Probably all PhD students face this problem in their career: the poster presentation, and bringing the poster with you to the conference. This usually means you need one of those poster tubes to keep your poster all neat until the poster session. Not too bad if you are going to a local conference, but more annoying when you are going to, say, Japan, where I attended the International Conference on Pattern Recognition in 2012.
I was determined to go to Japan with just a carry-on bag, something I have never attempted on trips longer than 3 days. Of course, I would also have a “personal item”: my regular bag for my laptop and valuables. I really, really did not want to add an extra piece of luggage (the poster tube) to the list of the things I had to bring with me. So I decided to look for a solution: posters that would fit into my carry-on!
For paper, this would mean either a very small poster, a poster with fold lines, or a poster consisting of several small parts. Neither of these seemed very appealing, so my material of choice became fabric. After some searching, I settled on this product, in particular the “vlaggendoek” or “flag sheet” variety. This material weights just 115 grams for 1m2, which is conveniently almost the same size as an A0 (841mm × 1189mm). Printing + delivery costs just over 20 euros, which is actually cheaper than an A0 paper poster with a plastic coating. That’s not all: apparently the material is fire retardant, because you never know when fire could break out at a conference.
But the best thing of all? You can fold it and it still looks great when you unfold it! Here are my two posters folded a few times:
These did not only fit into my carry on, they even fit into my purse (and made a great padding for my mini laptop).
I received a lot of compliments (about the content too of course 😉 ) and heard a lot of “I should have known this earlier!” during the poster sessions. So this is me, telling you: print your conference posters on fabric! If you are in the Netherlands, you are welcome to stop by to see the real thing.
Where else to get it
France: Easyflyer (thanks to @cazencott!)
Belgium: UniversityPress (thanks to @dan_marinazzo!)
Germany: Diedruckerej (thanks to @chrshmmmr
UK: SciencePosters (thanks to @IAugenstein!)
US: Spoonflower (thanks to @jengolbeck!) and Postersmith (thanks to @astent!)
If you know of any more companies not in these countries, please let me know (comment below or via Twitter) and I’ll add it to the list! As of July 2017, I’m still updating the list.
You can get your textile poster repurposed into a piece of clothing or accessory at REpost Science. See my newest blog post about this.