Designing, Marketing

Top 13 strategies for a winning poster

New to poster making? Here are 13 tried-and-tested tips for creating a winning poster for your small business promotions.

Today, there are so many different ways for you to promote your business to customers. But you can still never go wrong with the classic poster. Somehow, through all the innovation in marketing, posters have stood tall and proud as the most effective tool for promoting your small business.

So what does a perfect poster look like? What’s the magic formula that’ll help you create something truly winsome?

Well, with the right poster maker, you can unleash your creativity and make something remarkable. But for a custom poster to do its job, it also has to contain some key elements that will make it more appealing to whoever sees it. 

This little guide outlines some tried and tested poster making strategies to help you make the most of your promotions. So, are you ready to get creative?

1. Make everything readable

Poster making is an art, and at the heart of it, is your ability to make your poster easy to digest. You do this by making your poster as readable as possible. 

Anyone who passes by your poster should be able to scan it quickly and take in the information you’re giving them. Your key phrase (every poster must have at least one) should stand out and be visible even at a distance. 

Most importantly, do not use big words. Not only do they take up more space, they also narrow down the audience that will comprehend your message.

Take a look at this design by Elemental. The key phrase here is “Open for Drive Thru”, highlighted in clear, bold colors. It’s also the central focus of the whole design. Anyone passing by this poster or merely glancing at it will know exactly what it says. 

2. Use contrasting colors

Have two primary colors that define your poster. These colors should not complement each other, though. They should be complete opposites, and used to highlight different aspects of the poster. 

A monochrome poster will not get enough attention because your text will be lost in a sea of color. Instead, use color smartly by allowing it to highlight your information. Try our free online poster maker to come up with some ideas for colors that go together. 

For instance, black and white are classic contrasting colors. Another attractive pairing is pink and blue. 

This design by Aditya Awhad is a perfect example of contrasting colors being used effectively. Deep red is used to highlight the text while the white offers a nice contrast to display the event name, which is the main focus.

3. Choose the right images and fonts

The fonts and images you use in a poster can decide whether a person chooses to read your poster or chuck it in the trash. Try grabbing your viewer’s attention with these two elements.

A good image will tell an important story and prompt the viewer to go through the rest of the poster. It creates enough interest for the viewer to read the information on display. 

The font you choose must complement your image. For instance, if you’re going with a sombre, black-and-white image, your font will have to follow in the same direction. Color and contrast becomes very important here. A light colored font will demand a darker, more striking image and vice versa. Shading is also crucial. An image with a baby pink theme would go well with dark pink text. 

Most poster templates will keep the relationship between images and fonts in mind. Add your own personal spin to them by getting creative with different fonts and images based on what you’re promoting. 

Take a look at this template by Nebojsa. They’ve chosen a lowkey, monochrome background image, and paired it with a font that follows the same theme. 

4. Don’t overcrowd

In poster making, less is often more. While you need to make sure all your main elements are part of your poster, you also need to beware of overcrowding. 

If there’s too much information or visual content in your poster, your viewer will get overwhelmed. They’ll also likely miss out on important information.

Make sure to leave ample space in your poster to make it easier on the eyes. You might feel like this isn’t an option if there’s too many things you want to incorporate. However, if you make it a priority in the beginning, you’ll be able to structure your content to make it flow smoother. 

Look at this template by Sirle K for some classy, minimalist inspiration. Notice how there’s plenty of empty space around the text and image, even though all the necessary information is there.

5. Choose a point of focus

Your poster should have one main point of focus that people can zero in on. If there’s too many elements screaming “hey, look at me!”, your viewer will just get overwhelmed.

Put competing elements in the background if you have to, to make one the primary focus. For instance, if you have a key phrase that you really want your audience to read, blur background images so they take up less space and attention. 

Our free poster templates can give you an idea of what this point is emphasizing. For instance, take a look at this design by David Watson. The image in the background is blurred so that it stays out of focus, while complementing the text in front that gets the main information across. 

6. Shapes are your friends

Use shapes to guide people towards important text. The way you arrange your content should not be haphazard. It should all be aligned towards the central focus of your poster. 

Content arrangement on a poster is a lot like arranging furniture in your living room. It points towards the central focus of the room, which can be a coffee table or the television. The same principle applies to posters. 

Have a look at this design by Sirle K. The images are arranged in neat shapes, and they act as complements to the main text on the left side of the poster. 

7. Play around with perspective

Who says your poster has to be a flat, two dimensional piece of paper? You can make your design exciting by adding some depth to it through both images and text. 

If you’re able to create a unique perspective through which to view your poster, you’ll get a lot more eyes on it. 

Photographs are a great way to add depth to your poster. A picture arranged in a three dimensional manner, for instance, a street leading into an alley, will help turn a plain poster into something far more incredible. 

Our free poster maker templates should act as inspiration. This poster by Aam360 is a perfect example of how perspective can take your design to the next level.

8. Add visual and textual puns

People love puns. Even bad ones make most of us chuckle. If your focus text has a pun in it, it will intrigue. And it will lure people into reading the additional text you have for them.

The goal with punny content is to grab people’s attention long enough for them to read the rest of your poster. 

This design by Sirle K does just that. The focus text immediately draws the viewer’s attention towards the additional information underneath.

9. Keep it short, snappy, and straightforward

Remember the three S’s – short, snappy, and straightforward. This applies to all text you add to your poster. 

You’ll only have your audience’s attention for a few seconds, so every second counts. Don’t waste time with fluff text that’ll bore your viewer.

Here’s a template to follow:

  • Focus text – to grab your audience’s attention
  • Where and when
  • Call to action

In the example below, “La Tomatina Festival” acts as the focus text. “August 23rd 2019 at 9 pm” acts as the where and when. And “Come One, Come All” acts as the call to action.

The right font size and style will play a huge role in making this part of your poster effective.

This template by Lintemplates is another good example of the template method. 

10. Keep text hierarchy in mind

If all your text is the same size and presented monochromatically one after the other, your audience will lose interest quickly. 

Your main text should be the biggest and boldest. It should stand out and be placed at the very top or in the centre. This is your primary attention-grabber. Your next piece of text should be what you want your audience to see once they’ve noticed the attention-grabber e.g. the time and place of your event. 

In short, your text should be arranged in a hierarchical order based on what you want your audience to see first. 

Here’s another design by Lintemplates as a demonstration of this point. The word “Baptism” is front and centre followed by complementary text in order of importance.

11. Have a clear call to action

Your target audience has read your poster. Now what? Where do they go from here?

Don’t give them time to think for themselves. Tell them exactly what their next steps should be. For instance, say something like “Register now!” or “Get started”. 

Your call to action should be in bold and it should be displayed after all your other text. This is because people aren’t going to respond well to being told what to do unless they have a good enough reason to do it. All your convincing should happen through your primary and secondary text.

Take a look at this poster by Sirle K. The “shop now” acts as a call to action, and comes into focus after the viewer has seen the items in store and what is being offered.

12. Emotional appeal is your best bet

When making a poster, you can make three different kinds of appeals:

  • Logical
  • Ethical
  • Emotional

People respond most often to emotional appeals in advertisements, which is why most companies go this route when doing their promotions. With poster making, things are no different. 

In a poster where you have limited space, your best source of emotion will be a relevant image. Now of course, not every kind of promotion requires emotion. Make an educated decision on whether or not your specific promotion could do well with emotion before you start.

This design by Andrews Eshun uses a heartfelt image of a mother and daughter, and a supplementary text to tug at viewers’ heartstrings while inviting them to a birthday party.

13. Make sure to tie everything in

When implementing poster making strategies, it’s perfectly possible to forget that everything has to tie in well together for the poster to be effective. Your content may look great on its own, but it has to complement every single element in your design. 

It goes without saying that your text and image should pair up well. However, there are other elements you need to keep in mind too. Colors, background, and spacing are all important considerations.

You don’t have to be too technical with this strategy. Once you’re done with your template, simply sit back and view it from your audience’s point of view. Is it easy to read? Is everything flowing smoothly? Preferably, get a second opinion.

This poster by BOSSKU is a good example of what a beautifully tied-together poster should look like. 

Final thoughts

A perfect poster resonates with your audience while looking visually appealing. If made correctly, a poster alone can dramatically raise sales and help your business boom. 

The main takeaway from this brief guide is for you to ensure that your text, image, background, and colors complement each other and don’t end up clashing. The most important element in a poster is its visual appeal for the audience it is intended for. If you’re able to master this part of the poster, you’re pretty much done. 

Online poster making is now easier than ever. Simply plug in the strategies outlined in this blog post and create something truly amazing in no time at all. Get started today by choosing a template or creating a design from scratch. Either way, if you follow these strategies, we can guarantee you’ll be able to make the perfect poster. 

New to PosterMyWall? Use these strategies to create an engaging poster in minutes with our user-friendly and intuitive design tools.