • Or Include an InDesign IDML file for backwards compatibility for staff with older versions
    • Or Photoshop files (layers and fonts included)
    • Or Illustrator file (with AI file, images used in the file, and fonts outlined/included in folder)
    • Or Publisher file

Name, Date, Time and Requirement

  • Name of the event and hosting group with contact information
  • Date, time, place. To save space use this format...
                 April 14th, 5-7:30 pm, UC 202
  • Required information such as mandatory ID, cost, or RSVP
  • Content will be posted until event is over.

Contrast and Legibility

  • Font and background colors should contrast. Use dark background colors (like black) when you have light colors (like white) for text.
  • Do not use yellow text on a white background as the text will not be readable.

Text Styles

  • Font styles should be simple and legible as stylized text is hard to read.
  • Try not to use more than two fonts in a single design and avoid italics.
  • Use bigger font sizes. Anything smaller than 14 pixels will not be seen and will be hard to read from a distance.
  • Sans-serif fonts are more easily read on screen where there is not much text. "Serif" fonts are typefaces that have small strokes on the end (i.e. Times New Roman) while "Sans-serif" fonts are typefaces that don't have strokes on the end (i.e. Arial).

Empty Space

  • Leave some white space so your content is not crowded.
  • Give only the most pertinent facts as viewers will see your text for only 8 to 12 seconds as they walk by.

Focusing Techniques

  • Build hierarchy in your design by putting the most important information in the corners (usually left ot right) and placing other important information along the top and bottom bars and connecting to the next line of text diagonally.
  • Indicate priority of the information by font size.
  • Attract the eye by the use of headlines and bright colors.

Preview Your Work

  • Check where your eye is drawn to first.
  • Stand back at least five feet from your monitor to see the viewer's perspective of the screen.
  • Make sure fonts are large enough to be seen easily.
  • Consider the contrast level between colors of the font and the background.


  • Strive to make your content look professional as your document represents Ferris State University.
  • Consider that prospective students, parents, alumni, donors,  outside employers, and others may see your content while walking around campus.
  • Include faculty and staff names and locations as appropriate as this is public information.

The Office of Academic Affairs reserves the right to decide what is and is not appropriate for posting as well as whether the posting should be viewed on the Diversity or Double Screen. The office will also determine when the posting will appear in the sign's content rotation.

Below is an example of a poorly designed poster. Notice the pixilated graphics, unreadable text due to color, the variety of fonts and font characteristics (bold, underlined, or italic), and the size of the headlines.

Here is the same poster with better graphics, font size, and color.