How to Design Posters

Although many business marketing strategies are revolving around electronic communication, such as blogs, Tweets and Twitters, making an announcement "the old fashioned way," with a poster, doesn’t have to have an old-fashioned feel. The key to designing successful and effective posters is planning ahead and keeping your target audience in mind. When you want to capture the attention of people passing by, a poster can lead to instant gratification, and action from your prospective customers’ part. Use a basic graphics program, included with all Windows operating systems, to design a poster worthy of another look.

Start the Windows Paint software. Click the “Paint” button in the top-left corner of the work area. Choose “Properties.” Brainstorm your ideal poster size — it may need to fill an employee bulletin board, your storefront window, or go on the side of a shipping van. Enter the dimensions in the “Width” and “Height” boxes on the “Image Properties” window. Click the “Inches” radio button. Click the “OK” button and Paint resizes the blank poster canvas working area.

Determine what your poster’s main headline or attention-grabber will be. Choose a color from the “Colors” section of the ribbon — pick a color that goes with your company brand or connotes a message, such as red for “Stop” or green for “Go.” Another option is to choose basic black.

Click the “A” icon on the “Tools” section of the ribbon. Click the top or middle of the poster, wherever you want the headline to go. People read from top to bottom, but you may want your largest headline text to be at the reader’s eye level, which will depend on where you’ll hang the poster. Choose a font, which should be something clear and easy to read, such as Arial or Tahoma, and a large text size.

Type the poster headline, such as “Blow-Out Sale Starts Sunday!” or “Now Hiring, Please Apply Within.”

Select a new color for additional wording on the poster, or keep the current color. Click above or below the header, depending on where you added it. Adjust the font and font size if desired, making the text slightly smaller so the headline stands out. Type the additional text for the poster, which may include directions on how to do something, safety information, product details or an advertisement for an upcoming event.

Add company information to the poster if desired, so viewers can contact you, such as a website, phone number, hours of operation and directions.

Choose a color from the “Colors” section that you haven’t yet used and won’t clash with the poster text, such as a light color if you used dark text. Click the paint bucket icon in the “Tools” section. Click anywhere in the white section of the poster to give it a background color. Skip this step if you’ll be printing the poster on any kind of designer or specialty pre-printed paper.

Click the “Paint” button. Choose “Save As.” Enter a name for the poster file. Click the “Save as type” menu and choose JPG or your printer’s preferred image file format. Click the “Save” button.