Every knowledgeable art student should be very familiar with printers. They see them and use them every time they have a submission deadline coming up. Marketing and Communications students are aware of the different media types used in advertising and public relations campaigns, and posters are one of the simplest forms of media. Poster-design is the most common classroom activity in Singapore schools because it is easy to carry out on a large-scale which involve all the students.
Here is a simple guide for art students and new marketers looking to print their masterpieces.
1. Size of poster
The fun thing about creating posters is that it can be of any size. The poster is a type of traditional media that contains information to be disbursed. Depending on where you intend to place the poster and the amount of information, the poster can be big or small. Posters outside shops and clubs are usually small, about the size of an A5 or A6 paper. Medium sizes like A4 and A3 are mostly used for promotional activities with a physical booth or at an exhibition hall. The A2, A1, and A0 sizes are not common sizes to use for posters because it would be too expensive for distribution.
2. Size of fonts
Even if you are not a typography student, knowing that fonts that are too small or large will only make your poster ineffective. Unless the font is the star of the show, then it should be pretty eye-catching. Vital Design talks about why fonts are important and how different types and sizes of fonts can help you. If you need more concrete evidence why typeface is important, BBC breaks it down for you.
Should you place your fonts in a linear or a non-linear way? Should your art be placed symmetrically or asymmetrically? Should it be centered, left, or right?
Taking all of these into consideration, your poster should be aligned so that the information is displayed clearly as that is the main purpose of the poster. Unless your poster’s purpose is to only display the art or promote a certain aspect of the poster, then that should be the most prominent. Align all your elements in such a way that information or purpose is clear and unobstructed.
Refer to Canva’s tips on alignment here, and visual hierarchy here to help you with understanding alignment.
Colours come as a subconscious element in designing. You could probably already have a vivid idea of your poster design in your head and all you needed to do was to put it down on paper. Unless you are doing for a client, you might want to have variations of colours for your client to choose. Or perhaps your poster or promotional execution involves different coloured posters because of the themes.
The harmony of colours is important. Certain colours when put together in contrast, complements very well. However, other colours might prove to be ineffective in emulating the mood or purpose of the poster. So choose wisely.
Tip: use a colour palette or a swatch. Or try this method this designer uses, the “dot test’.
5. Type of paper
As most graphic designers and art students know, there are many kinds of paper. There are different weights of papers, although most posters are lightweight as they are cheaper since posters are mostly disposable entities; posters will be taken down and trashed after a period of time.
Some papers also have textures. It depends on the overall vibe of your poster and its content; for formal posters, a paper with felt texture and a stiffer or heavier weight would be optimal, and for concert or band posters, a simple lightweight matte or glossy paper would suffice.
Details are often overlooked, but for the seasoned artists who take pride of their works, details are painstaking efforts for perfection. This is not just about the colours of the art, nor the little curves in the fonts, it is also about making sure the software settings are correct. When you do your poster on Photoshop or Illustrator, make sure the settings are correct. You do not want to spend more time trying to fix the alignment or colour issues when you are rushing.