Tips for Designing and Protecting Your Posters
Posters have been the medium behind some of the most iconic pieces of design within popular culture. They encourage anyone who sees them to take a desired action and – by combining clever wording with an attractive design – anyone can produce an eye-catching advertisement that instantly attracts an audience for your event or promotion.
Today, we’re going to answer some of the most common poster questions out there, so that you can learn everything you need to know about filling your poster frames with the most attention-grabbing poster designs possible.
Let the 2020s be the decade your business really masters its branding. Update your office’s walls or your shop’s poster cases for a fresh new start. There are so many different types of design out there – it’s time to find your perfect poster.
What Are Posters?
Designed to get noticed by lots of people, posters are printed advertisements that are usually placed somewhere public to promote something for a limited period of time. Key features include…
- Bold text with buzzwords.
- Important details of the subject being promoted.
- Attractive graphics or photographs to support the copy.
- A simple and clear layout so your reader knows where to find the information.
- A mix of different colours or a monotone scheme with several shades of the same tone.
- Succinct copy showing key messages.
Posters attract the attention of those passing-by using a combination of these elements. Successful posters you may recognise include:
- The 1890 Moulin Rouge poster, advertising the Paris cabaret.
- Flagg’s 1917 I Want YOU for US Army (“Uncle Sam”) poster, recruiting soldiers to fight in WWI and WWII.
- Coca-Cola’s Santa Claus posters, first printed in 1931.
- Political posters like ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’.
- Advertising posters like the Guinness toucan.
8 Top tips for designing posters
1. Make sure it can be seen at a distance
People have busy lives and are often rushing around from one place to another and they don't always have time to stop and study a notice board or poster case in order to get the information that they need. The solution? Make sure that your posters are printed with the key information big, bold, and easy to see at a distance.
When you are designing a poster for your business or school, think about it as having 3 main layers.
- The Headline:
The headline should be the largest element on your poster, grabbing the attention of visitors to your business or pasersby, even from a distance. Use a readable font and typeface, and don’t put too many elements near the headline text.
- The Details:
Now you need to add your most important details – the what, the when, and the where? You should answer these vital questions in the next layer of your poster. Drop down to a smaller size text, and consider using a contrasting colour or design elements to differentiate the information.
- The Fine Print:
Add all of the least important details, or the details that only affect certain people. Keep the fine print small, and keep it out of the way of the more vital info.
2. Play around with contrast and colours
First impressions are always important – with posters, you have just a few moments to capture someone’s attention and get them hooked. When you are presenting info to potential customers for your business or parents, teachers and students for your school, you want them to take the time to read what you have posted.
Say goodbye to monotone colours, beige, and simple black and white. Use digital editing software to play around with contrast, colours, and gradients. Even if your brand is rather conservative, posters are an opportunity to go a bit wild! Consider a bold background colour – it will capture attention a lot more than a simple white canvas.
3. Think about the poster’s size and location
If you are planning to display your poster in an outdoor poster case, you need to consider how much space you have to play with. You might already have a series of other important posters in your lockable poster case – how much room do you realistically have for your new poster?
If your poster case becomes too cluttered, every poster contained within is going to lose its strong impact. The last thing you want to do is present people with a heap of visual clutter – their eyes will glaze over, and you’ve lost their attention.
Make choices about your placement and sizing before you start designing. This ensure that your call to action won’t be lost in the clutter.
4. Choose a big, dynamic visual element
Nothing will capture the attention of potential customers like a bold and dynamic visual element. Use a photo, a quote, or an illustration as a central image, and ensure that it can be seen and understood from a distance.
The most common option is to choose an image that directly relates to your poster’s topic. However, you can also select an image that contrasts with what you have posted. For example, when suggesting that people use good manners in the body of your text, you could post a grumpy cat cartoon to show the alternative!
5. Keep things spacious
Exaggerated spacing in an essay? Terrible. But exaggerated spacing on a poster? Perfection! Using extra spacing can help people read your poster from a distance, and will therefore increase its overall impact.
Some places on your poster that can benefit from extra spacing:
- Around individual letters.
- Between your lines of text.
- Between your images and text elements.
- Around the most important focal point – including your call to action.
- Around the borders and margins of the poster.
6. Make sure that you always include a ‘Call to Action’
If you want people to get excited about your poster content, you need to give them a ‘goal’ to take away and action. Take a page out of the sales field and give them a clear and convincing set of instructions.
Maybe you need them to sign up for an event, or you want them to think about health and safety. Don’t be afraid to spell out exactly what you want them to do next!
7. Make a Few Smaller Versions for use in Different Settings
When you are designing your poster, you are likely thinking of how it will look when it is printed and displayed on the wall. However, it pays to think about how it will look as a digital file. You can also design smaller versions of your poster that will do even more work for you.
Scale down the design to print it as flyers and handouts, embed the digital file into emails, and post it on your social media accounts. This will get your poster – and its important information – even more attention.
8. Have Fun with it!
If you can't be whimsical, fun, and a bit over the top in your setting, where can you be? Posters can be a lot of fun, and are a great way to engage your future clients and even give them a giggle. Puns, ‘dad jokes’ and visual gags are all right at home on a poster.
Go for something new – remember, if you stun and excite your readers, they’ll be more likely to actually absorb the information on the poster! So feel free to go as a creative and dynamic as you want!
How Do You Design an Event Poster?
You need to get people to come through your door, no matter what type of event you’re planning. One of the main tools you should be using to promote your event is a good poster, alongside other forms of print and digital advertising. There are two main things you need to make sure you’re doing when you design your event poster…
- Enable them to attend: The information they need to get there on time.
- Stop people in their tracks by capturing their attention with an original design.
The type of event you’re promoting should determine the features that make up your original design. Someone looking to attend a political rally or a gig, for example, will be attracted to different designs than someone interested in attending a trade show. Design success can be achieved through many routes – things like strong typography and a thematically appropriate colour palette can make a big difference.
If you’re unsure what direction to choose for your poster, try looking at posters for similar events for some inspiration. It’s also worth taking a look at this short checklist – the key information you need to include on your poster may seem self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised by how many designers miss the mark. You spend a lot of money on your printed marketing materials. Realising your poster is missing a key detail after putting a massive amount of time and effort into designing and printing it is the ultimate frustration.
Make sure your event poster includes…
- The date of your event.
- Location – where do your guests need to go?
- Your contact information (if guests need to inform you before attending).
- Age restrictions – do guests need to be a certain age to attend?
- Time – and when to arrive – when the doors open and the headline act starts.
Remember that too much information can overwhelm the reader. Keep it as brief as possible to avoid losing people’s attention. If people want to find out more, encourage them to do so through your social media or website.
Protecting your posters
It pays to protect your posters. After all, you’ve spent time designing your poster, and then you’ve spent the money (and effort) printing them. What could be more galling than having your posters ripped down by wind, soaked through with rain, or scribbled upon and destroyed by vandals?
If you want to protect your financial and time investment, not to mention prevent unnecessary waste, you need to keep your posters safe from harm. Outdoor poster cases come complete with a Perspex panel and a rubber seal to keep your posters from getting soaked in the rain.
You could also opt for a lockable poster case to keep others from tampering with your posters and other printed materials. Lockable poster cases also prevent others in your school from posting non-approved materials. They’ll need to seek out the key holder to remove anything, or post anything new.
Do I Need a Poster Case?
Poster cases for businesses:
Some businesses cycle through different posters on a regular basis, while others will use the same printed materials for year at a time. You might also have certain posters that you bring out for seasonal events, holidays, and sales. Sure, having a poster that looks good enough to steal could be considered a compliment, but not when it’s costing you a lot of money! Posters and displays can get ruined and damaged in a variety of ways.
Spending some time thinking about how best to protect your posters, displays, flyers and leaflets makes sense when printing them out is such a sizeable investment. A well-designed poster, while more effective than a cheaper design, will also be more attractive to those interested in stealing posters, and any unprotected poster is at risk from vandalism or weather damage. You should take a few extra steps to make sure your posters can last as long as possible – if you’re investing in designing, printing and hanging them, you should also invest in protecting them.
However often you change your poster, there’s a poster case out there that can protect it. If you want to stay as close to your budget as possible, keeping your posters looking their best during use and between uses is vital.
Poster Cases: The Must-Have Office Product for 2020
A good poster case, outdoors or indoors, can be really beneficial to your office – as it will be to any office, preschool, college, university, local authority, public area, corporate building, shop or restaurant. It’s easy to get confused between all the different types when you’re looking for a new poster frame or case for your business. But when posters are at risk from vandalism (or even just accidental damage in high-traffic areas), there’s nothing like a snap frame or lockable poster case to keep them safe and clean. It also saves you a lot of time and effort if you don't have to print new versions of your posters every time you need them.
Read more: Must-Have Office Products for 2020
Poster cases for schools:
Are your school’s posters protected with lockable poster cases? If they are displayed outside, do you have them in professional poster cases that keep them safe from the elements?
Schools are places where information is shared on a constant basis. As a headmaster or member of the admin team, it seems like you always have something to share with the students. While you likely send out regular emails and update your school or college’s website, there are still some things that can only be shared in a poster.
Common school posters include safety information, upcoming events, sign up sheets, and holiday celebrations. Why not stretch your creative muscles and experiment with poster design?
Choosing the right poster case for your school posters
Now that you have spent time, energy, and money designing and printing your school’s posters, it is time to protect and display them. We at Red17 have a wide array of poster cases for you to choose from.
Illuminated poster cases are great for dimly lit areas, and a brightly coloured vandal resistant poster case is perfect for the pick up and drop off area. Don't be put off by poster cases labeled as ‘menu cases’ – they can work exceptionally well for schools as well.
If you are unsure about which poster cases will work best for your school, our friendly and knowledgeable team can help. We are experts in poster cases, and can advise you on the best options for your location, budget, and specific needs. Call or email us, and we will be happy to assist.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like:
- Posters: Content, Colour & Design Tips
- So you're about to invest in a lockable poster case?
- How to Create Posters that Get Noticed