How To Create An Effective Poster

Poster printing has long been an effective and popular form of marketing and advertising used by businesses of all sizes and types. Printed posters provide a cost-effective and affordable form of visual communication and are ideal for promoting all elements of business products, services, and events – here are some tips on how to create an effective printed poster for your business:


As with any design, you need to plan it out before starting work on the actual content – a simple sketch or drawing is a great starting point to plan your poster design. Identifying the message you are trying to convey with your poster design is the first thing to establish, and from there you can start to visualise your content and layout by drawing each of the individual elements you want to include, and where they should appear in relation to each other and the overall design.


Having established a general outline of the look and the content, you need to consider the format and the size of your poster – many online print companies offer a choice of templates from which you can choose the type of poster you want to create. Consider how and where you are going to use your poster to the greatest effect – will it just be a physical printed poster to be displayed in different locations, or will you want it to be effective in a smaller version as on online poster? If both, you will need to think about how the design lends itself to dual purpose – for example, what looks great in big, bold typeface and imagery may be ‘overwhelming’ and crowded on a small screen as a display on social media platforms, so choice of typography and images is important!


The main aim of your poster is to grab the attention of your target audience and then convey a clear, concise message to them about your business, product, service or event – so it has to be legible, even from a distance! To ensure your poster is easy to read, you need to create a hierarchy of content on your poster design – it is best to go with no more than three ‘layers’ of hierarchy. The main element is the headline – that is the feature that grabs the initial attention of your customer. Just because it is called the headline doesn’t necessarily mean that it must be at the top of the poster – it can be anywhere on the design, but it must be the element that stands out! The second hierarchical element is the details – this is the important information you need your customer to know – perhaps the date, time, location and participants of an event, or the specific product or service and where they can be found or accessed. It is best to use a font about half the size of your headline display and is simple, familiar to most people and is easily read. The third element of the poster design hierarchy is the fine print – perhaps a little more detail on the event, product, or service the poster is advertising -information that is useful but not essential for the reader.


Your poster design needs to catch the attention of people – so colours are important! A well thought out colour palette can be the element that grabs that initial interest – think about what it is your poster is trying to convey and choose colours that are appropriate. For example, if your poster is promoting a celebratory, summer event then bright, vibrant colours will be most effective to set the tone for the event, whereas if your poster is promoting a, perhaps, more adult, sophisticated event or product, then simple black and white colouring could be more appropriate and effective. Remember though, whilst colours can be effective, you don’t want the poster design to be too ‘overpowering’ and ‘busy’ – it is recommended you use between 3- 5 different colours at most!


The use of contrast in your poster design can be very powerful – you can create different layers on your poster with colour contrast – light against dark, bright against a muted background. You can also create an eye-catching contrast with the use of different-sized images or text, or contrasting font styles – anything that creates interest for the eye and will make people look harder at the poster.

Visual Images

Visual images are very important in effective poster design – a dominant image or graphic will have that initial impact and grab the attention, so it is okay to go big and bold with an image. Often, one big dramatic image is the thing that sets your poster apart from others and piques the customer interest, but ensure the image is relevant and high quality – a ‘grainy’ or poor-quality image will have a negative effect on those who see it!


Your poster does not have to be “all singing, all dancing” to grab people’s attention – the aim of the poster is to get attention, then communicate your message to people, and you don’t want that message to get lost in a morass of colour and text, so it’s okay to go ‘minimalist’ in your design. For some promotions, a simple, straightforward display will be the most effective!

Print Process

Once you have finalised your design, you need to consider the print process and materials that will be the most effective for your poster – consult with an established and reputable print company that can advise you on, and offer templates to help with, your design, and then produce the printed posters on the best, high-grade materials of print and paper stock. Contact us today if you have any questions.