When done right, a poster can be a great way of grabbing someone’s attention. From there, you will be able to get the viewer to do what you want them to. This can be changing their mind about something or getting them to attend an event. 

However, for you to have this effect, you will need to design your poster effectively. But what are the rules in poster making? Here are the nine most important guidelines to follow. 

Know Your Purpose

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to create a poster. Some of the most common reasons include: 

  • Scientific. This will often be designed to inform people about something. 
  • Political. These tell people about a candidate, intending to get the public to vote for them. 
  • Promotion. This is one of the most common types of poster. They will highlight an event or product, with the idea of getting people to make a purchase. 
  • Informational. These help to inform people about an important issue. 
  • Instructional. Finally, these posters will tell you what to do. 

The type of poster you are making will help you answer the most critical question. What is required in a poster?  For example, if you are making a scientific or informational poster, you need to use some facts and provide plenty of detail. But if you are making an instructional poster, it might be best to keep it simple. Tell people what you want them to do and why.  

The best thing to ask yourself is what you want the person to do. Then, you can start to drill down on your audience and what tactics will be most effective. Because of this, a poster aimed at college professors will be very different from one aimed at primary school children. 

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Get the Right Layout

Once you know what your audience will be, you can start to think about how you are going to organize the information. In this case, you will need to make sure that the information flows properly. You need to progress clearly from one thought to the other. You can use arrows or background colors to guide the viewer so that they can follow the correct sequence. 

You’ll also have to think about how the text will be presented. It will need to be large enough that people will be able to read it from a distance. But not so large that it takes up too much space on the poster. It’s also best to limit yourself to two or three fonts. This will help you achieve a more uniform look. 

It’s also essential to think about the way that you are using blank space. This will ensure that your poster doesn’t appear cluttered. 

Pick Visually Striking Images

A poster is a visual way of conveying information. Because of this, you want to pick something that will instantly grab the attention of the viewer. This is especially important if your poster will be in a high-traffic area. Once you have their attention, they will be more likely to stay and read through the rest of the poster. 

Use Royalty-Free Images

If you are planning on using images you got online, make sure to check the copyright and understand why you can’t use editorial stock photos for commercial use. This ensures that you aren’t stealing someone else’s images. It’s best to stick to royalty-free sites; some of the most popular ones are: 

Pick a Catchy Title

Another way to grab your audience’s attention is through a catchy title. This is a good way of spiking people’s interest in a complex topic. Try to come up with a few titles and ask friends and family. Ideally, it should be interesting enough to convince someone who knows nothing about the topic to stop and read your poster. 

Click on this link to see how better to attract the viewer’s eye with catchy ideas.

Avoid Text Blocks

Another way to make your poster more appealing is by avoiding large blocks of text. This can scare some people off, as reading it all will be a big commitment. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be informative; you just need to put more thought into the way it is presented. Some tips you can use include: 

  • Using plenty of dot points. These are easy to read and will allow you to present a lot of information in a short period. 
  • Use graphs. If you are trying to present scientific studies, a graph can be a good way of presenting your conclusions visually. 
  • Talk people through it. If you are tackling a complex topic, it might be best to use the poster as a visual aid. In this case, the poster just needs to convey the basics, as you will be on hand to provide more detail. Because of this, you might want to put a picture of yourself on the poster. This will allow people to find you if you aren’t at the booth. 
  • Don’t get too wordy. Sometimes too many words will overwhelm the viewer and it’s important to find the sweet spot. This element shouldn’t be overlooked so you will want to read this article Can Posters Have Words? (And How Many is Too Much?)
Graphic Designer
This is the Wacom Tablet I use professionally to design movie posters

Use a Call to Action

You need to be clear about what you want the viewer to do when they encounter your poster. This might be purchasing tickets to an event. Or it could be learning more about your area of research. Either way, you need to be clear about the next steps they should take. Put this on the poster. Today, you can use QR code technology. This allows you to easily link to a website. 

Use Other Visual Aids

If you have to make a poster presentation, you might want to use a visual aid. This can be a video on your tablet. This is a good way of explaining more about a complex topic. If you want, you can take things one step further. Create a website. You’ll then be able to use a QR code to link to this from your poster. 

Have Fun

The most important part of designing your poster, though, is having fun. Make sure to inject a piece of your own personality. If you would stop and read through it, other people will. Plus, using your personality will give the poster a unique feel. 

5 Things You Need to Make a Great Poster 

Hopefully, you have a better idea of what will make a great poster. Here are the five things that you will need to achieve this goal: 

  1. Have a clear idea. Before you do anything, you need to be very clear on what you want to convey. If you don’t have a clear idea, you will struggle to make a cohesive poster. 
  2. Use poster creation software. You could make your poster by hand. But this is a lot of work. Instead, it’s best to use poster creation software. This will ensure that all the elements are going in the right place. You can check out the Top 11 Google Aps or check out The Ultimate Graphic Designers Tool Kit or pick a few options from this list: 
  3. Paper. This one is pretty obvious but using a heavier and thicker paper can make all the difference. Thankfully we have an article outling the differences and what to look for here: What Is The Best Paper Weight for Posters? 
  4. Printer. If you are making your design using computer software, you will need to be able to print it out. If your printer at home isn’t big enough, save it to a USB stick, (this is the one I use) and take it to your local copy center. 
  5. Poster board or another backing material. If you have a large poster, you will often need to prop it up. Because of this, you will need to put it onto some poster board. Or you can print it out onto some paper and laminate it.  If you have the money you can get it porfessionally dry mounted and we talk about the pricing here.
  6. Time. Designing a great poster will take time. You’ll need to draft it out and experiment to find the ideal layout. 

Or, if you want to really make an impression, you will want to see numerous creative materials to print on, which are laid out in this article:

And of course, using the correct PPI (pixels per inch) or DPI (dots per inch) in your design is essential when it comes to the final product. We drop knowledge in this article:

Final Thoughts

A poster can be a great way of conveying a lot of information at short notice. However, designing one can be deceptively tricky. While it might take a while, you will be able to create a poster that you are happy with. As long as you follow these nine tips, you shouldn’t encounter too many problems. 

If you are interested in becoming a professional designer, you can find out the necessary skills here or read This Is How You Become a Movie Poster Artist & Designer.

However, suppose you are really interested in becoming a movie poster designer. In that case, you will want to sign up for our newsletter as we are currently creating an online course, and subscribers will be the first to be notified.

Also, check out our YouTube channel, which has numerous tutorials to help get you started!