Some of the most iconic pieces of design within pop culture are found on posters. By combining creative composition with clever wording, you too can produce an eye-catching advertisement that instantly attracts an audience for your event or promotion – and encourages them to take a desired action.
Find out everything you need to know about how to design your next attention-grabbing poster with our six frequently asked questions.
What is a poster?
A poster is a printed advertisement, used to promote something temporarily and usually placed somewhere public, where it can be noticed by lots of people.
They tend to combine:
- A bold headline or slogan
- Succinct copy showing key messages
- Key information for events or offers
- A mix of different colours or a monotone scheme with several shades of the same tone
- Leading image or graphic that supports the text
With a well-designed mix of these elements, posters attract the attention of those passing-by. Famous and iconic posters include…
- Movie posters like Jaws and Vertigo
- Advertising posters like the Guinness toucan
- Event posters like Théophile Steinlen’s ads for “Le Chat Noir”
- Political posters like ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’
How do I design a poster for an event?
Whatever event you are holding you need to get people through the door. Posters, alongside other forms of print and digital advertising, are one of your main tools to promote your event. When designing a poster, you need to do two main things:
- Capture their attention: Original design that stops people in their tracks
- Enable them to attend: The information they need to get there on time
What makes an original design depends very much on the type of event you’re promoting. What would capture the attention of a typical gig goer may not, for example, be the same as that for someone looking to attend a business conference or political rally.
Our design team dubbed this Glastonbury poster a ‘hit’ – highlighting its larger typography and strong colour palette as reasons for its design success.
Designing a poster for a gig? See some other festival examples with our guide to Glastonbury poster designs.
Key information to include on your poster may seem self-explanatory, but it’s worth including this short checklist. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than printing your poster and realising it’s missing key detail.
Event posters should include:
- Date – the reader needs to know exactly when your event is taking place
- Time – and when to arrive – when the doors open and the headline act starts
- Venue – if they don’t know where you are, how can they attend?
- Age restrictions – how annoyed would you be if this wasn’t included and you couldn’t attend?
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.
How do I make an advertisement poster?
Well-designed advertising posters and 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.
Learn from these icons when designing your own advertising poster. Ensure your message is clear and attractive – at a glance, 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.
Look for opportunities to portray your brand in an original way.
In the Guinness toucan poster, the black and white bird – illustrated by well-known artist John Gilory – is seen balancing two pints on its long beak.
Looking for more inspiration? Read our guide to attention-grabbing poster design ideas.
What poster sizes are there?
A poster can range from a small A4 sheet to a full floor-to-ceiling display. The size that suits your brand and design best depends on the impact you hope to achieve.
Here are the different poster sizes available at Solopress, and what they are commonly used for:
Displaying in multiple locations
Small posters are a cost-effective way to promote in several different areas. The following sizes are perfect for displaying in and around the community:
- A4 – 210 x 297 mm 3 x 11.7 in
- A3 – 297 x 420 mm 7 x 16.5 in
Medium-sized posters have more space for larger text and graphics, without being outlandish. These sizes can help your promotion get noticed:
- A2 – 420 x 594 mm 16.5 x 23.4 in
- A1 – 594 x 841 mm 23.4 x 33.1 in
- A0 – 841 x 1189 mm 1 x 46.8 in
Conveying lots of information
Large posters are designed to demand attention. Their size gives you plenty of room to include all the details about your event, promotion or product:
- B2 – 500 x 707 mm 19.7 x 27.8 in
- B1 – 707 x 1000 mm 8 x 39.4 in
- B0 – 1000 x 1414 mm 39.4 x 55.7 in
This is just a sample of the most commonly-used poster sizes on offer. For a full breakdown on which size best suits your design, check out our poster size guide.
What is the best paper weight for posters?
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 – but it depends where you’re planning to display it. If it’s for light box advertising, for example, we offer a dedicated paper stock for that purpose.
Your poster paper weight can also be influenced by your choice of paper finish. For instance, bond is already considered strong and durable, so you may not need the extra thickness. Silk paper that offers a velvety smooth finish will benefit from a heavier weighted stock.
Choose the right paper with our guide to paper types.
What’s the best design software for posters?
There are various programmes that can help you design your poster, including Adobe InDesign and Microsoft Publisher. These design tools will allow you to bring text, imagery and illustration together to compose your poster.
If you’re struggling to find inspiration, we have in-house designers at Solopress who can turn your ideas into artwork – and save you time and effort.
With quick order turnarounds and free standard UK delivery, your posters will be turning heads in no time. Shop poster printing today.