A lot of money is being wasted on large posters. Usually a poster is made for one meeting only, never to be seen again. Sometimes they decorate the walls of departments. These are either funded from your grants, or sometimes from NHS funds, or often, from the personal income of those presenting. Large single posters, are easy to make on a computer, and can then sent by e-mail to an illustration department or company.
This poster and most of those at the MES cost almost nothing, made on standard A4 paper and then laminated.
The cost of printing and then transporting a large poster back to you can be between £20 and £50. This is a waste of scarce resources, especially if the poster is not used again. Some meetings want posters in landscape, while others want portrait.
Here are reasons to make posters using laminated A4 sheets.
1. When attending international meetings, one has to put large posters into the hold (check them in), and about 5% of posters never actually arrive at their overseas destination.
2. If you are travelling light, you might want to go with Hand Luggage only (so as not to wait for luggage at the other end). This cannot be done with a huge poster, but it is easy to carry an envelope of laminated A4 sheets.
3. It doesn’t matter if the poster board is landscape or portrait. Landscape requires more ground space, so where meetings are in small rooms, the organisers will choose portrait. If you have a landscape poster, it will overrun someone elses. At the BES for example they use portrait, when they are limited for space.
4. If you are re-using aspects of a poster, you can simply change one or two pages to make it relevant to a new meeting, and re-use your previously laminated pages.
5. Cost. The finance required for 40 posters at £25 each is £1000. This money has got to come from somewhere, and ends up meaning that there is less money for training, or even for NHS services. Others are currently wasting huge amounts of money, and our meeting (with 40 posters) will add £1000 to the National debt.
6. We are setting the trend: others will follow suit. Don’t worry about the fashion of others.
7. After the meeting, the poster ends up in the corner of a lab somewhere, and is never looked at again.
8. Too often, authors are putting up rubbish (in terms of content) but no one even reads it. You can still use colour and other attractive items if you really want to, but the content is what matters here.
9. You have to be able to communicate your ideas to others using whatever format you have. A huge single poster can detract from your message.
10. A poster can be prepared the night before taking it with you. Changes can be made at the very last minute.
11. Printing them yourself on a normal A4 colour printer is very cheap. Laminating A4 sheets adds about 4 pence per page.
12. Postage, packing and transport of large posters is terrible for our carbon footprint. Save the environment; use A4.