Picture this: while you were getting a coffee, that superstar researcher has just read your scientific poster hanging in the poster hall, and they liked it.
But now what?
They have to write down your contact details and then remember to email you to suggest a collaboration. But let’s face it, they’ve been smothered in business cards already, so they’ll probably forget.
So how can we avoid this? A QR code.
If you had a QR code on your poster, you could have directed the superstar to your Twitter page where they could have instantly ‘followed’ you and established a connection.
The lesson: direct your reader to the ‘next step’ with a QR code. This could be a link to your supplementary data, your published paper, or your LinkedIn or Researchgate profiles.
What’s more: making a customised, permanent QR code is free and easy.
Enter your URL in the ‘Your URL’ field.
Enter your desired main colour using the Hexadecimal code. Use one of the main colours in your poster. To learn the hexadecimal code of your preferred colour, use the eye-dropper tool to sample the colour - after you sample it, you’ll see the 6-digit code (e.g. #4EACEA).
I recommend leaving the background colour white, or a light colour. A nice contrast between the two colours is important for the code to work properly.
If you have a lab logo or similar, you can add it to the centre of the QR code. Simply upload your image where it says ‘add logo image’.
Customise your design by changing the shapes. This is what will make your QR look unique. You can even start with a template: click on ‘QR Code Templates’ at the bottom of picture below.
Step 6: Export & use
When you’re done, click ‘Generate QR Code’, and then ‘Download PNG’, and then import it onto your poster.
I recommend placing your QR code near where your reader is likely to finish reading the poster. A good spot is near your ‘Take-Away’ section, or your conclusion. It doesn’t need to be large, just make it big enough to be able to scan from a metre away. Test it out by zooming in to 100 % on your poster, and scanning your QR code from a small distance away.
Remember to give a clear call-to-action and indicate where the QR code will take them.
“Scan here to follow me on Twitter”
“Scan here to download the paper”
Readers don’t need to have a special QR code scanner app. iPhone users will just need to point their camera at the QR code to scan it. But, Android users may need to point their camera and enable the ‘Google Lens’ function.
QR code link ideas
Add a link to:
Your video abstract
Your Twitter, LinkedIn, or ResearchGate profiles
Your lab’s website
Your dataset (e.g. Data Dryad, Figshare)
Download the poster electronically (put your poster on Dropbox or Google Drive and link to that)
The published paper
Recruitment material or landing page
Your graphical abstract
There you go: an easy way to provide a great end-result for your poster readers.
But, we’ve only just scratched the surface on what makes a great scientific poster.
To properly cover this topic, we’ve developed a whole online course: How to Design an Award-Winning Scientific Poster. You can learn at your own pace and arm yourself with the tools, templates, skills and knowledge to create your own award-winning scientific posters. We’ve had excellent feedback on the 33 video lessons, 3 hours of learning and 8 templates & downloads included - so we’re confident that you’ll love it too.
Make a custom QR code at QR Code Monkey and link to something useful or meaningful
Dr Flynn Slattery