Student Poster Competition

Submission Deadline Extended to June 17

Call for Student Posters

The IEEE Professional Communication Society (PCS) invites student submissions to the Student Poster Competition at the 2014 International Professional Communication Conference (IPCC 2014).

Click here to view the official announcement in PDF.

Conference Theme

This year’s conference theme, Meeting Grounds: Lifelong Learning, from Classroom to Workplace, provides an opportunity for participants from a range of disciplines to present on a variety of topics. While professional communication students and engineering students may choose to respond directly to the conference theme, they may also choose to submit posters that focus on technical projects, in other words, the products of this lifelong learning.

Who Can Participate

Graduate and undergraduate students are invited to submit electronic posters representing projects related to the conference theme, technical communication or engineering. All winning electronic posters will be displayed on a large monitor during the entire conference.

Graduate and undergraduate students are invited to submit electronic posters that demonstrate excellence in technical communication. All winning electronic posters will be displayed on a large monitor during the conference. Student posters will have a separate call for submissions in November with a deadline in early June 2014.

Submission Guidelines

Participants must submit:

  • A self-explanatory, one-page PDF version of the electronic poster in a landscape orientation. The poster will not be printed and the student will not be presenting, though the poster may be displayed during the conference. Name the PDF file LastName_FirstInitial_IPCC2014; and
  • A 300 word abstract about the electronic poster explaining its technical or research topic, including an explanation of how the poster succeeds in communicating the message visually. Name the file LastName_FirstInitial_Abstract_IPCC2014.

Submit both these items via Dropbox by no later than June 3 June 17, 2014. Create a Dropbox account ( for your poster PDF and abstract, name the folder Lastname_Firstname, and share it with

Winner Selection

Undergraduate and graduate level posters will be judged separately. The competition committee, comprising both academic and practitioner members of PCS, will evaluate the content and design of all posters. The self-explanatory posters must visually illustrate and briefly explain technical projects or research studies related to the conference theme or other topics related to the field of professional communication or engineering. Please refer to the Rubric blow for the Student Poster Competition.


The competition committee will notify the winners by September 2nd, 2014. In each level, first place and second place winners will be awarded cash prizes. Third place winners from each level will get honorable mentions. All winning posters will be displayed on a large monitor during the conference, but posters will not be printed, and students will not be presenting.

Important Dates

June 3  June 17 Posters due (11:59pm, PST)
September 2 Decisions to Authors


Please contact


Student Poster Competition Rubric

Poster Design

Excellent posters are well-organized and provide a clear path for the viewer’s eye, directing through the content in a logical sequence. Document design principles are effectively applied: typography, color, and white space contribute to persuasion and professional appearance. The poster has been designed and assembled neatly and attractively. Headings are specific and accurately forecast the content of each section.

1. Viewers unable to identify main points or navigate sections of content; poster design compromised by sloppy construction or chaotic design 2. Design creates occasional confusion or distraction; construction may suggest a need for more careful assembly 3. Visually harmonious design allows viewers to navigate the poster with little difficulty, identifying main points and major evidence 4. Poster layout integrates all elements into a unified, purpose-apparent design; specific headings help to reveal argument


Excellent posters incorporate informative (rather than merely decorative) visuals. Visual evidence is designed with a high proportion of data-ink* and is supported by meaningful captions, labeled units, axes, and legends. All visuals are documented with source citations. When possible, explanatory text is integrated into visuals or arranged adjacent in space. The key content of the visuals could be understood even without further oral explanation.

1. Lacking in relevant visual evidence, or containing very poor quality visuals; visual evidence is improperly cited or has limited relevance to content: a preponderance of non-data ink 2. Visuals lack key labels or captions, oversimplify data, or may be overly decorative or unclear; the path for the eye may not be clear 3. Well-chosen visuals are labeled and cited; improvement needed in captioning, image resolution, or integration with supporting text 4. Visuals aid in understanding complex content and facilitate persuasion

Text Blocks or Lists

Excellent posters contain well-organized text that conveys the presenters’ main ideas and crucial data. The poster text conveys and explains information designed to teach audience members about the proposal and to convince audience members of the merits of the company’s proposal.

1. Text is difficult to understand; sentences, bullets, or lists need to be revised and reorganized because they are too sparse, too dense, poorly organized, or poorly placed 2. Text conveys substantive information, but may be somewhat sparse or dense, loosely organized, or poorly placed 3. Generally informative text, but with stylistic errors; the text blocks or lists are clearly in support of visual information, with only minor flaws in length, organization, or placement 4. Text is nearly error-free and adds usable content; text is fully effective in supporting visual information with controlled length, organization, and placement

*Tufte has famously said that when it comes to the visual display of information, “above all else show the data.” So one of the key principles in good information design is to shoot for a high data-ink ratio, which is the ratio of data-ink (the elements that convey the actual data) to the total ink used in the graphic. To calculate this, first distinguish the data-ink from the redundant data-ink (data elements repeated unnecessarily) and the non-data-ink (elements that are used ostensibly to support the data, such as grid lines, axes, labels, and legends, or as decoration, such as background colors, data markers, and of course, chartjunk). “Ink” here refers to both text and graphical elements.