How to Design Standout Posters

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

Good poster design is essential if you want to capture a moving audience’s attention with a message. Having an awesome, eye-catching poster can be without a doubt, one of the most effective advertising tools you can use. You see them on every street corner, every shop window, and every notice board in every country. From restaurants to music festivals, new movie releases to sporting events, the power of poster advertising knows no boundaries.


Posters are effective in advertising because they can deliver important messages in a fun, creative way. Designers are free to indulge their creativity to effectively relay a brand’s message. And while posters may differ in context and even the industry in which they are representing, there is a common set of rules that the most successful posters follow and that is what we are going to look at now.


Only include essential information in your poster

When it comes to the design, less is more. Including too much information can distract people from the main message you are trying to highlight. When a poster is overloaded, people can get confused, and they are likely to pay less attention to it. Always try to have some breathable space between your elements and don’t be ramming all the information you can in just for the sake of it.

With the online class timetable poster below I couldn't really find a good location to put the logo without it appearing to take away from the look of the poster so I made it larger than the poster itself while also applying an overlay and taking the opacity down in Photoshop. It now looks to be a part of the background.



Pick an engaging headline

After you’ve decided what type of information you want to include in your poster, it’s time to pick the headline. This will be the focal point of your poster and the first thing your audience will read, make it catch their attention by using a bold typeface and keep it short and to the point.

Most designers will recommend using a decorative font for the header and combining it with a simpler Sans-Serif font for the body. The good thing about Sans-Serif fonts is that they are clean and straightforward but as a general rule two fonts should be enough for your poster, the bold headline and something to complement it.


Choose the right image for your poster

Imagery can be a great way to stand out and make an impact. Whether used as a background image or as a subtle addition in the foreground; images attract attention.

If you're including an image onto your poster, make sure it is high quality and ensure that the image is relevant to the poster theme, also keep in mind that if you use an image that has already been used a lot, the design will instantly become a lot less appealing, and it will not stand out.


You can also use a traditional solid colour or a gradient background; in this case, the font you use for your text will be the main focus of the poster so getting it spot on will be more important.


Use contrasting colours to help your text stand out from the background

Making sure your text pops out is essential so you should make sure the colours contrast well against the text. If you’ve selected an image with multiple colours, a good design trick is to apply a colour filter to the image. This will help your text stand out.


Use lines to direct people’s attention.

Lines can help you direct your audience’s attention toward focal points inside your poster. You can use arrows, dotted lines, or the lines inside the image to direct people’s attention. An excellent example of this would be using the lines on a road to drive people’s attention to the centre of your poster.


Always include a call-to-action

Let people know what action you want them to take after they see your poster. Tell readers what you want them to do. Create a clear call to action by highlighting words like “call now” or “call us today!” if you want people to call. If you want people to visit your website, you could add something that says: “find out more,” “visit our website,” or “learn more.”


Colour

Colour is arguably one of the most important elements when it comes to visual design. A good pallet will grab the audience's attention without overloading them. Just be careful not to go too wild with your colours and the ones you do pick ensure that there is good contrast between them. One website I like to use when picking colours is https://colorhunt.co, here you will find lots of palettes to choose from but just be aware that your choice of colour can also have an impact on user emotion.



Red

Red is a very powerful colour that symbolizes strength, power, danger, love and desire. In design, red is mostly used to get users attention.

One of the primary colours you can find in the colour wheel, which is very aggressive, you can use it as a warning colour to show an error state but red can also mean passion and love.


Blue

Blue is well known as the most preferred and most important colour that is commonly used in design. It indicates trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith and truth.

As the light blue represents water or the sky, it gives you the feeling of calm and relaxation as this is often associated with health, meditation and hence can be found in hospitals, health apps and fitness centres.

On the other side, most of the financial products and social media brands use blue colour to show that it’s a trustworthy, dependable, secure product, which will help get more users on their business.


Yellow

Yellow colour is associated with joy, energy, happiness, confidence, positivity, light and warmth but overusing makes it become very disturbing.

Yellow can mix smoothly with black text rather than white text to grab more user attention.


Green

Green is the colour of nature as it connected with the environment which can grab the user’s attention easily.

It is associated with meanings of growth, relaxation, harmony, freshness and fertility.

Lighter shades indicate calmness and peacefulness while dark greens are linked with wealth and prestige. As the opposite of red, green means safety.

Orange


As Orange is a mixture of red and yellow it shows creativity, cheerful, determination, attraction, encouragement and stimulation.

Orange suites best in Art, Entertainment, Food, Sports, Transportation Industries.


Purple

Purple is the colour of royalty and associated with luxury, ambition, wisdom, independence and magic.

Conclusion

Posters can work in a variety of ways for almost any project. They are a great form of promotion and can help expose the masses to your personal, business or client message. It is not always easy to create the perfect poster but taking into account these few design tips can point you in the right direction but most important of all, poster design can be fun and give you plenty of room to stretch your design muscles.


Quick summary

· An effective poster should stand out from a distance and have a dominant headline or image that will quickly catch your reader's eye.

· A simple and clear layout so your reader knows where to find the information.

· Include all important information such as date, time, location, and contact name and telephone number.

· Have the most important message emphasized by size, colour, or value.

· Have high-quality imagery that is related to the message.

· Have the type and imagery arranged in a logical, functional sequence.

· Have good contrast in colours to enhance your message.



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