Everyone loves good poster design. Who’s never had big brash images of their favourite movies and bands plastered all over their bedroom walls? There’s just something about a good old fashioned poster that can’t be beaten.

But aside from obscuring our wallpaper with pop culture icons, posters also serve an important marketing purpose. Displayed in magazines, shops windows, billboards, and bus stops, posters represent an excellent opportunity for marketing departments to get creative. 

But like all aspects of design and marketing, there’s a trick to good poster design. Several tricks, in fact. And we’ve listed 5 of them here. Feel free to take a look, and happy poster making! 

Give it the Glance Factor

Last time we talked about poster design, we discussed the golden rule: the Glance Factor. 

Simply put, the Glance Factor is all about how fast the key information on your poster can be consumed. If it takes more than a glance, cut back on content. Most people will only spare a passing glance at the majority of posters, even the most striking and original. That’s because most posters appear in an advertisement setting (scattered through magazines, pasted in shop windows etc). 

The question to ask is: if someone spends two seconds looking at your poster, will they get the gist? Minimal text, striking imagery, and bold colours can all help to achieve this result. Use strong, bold headlines, and incorporate a clear call-to-action.    

Be consistent 

When designing your poster, try to create a unified aesthetic throughout. Use no more than two fonts (one for headings, one for body), and make sure the colour palette is satisfying and unified. 

Consistency is especially important if you’ll be designing a series of posters for the same project. This is where uniform font choices and an established colour scheme will pay off. Imagine it as if the posters formed a brand of their own. They need to match up, side by side, and make sense visually. 

This point also applies to the content of your poster. Your colour, font, and image choices should all align, thematically, with the nature of your brand and the purpose of the poster campaign

Be bold

It’s always important to remember that people rarely seek out marketing posters. This means that the onus is on us, the designers, to grab their attention and compel them to look. One surefire way of achieving this is to be bold. 

Get big, get stark, get eye-popping. Use alluring fonts. Make your poster design stand out from the background noise of every day existence. When we’re walking down the street, or flicking through a magazine, or sitting in a waiting room, it’s easy to slip into autopilot and disengage with our surroundings. As designers, we should see posters as an opportunity to snap people out of daydreams. Make someone look twice and blink. That’s the sign of a good poster!

Prioritise your content

As we’ve mentioned, posters need to be high impact. They should deliver their message as quickly and efficiently as possible. In order to do this, a poster’s contents and layout need to be carefully considered. Whichever part of the poster is most relevant to the message should also be the most prominent

A great example of this concept in action is music festival posters. Take a look at one of these and you’ll notice immediately how the text is the focal point. They also tend to incorporate vibrant colours, bold and creative fonts, and possibly some text-infused illustration work. 

This illustrates the point wonderfully, because the main draw of a music festival is, of course, the musicians. There’s no need for anything else. 

At the other end of the spectrum, you might be designing a poster to advertise a photography service. In this case it’s likely that very little text will be used in favour of the imagery. 

Make use of white/dark space 

White/dark space is a fantastic visual tool that can often go overlooked. By utilising white or dark space in a poster, we can more effectively draw a viewer’s eye to a particular point of interest

It creates balance and unity, and offers a stark contrast to the many cluttered image- and text-heavy posters that are already out there. 

White/dark space, ultimately, focuses attention, creates visual harmony, and puts huge emphasis on the visual and text elements that are present in a poster.

Get inspired

To see some great posters in action, take a look at The 7 Best World Cup Posters Of All Time. Or, for more design tips, why not read our guide to creating effective leaflets.