Posters are the original printed marketing tool. They’re used to advertise events, products and services, using striking pictures, graphics and text.
Some of the most iconic pieces of design within pop culture are found on posters. Obama’s ‘Hope’ design, the US’s ‘We Can Do It!’ wartime artwork and the Jaws movie poster – to name a few.
By combining creative composition with clever wording, you can produce an eye-catching poster for your business.
Find out everything you need to know about how to design, produce and distribute your next attention-grabbing poster with our ultimate guide.
When you’re ready to go, Poster printing from Headline Printers offers top-class support, production and delivery to get your campaign started in style.
A poster is a printed advertisement that is used to promote an event, product or service. It combines text and graphics to ensure it is noticed by lots of people and is usually displayed in a public place.
They usually include:
By mixing these elements, your poster can attract the attention of those passing by. Famous and iconic posters include:
Posters are all around us. Wander into any town or city and you’ll see colourful displays at every turn.
It’s clear marketers value their influence. Here’s some of the top reasons why:
For a quick guide on putting together an effective design, check out our handy how to design posters tutorial – produced by our in-house designers.
We’ve taken a more in-depth look at some of the fundamentals for composing a poster.
Colours have the power to bring out different emotions. Warmer hues like red, orange and yellow depict energy and dynamism. While monochrome colours result in a more serious and straightforward poster.
Whatever you’re advertising, choose colours that:
In many promotions, it helps to use striking colours, to direct the viewer’s attention to important pieces of information.
While if you’re advertising a new product or upcoming event, use a fresh, bright palette. This will draw the eye and build anticipation.
Finally, consider contrasting colours. These can have a big impact, especially if you stick to just two or three. This poster by renowned graphic designer Peter Saville makes fantastic use of black, white and yellow.
Our blog on the importance of colours in print marketing details what your choice of colours says about your campaign, and the fascinating psychology behind it.
Using original artwork on a poster allows you to mix illustrations with vibrant colours to capture the imagination of the public.
Whenever you’re creating artwork, be conscious of the placement and allow room for text – it’s worth knowing your poster size beforehand, so you know how much room you have to work with.
Promoting an exhibition? Try representing the style of your event by using unique illustrations that follow the theme.
Photography provides a visual shortcut to set the mood of your poster in an instant. It’s often seen on movie posters or ads for clothing and lifestyle brands.
Utilising the right shot, with appropriate copy and printed on the correct paper, will result in an attention-grabbing poster print.
When using a photograph in your design, add only essential text and keep other design elements to a minimum. This allows the photograph to take centre stage.
The tone, font and sizing of your text will have a huge bearing on your poster design. These elements will affect the look and feel, accessibility and ultimately the success of your campaign.
Firstly, you need to make sure your font is readable from a distance. Millions of people in the UK face visual and cognitive challenges, including dyslexia, colour blindness, visual impairments, dementia and literacy challenges.
This means some written material is less accessible for them.
Make sure you are inclusive of your entire audience by creating accessible posters.
In most cases, word count should be kept to the minimum. Use as little text as possible to get your message across and leave it at that.
Also, be mindful of the locations your poster will be displayed. Consider:
These considerations will influence what sort of word count you aim for.
Opt for a bold font in a large size, to draw maximum attention to your message. Feature a forceful headline and include all the important details about your event or product.
Play around with different fonts to see what works. A mix of styles, usually from the same font family, can help keep the viewer’s eyes on your poster for longer. But more than two or three different fonts can look messy and amateurish.
Slender typefaces, such as cursive or graffiti, can be very appealing stylistically, but will make your poster less legible.
For absolute clarity, sans serif fonts are the top drawer. Helvetica, for example, is such an iconic, modern and readable sans-serif font that they made a film about it.
If movie posters are your thing, check out our guide to the most popular movie poster fonts.
There are various programs to help you design your poster, including the Adobe Suite of apps and Microsoft Publisher. These design tools will allow you to bring text, imagery and illustration together to create your artwork.
As a starting point, contact us for the appropriate poster template, to help you design your poster to the correct specs, using the software of your choice.
Our templates are available in the following file formats:
This depends on which software you’re most comfortable using. Each one specialises in a different area of digital design:
If you don’t have access to any of these programs, there are free alternatives. While not as sophisticated or powerful as Photoshop, GimpFX offers a similar feature set.
And with plenty of video tutorials available on YouTube, you could be designing posters in no time – at no extra expense.
We cover the general principles of how to design an impactful poster in our piece about attention-grabbing poster designs.
In our blog hub, we’ve explored inspiration from a whole range of sources. Poster genres as diverse as these have all featured at one time or another:
For further inspiration, take a look at poster designs from your own sector. Pick out the most successful and see what they have in common.
Try to determine which elements work best, and where you can bring in your own originality.
For a more general toolkit of design ideas and apps, take a look at our round-up of useful free designer resources.
Whatever event you are holding, you need to get people through the door. Posters are one of your main tools to help achieve this.
When designing a poster, you need to:
What makes a successful poster depends on the type of event you’re promoting. What would capture the attention of a typical gig-goer may not be the same for someone looking to attend a business conference.
Our design team dubbed this Glastonbury poster a ‘hit’ – highlighting its larger typography and strong colour palette as reasons for its design success.
Event posters should include:
Try not to overwhelm the reader with information. Instead, keep it as brief as possible. Include a link to your website or social media so people can find out more.
Well-designed print ads stay with the reader, attract new customers and bring in huge volumes of sales. Think about the iconic Guinness ‘toucan’ posters or the Coca Cola Santa Claus.
Source: Guinness Archive
Ensure your message is clear and attractive – people should know what you are selling, and why they need it. Develop slogans and short copy that transform the features of your product into lifestyle benefits or capture the imagination with clever wordplay.
Include a call to action – what do you want someone to do when they’ve seen your ad? Craft a compelling line that inspires them to act.
Posters come in all shapes and sizes. But the dimensions you pick will have an effect on:
If you’re advertising a gig or a one-off event, portrait posters are the traditional choice. They’re ideally suited to make text-heavy designs accessible to readers.
Landscape posters generally suit photography-based designs. They’ve become an industry standard for artworks like movie posters.
Your choice of landscape or portrait won’t affect how your print is produced or the costs.
For something outside the norm, our strip posters are portrait-style but with extra room to work with. They’re available in A3, A2 and A1 sizes.
It’s important to follow a hierarchy of information when designing a poster. Write down every element you need to get across and then arrange them into a top-down list by priority.
A typical list would look like:
Remember not to overload your poster with information. Try to keep it legible and accessible to all.
A poster can range from a small A4 sheet to a full floor-to-ceiling display. The size that best suits your brand and design depends on the impact you hope to achieve and where it’s going to be viewed.
If you’re planning an indoor location for your poster, it’s best to choose a more compact size to fit the smaller space.
Larger posters, such as our B-series, will have a greater impact on audiences through sheer size alone. Plus, you have a bigger canvas for your design.
Here are the different poster sizes available at Solopress, and what they’re commonly used for.
Small posters are a cost-effective way to promote in several locations. These sizes are perfect for displaying in and around the community:
Medium-sized posters have more space for larger text and graphics, without being outlandish. These sizes can help your promotion get noticed:
Large posters demand attention. Their size gives you plenty of room to include all the details about your event, promotion or product:
Here’s a comprehensive guide to the poster sizes we print:
|A4||297 x 210mm||Perfect for doors and windows — or to double as a flyer|
|A3||420 x 297mm||Great on notice boards or in smaller spaces|
|A2||594 x 420mm||Make an impact in stores, homes and galleries|
|A1||841 x 594mm||Our most popular size — a classic eye-catching poster|
|A0||1189 x 841mm||A large-scale poster that makes a big impression|
|A3||594 x 210mm||Perfect for displaying on columns around stores|
|A2||841 x 297mm||A striking shape – great portrait banner|
|A1||1189 x 420mm||An ideal scale for portraying people and characters|
|B2||707 x 500mm||Performs brilliantly in windows|
|B1||1000 x 707mm||Can communicate over great distances|
|B0||1400 x 1000mm||Oversize theatrical posters with the ‘wow’ factor|
|20 X 30||508 x 762mm||A handy size in-between A2 and A1|
|30 X 40||762 x 1016mm||The classic landscape, cinematic poster size|
|40 X 60||1016 x 1524mm||A popular large-scale window poster|
If you need a poster in a non-standard size, contact us and we’ll do our best to meet your needs. For more information on poster sizes, including non-metric dimensions, you can check out our complete poster size guide.
Once you’re settled on the size, you can contact us for a poster template to help your artwork fit your poster size.
Your choice of paper can say a lot about what you’re promoting. The key is to match your paper type to your subject, not just your budget.
When we talk about types of paper, we’re referring to a combination of three things:
We have posters in a range of stocks and finishes, each with its own usage and benefits.
Premium, high shine surface which expresses quality and luxury. Gloss also protects the paper stock and lends durability to your poster.
However, this finish can reflect light, causing glare. Consider the conditions where your poster will be displayed.
In the right context, the visual appeal of a gloss finish poster can really pack a punch.
Bond paper is cost-effective and eco-friendly, without compromising on quality. The finish is also less reflective than gloss.
Bond is an industry-standard paper stock. This means you’ll have a full choice of classic poster sizes at your disposal in a range of thicknesses.
A popular choice for outdoor displays. If you want to promote an event or product, Day-glo poster printing can inject a shot of excitement.
Fluorescent green, orange, pink or yellow provide the backdrop to an unmissable message.
It’s not for the faint-hearted though, and you may wish to think twice before using Day-glo for high-end luxury goods.
Paper stocks for posters usually vary between 130 – 350gsm. We recommend a 170gsm for most poster sizes, as it’s a thicker paper, durable enough for outdoor use
If you need light box posters, we offer a dedicated paper stock for that purpose.
Your paper weight can also be influenced by your choice of finish. For instance, bond is already considered strong and durable, so you may not need the extra thickness. Silk paper offers a velvety smooth finish which benefits from a heavier stock.
Choose the right finish and weight with our guide to paper types.
Consider how you plan to distribute and display your posters before you begin designing, as this can affect your decision process.
If your business is open to the public, you can communicate with your audience onsite. Use your windows to encourage footfall. Then, when they visit, capture their attention with posters displayed around your walls, columns, doors and counter areas.
Place your posters in sites with heavy footfall, road traffic, or where your audience is likely to gather. Identify the locations that will work for you and explore your display options.
If you’re part of a shopping centre, ask yourself:
Do some research to discover whether they are council-run or privately managed.
Remember that flyposting (displaying promotional posters without permission) is illegal. In England and Wales, it could land you with an £80 fine, a fixed penalty notice or an appearance before a magistrate as well as the cost of removing your posters.
If you have far-reaching ambitions for your poster campaign – and a budget to match – you can bring in an agency to look after your outdoor ads. They’ll help you spread your message on commercial billboards, public transport and beyond.
Now you have these tips and tricks at your disposal, your poster could be turning heads in no time. With quick turnarounds and free standard UK delivery, print posters with Headline Printers today.
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