How to Create an Effective Poster

by Heather Bliss; Updated September 26, 2017
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During a presentation, a well-designed poster can be a powerful aid that helps focus visual attention to your cause. An effective poster grabs attention from the viewer and immediately communicates its main idea, while a poorly designed poster can confuse people and waste time and money. Designing a poster that gets results can seem difficult, but it is actually easy to do if you keep your budget and goals in mind and keep your design simple and direct.

Step 1

Figure out your main point. Posters are designed to communicate an idea quickly and in a limited space. On campaign posters, the main point is to get the candidate's name across. On sales flyers, the main point may be a new business grand opening, a sale or a special product. Decide what you want your viewers to get from the poster, even if they only see it for a second or two.

Step 2

Figure out the amount of money you are willing to spend on the poster. Decide a high range and a low range for budget on materials and labor.

Step 3

Decide the size of your poster. Keep in mind how far your viewers will be from the sign when they see it. A sign meant to attract cars from the street will need to be much larger than a sign that is meant to be seen by passers-by on the sidewalk.

Step 4

Write down the information you want to make sure you get on the poster. Important information can include dates, times and locations, but can also include names, the cost of the event or service and important information. Prioritize the list in order of what information is most important.

Step 5

Choose a clear, readable font with enough spacing for each letter to be clearly defined so the poster can be read from far away. Avoid flowery fonts that have script or embellishments which can make a poster difficult to read.

Step 6

Choose the colors you want for your poster. Bold colors are most likely to be seen from far away, but they may not mesh with what you are trying to communicate. For instance, yellow and red might be bold colors that are good for communicating mattress sales and fast food deals, but they can be somewhat harsh for advertising services meant to be relaxing, like a spa pedicure.

Step 7

Pick the most important thing that you want to communicate on the poster and put it on first. Try to communicate it visually, rather than with words, since pictures are understood more quickly. Use pictures or symbols that can be seen from far away. Place it in a prominent spot on the poster, either in the center or on the top part of the poster.

Tips

  • Choose a poster color that attracts attention, but avoid colors which are unpleasant or overly bright. Avoid including unnecessary information on your poster that might cloud the main point.

About the Author

Heather Bliss has been writing professionally since 1998, specializing in technology, computer repair, gardening, music and politics. Bliss holds an Associate of Arts in journalism from Moorpark College. She also has a Bachelor of Arts from California State University, San Marcos, completed with a focus on music and performing arts technology.

Photo Credits

  • graduation poster image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com