Everything You Need To Know About Poster Design

A poster serves a purpose for charities, festivals, school announcements, and even a company’s branding. In fact, posters have become a go-to option for a lot of companies. This is where poster design and outdoor advertising come into play. 

In poster design, you have to consider different things to achieve your primary goal. The design has to speak to your audience and urge them to act. And all these have everything to do with graphics, placement, colors, and more. 

What are the steps in creating a poster? And what factors do you need to consider to make it as effective as possible? Here’s a quick rundown to help you get a head start. 


Steps in Creating a Poster Design 


1. Choose the right size

size guide for poster design

Depending on your poster’s purpose, the poster size matters. For example, if you’re creating a poster for commercial advertising, a 27” x 39” poster will work as it gives you a bigger space for graphics and texts. 

If it’s for a minor announcement, you can use the smallest size, which is 11” x 17”. On the other hand, event posters for charities, music festivals, and sports fests can use an 18” x 24” poster. 

In a nutshell, it’s crucial to choose the right poster size, so it doesn’t look unsuited. Here’s a guide for the most common poster sizes.  


2. Determine the poster’s purpose

plastic pollution advocacy poster

What do you want to achieve out of your poster? Are you spreading advocacies? Or are you inviting people for a product launch? 

While the former would still need graphics to be as equally captivating, it would rely heavily on words that tug at your audience’s heartstrings. On the flip side, the latter might dwell on high-quality images of your products that will entice your target market. 

Here’s an apt example from Fishing For Litter.


3. Build the design around your audience

summer concert poster

The poster design should be built around your audience. If the poster doesn’t resonate with your audience, all your efforts will be futile. 

For example, if you’re creating a poster for a children’s event, making the poster child-friendly by including bright colors and cartoon-like graphics could appeal to parents and children’s eyes. 

This example is of a summer music festival. The colors are orange and teal, which are cool colors that are reminiscent of summertime. It’s also fresh and modern, which resonates with partygoers of this sort.


4. Use online tools or hire experts for graphics

movie poster

This step is extremely crucial and shouldn’t be taken lightly. The poster design should brag of superb images that instantly catch a passersby’s attention. 

Additionally, the graphics should stand out more than the other similar posters to lure your audience or get your message across. 

While poster designing isn’t everyone’s forte, the internet has made it easier for neophytes to start. You can hire unlimited graphic design services like Penji or check out marketplaces like Fiverr for graphic designers. 

If you know a bit of designing, here are some online websites that have poster design templates you can tweak:


5. Pick colors that make an impact

dance poster

For brand advertising, try to be consistent when choosing the colors for your poster design. Stick with the usual color schemes you use in all your marketing mediums, including your website.

Colors can stir people’s emotions and will also be that first nudge to encourage them to act. Red is for energy, passion, strength, and love. Orange is for joy and the tropics, while green is nature’s color that invokes harmony, growth, and freshness.

Check this link for an all-encompassing guideline on color psychology.


6. Experiment on typography

louise fili event poster

Typography is one of the main elements of your poster design that will also resonate with your audience. Whatever niche your business is or event you’re organizing, try to keep the typography akin to your audience. 

If possible, experiment with typography, so it really pops out. However, the typeface you choose should also be readable and engaging at the same time.

This poster is for an evening with a graphic designer who is known for her mad typography skills, Louise Fili. Here, they creatively construct the poster’s main text out of the dough with the designer’s first name’s initial letter capping the design off.


7. Create a clean layout

music festival poster

Sometimes, people overlook the importance of layout in poster design. But it’s actually one of the most critical steps in poster making. 

You want to make sure your poster layout isn’t cluttered, so it doesn’t strain the eyes. This example is an excellent layout with the massive guitar on the left side and the texts on the right. The balance works, and the overall design is cohesive. 


Poster Making: 4 Factors to Consider to Make it Successful 


What, When, and Where

Ensure that your poster includes all the details your audience needs to know. If it’s for an event, make sure the main headline, which is what the event is all about, is the largest. 

The more important the information, the bigger the text should be to create a hierarchy. That said, ensure the ‘What, When, and Where’ is included in the poster. 



When you’re using posters for advertising, you’d probably consider the different marketing mediums on where the design will be shared or printed. Scalability is crucial, so the entire layout will still look good on other mediums like flyers, social media, or even your company website. 



Place your posters in high-traffic areas to get as many views as possible. Be strategic with locations so you’ll get the most out of your poster design. 

However, quality over quantity still works best in poster making. Know where your target audience is hanging out and start from those areas.


Call to Action

No matter how equally gripping your poster design is, one of the effective ways to get people to act is to include a call to action. 

Whether you’re inviting people for your fundraising event, birthday party, or storewide sale, use call-to-action words or phrases. Trust me, they’ll do wonders! 

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