Making Great Posters – 5 Tips to Follow

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Posters are attractive because of their various uses and the ample space they provide for your design. The larger size and lower price point makes them ideal for promotional materials for timed events, and they provide artists with a great medium on which to showcase their work.

While there is no set formula for creating a brilliant poster design, there are several pointers and tips that you can keep in mind during the design process. Below, we highlight what it takes to produce a poster design that will stop viewers in their tracks.

1. Create a Clear Focal Point in the Piece
Nothing helps your poster design stand out quite like having a focal point that draws the readers eyes to a specific point in the design. A focal point also helps balance out your poster’s overall design, making the information you’re presenting easier to take in and remember.

The poster for The Eye draws the viewer’s attention by focusing on the eye in the center of the frame. The creeping hand adds to the overall effect of the poster. via

The bird on the lower corner and triangular shape across the page force the viewer to focus on the tex contained in the center. The bird on the lower corner and triangular shape across the page force the viewer to focus on the text contained in the center. via.

While at a first glance the design may look as though it is just a record, closer inspection reveals a boat, a play on the band's album title 'Riptide'. While at a first glance the design may look as though it is just a record, closer inspection reveals a boat, a play on the band’s album title ‘Riptide’. via

2. Play with Negative Space
Just because you have a bigger canvas, doesn’t mean that you have to fill every inch of it with stuff. Often, the lack of elements in part of the overall design can actually make the design itself standout even more. Take a look at what these designers were able to pull off.

The-Surrender
Based on the artwork of the album which it is promoting, this simple poster is made intriguing by the lack of design elements, balancing typography with negative space through a defined, minimal color palette. via

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“Africa’s Sharpest Idea was the winning design for a 2013 poster contest for African Cristal. The white space surrounding the pencil shaving helps the country’s silhouette stand out, creating double meaning in the design. via

3. Pick High Contrast or Complementary Colors
Because of their size, posters are meant to be seen, and seen from afar, through glaring windows and rays from the sun. Help your readers make out the key elements of your poster by using high-contrast colors that increase legibility, regardless of viewing conditions. If you want to use more color in your design, then use colors that work well together in a palette and stick to that palette. Complimentary colors will provide a unique, but unified look to your design (and provide you with an opportunity to work with varying colorways).

flight This colorful design for Flight of the Conchords was created by thelittlefriendsofprintmaking.com/ and is a wonderful example of how a defined color palette can help bring a design together, even if the design is very busy.

mad-men-tv-movie-poster-2007-1020402389 Mad Men‘s now iconic poster makes use of high-contrast to create its characters in silhouette, a theme they even applied during the show’s opening credit sequence. via

4. Use the Space Wisely
As we mentioned earlier, balancing your design allows for increased information retention. This means using the space wisely and paying equal attention to all the elements present in your design. Using typographical variations in combination with negative space, for example, can help your overall design look more well rounded and aesthetically pleasing.

final-poster21 The bright color choices of design stand out against the white background of the poster, balanced by the grouping of text below the colors. (No source available)

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The large, heavy design on the left of the poster is balanced by the light text, in three weights and two colors, present on the right. The overall design is harmonious and well balanced.

5. Have Fun, But Pay Attention to Detail
The best part about knowing all the rules in the game is knowing how to break them. So if your subject calls for all-out color or tongue-in-cheek humor, then go for it. However, with more involved designed, its easy to see your message get lost and your reader get distracted, so keep them focused on your poster by paying extra attention to detail. Even with minimal designs, it is the details that sets a good design apart from an okay one.

Wilco-Athens Fun and provocative, this Wilco poster produces a different image when looked at upside down. Adding unexpected elements can lead to memorable designs. via

Prom_1-sht_v7 Despite the busy background and small text, this poster is still able to retain viewer focus by providing a dominant focal point. The busy background works in this case, however, as it is subject appropriate.

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Category: Design