We at Avalon Print & Design regularly get asked, what makes a good poster? Will it stand out? Will it grab people’s attention when they read, walk or drive past it? All valid questions as its pointless spending your hard earned money on printing and putting posters up, if the design or message is not going to get you the result you want!! Unlike other printed promotional advertising such as leaflets or booklets, posters are used to shout at their reader from a far, however in other environments such as doctor’s surgeries, waiting rooms and hotels a more informative approach can be taken to pass on more detailed information in an educational format rather than a shock tactic.
We have outlined below, what our design team think to be the crucial elements in designing your poster.
1. Keep design simple
Your design needs to be concise and to the point, the information you choose has to be the important headlines of your message. There is no place here for fine detail. Once of the most iconic posters ever produced in 1914 for the war effort was Lord Kitchener’s ‘Your country needs you’ Simple and very engaging through a powerful illustration, which used strong eye contact to grab your attention.
2. Go Easy on colour
Be careful not to go too wild with colour. Everyone wants an eye-catching design, but colour is complimentary and needs to be used sparingly. Too much colour can cause your design to become too busy, less is more is certainly the way to go here.
3. Background colour choice
Choose your background colour wisely, so it doesn’t overwhelm your design. Most posters have the important information to the front, the background is either used to break up the blank space or to enhance the text in the foreground and help it stand out rather than hindering it.
4. Easy to follow flow
Make sure the flow of your poster design is easy to follow. By ‘flow’ we mean that the main heading text will be read first, then any sub heading and any call to action if necessary. Your readers don’t have time to second guess what information is the most important and what is secondary, so make sure that there is a big enough difference between the initial message and the further detail.
5. You need to know how long does it take to read your poster?
Your readers have only a matter of a few seconds in order to absorb the information on a poster, they could be walking past it or driving past it – so be sure to double check how long it takes to read. If you are opting for a poster to be seen when people are on the go, then test it’s readability on your colleagues or friends, make sure they get the message in the quickest time possible. As them to look away then look at the poster for a second then look away again… did they get the initial message?. Do the test again but this time for two second… did they get the secondary message? Then depending on the results you may need to adjust your design.
6. Use the correct resolution and font
It’s very important to use any images and graphics at the correct resolution. Don’t expect a small A7 flyer you many have had produced will make it up to an A0 size without it becoming blurred. There is a certain amount of compensation given to posters though, they don’t need to be produced at 300dpi as you would a brochure or handheld leaflet. With a poster you stand a few feet away from, so it’s possible to have the resolution to 150dpi when designing an A2 or larger poster. To ensure the highest possible impact then easy to read fonts are best. Its also not a good idea to mix the fonts styles too much, complimentary font styles work best, keeping fonts within the same font family work well, but the odd completely different font helps to break it up and creates visual interest.
7. POWERFUL HEADLINE
Grab the attention with a memorable headline, think of how the tabloid newspapers achieve this. Very large type containing no more than 6 words, then a secondary message which leads you in further (only if you are interested in the headline of course)
8. CALL TO ACTION CRUCIAL
Once your reader has understood the message, what do you want them to do next? Give them direction here, how do they contact you or how can they obtain further information to hopefullybuy your products and services? Add the relevant contact details; do you want them to telephone go to your website or contact through social media? But be careful and don’t overdo it. Having too many points of contact will no doubt clutter your design but it may confuse the message. Keep it to one or two, three if you must then 3 but no more.