Now that I've got the large-format printer set up in the BCRC, I'm exploring ways to use it most effectively. Most of grad students making posters have been making them using Powerpoint. Powerpoint is simple, but it's not a good tool for making a good poster. I'm going to have my students print posters in the writing class using Scribus, an open-source page-layout program. I've spent the past week learning how to use Scribus and have written a wikidocument with hints on creating posters using scribus.
I've tried learning to use page-layout programs before, but never really got the hang of them. The key thing to remember is that you're building a workflow and not just trying to format a bunch of stuff. It pretty much forces you to create styles and then apply them. Once you get the hang of it, it really rocks. I'm glad to be getting the experience with another of the free graphics applications that will be represented at the Libre Graphics conference in Montreal next month.