Posters have long been a go-to advertising method for many businesses. Anytime you need to announce a special event, alert customers to new products you have, or promote your business in any other way, a good poster is one of the ways to get the job done!

But what exactly makes a poster “good”? The answer is actually simpler than you think. While creativity and originality are certainly important in poster design, there is something of a formula you can use when designing a poster. If you follow these guidelines, your posters are sure to be eye-catching and get people excited about your business or event: 

  1. Design with your audience — and your location — in mind
  2. Use stark contrast to demand attention
  3. Make sure your poster is easy to read
  4. Keep things simple with one dominant image
  5. Play around with sizing during the design process

Why do these tips help guarantee good poster design? Let’s examine each tip — and what makes it essential for designing an effective and beautiful poster.

Consider Your Location

When you begin designing a poster, you need to have a finished product in mind. However, “a finished product” doesn’t just mean the type of images or copy you want on the poster (though those are important elements); it also refers to the location where you plan to hang your sign. 

Whether you hang your poster in a shop window, on a bulletin board in a cafe, or on a lamppost at the street corner, it’s important that you consider how the poster will look in this environment. Is it large enough for your audience to read it from across the road? Are the colours you use bold enough to stand out from the surrounding area? Will your target customer even see your poster in this particular spot?

Take time to think about these elements before you begin designing your poster. If you don’t, you could risk making a critical design flaw that could make your poster far less effective and impactful. 

Contrast is Key

Colour use is very important when you are designing a poster. Most posters are meant to be seen from afar (for example, from across the street), and they must look interesting enough to catch an onlooker’s eye and draw them in to learn more. Therefore, it’s important that your poster stand out from the crowd! 

One of the easiest ways to make your poster stand out is by using bright and bold contrasting colours. Use a deep, rich hue for your background with copy in a large, white typeface (or vice versa). Draw attention to your logo or other imagery with lots of white space around your poster. These tactics will help catch the eyes of your audience every time.

And remember: your poster should also contrast with your location. If you’re planning to hang your poster on a brick wall, a brick-red background might blend in TOO well and make your poster seem to disappear!

Have a Dominant Image

In addition to an attractive colour palette, creative poster design also needs to have compelling imagery. This can mean many things — your company logo, a photo of a model, a unique illustration — but it’s best to have only one image dominating your poster design. 

As we’ve already mentioned, posters are meant to catch the viewer’s eye from a distance. If your poster has too much going on, the images can be overwhelming to the eye — which is unlikely to make your audience want a second look. One interesting image is all your audience needs to grab their attention. 

When you are choosing the right image for your poster, try to keep it simple. Think about close-up images of people or things or illustrations with a clear focal point. Sticking with a simple image will allow you more freedom in your use of colour and typography, and it will make for a better finished poster overall.

Focus on Readability

Imagery is very important to good poster design. Without compelling images and attractive use of colour, you’ll never get your audience’s attention! However, getting their attention is only half the battle — once they’re looking at your poster, you also need to make sure they can understand your message.

Readability is one of the most important design elements for posters, signs, brochures, and any other marketing materials. After all, if your audience doesn’t understand what you’re saying, they’ll never engage with your company the way you want them to. Make sure you use clear, readable fonts (avoid script if possible) and that you give your copy plenty of white space around it. This will keep your poster from becoming too busy and your message being lost.

Finally, always remember the number one rule of marketing copy: proofread! Double- or even triple-check your spelling and grammar (you can even have a co-worker look over your drafts before sending them to print). A misspelling or grammar mistake can reflect badly on your business.

Play with Sizing

In the UK, your average poster ranges in size from A4 (210 x 297mm) to A0 (841 x 1189mm). The poster size you choose will depend on where you decide to hang it (again, location is always important). However, it’s also possible to print the same poster in a variety of sizes. 

Creating a poster in an assortment of sizes gives you the freedom to expand your horizons. You can now hang your poster in many different spaces — which means that more people are likely to see it.

Of course, a design that looks great in an A0 size may look too cluttered when scaled down to A4. When you are designing your poster, consider printing proofs of it in various sizes. This will help you determine if your graphic design work is suitable for any size or if you need to make some minor adjustments. 

Get Professional Posters Online

Whether you want to design an effective poster, create some new business cards, or get some promotional coffee mugs for your business, it is always important to use a professional printer for your marketing materials. Luckily, it is very easy to find high-quality printing these days — thanks to online printers like Banana Print! 

Take a look at our selection of printed materials and customizable gifts to see how we can help promote your company today.