10 Poster Graphic Design tips

10 Poster Graphic Design tips

Perhaps the most iconic work of Graphic Design is posters.

They define the basics for this profession and almost every concept used in their design can be applied to every other format. As so, it can be intimidating to jump right into designing them.

That's why I thought you might like these 10 poster design tips by Allan Peters, judge of 2015's Poster Design Award.

1. Start with a Good Idea

A great poster isn’t about a great aesthetic, it’s about a clever idea that’s skinned with a great aesthetic. Start out with a sketch, not on Pinterest. Start by filling a few pages with ideas. Once you have one you love, then start to think about the aesthetic of the illustration or lettering. The idea should drive the visual, not the other way around. In the example above, I was designing a poster for a creative conference called the Inside Job. I first decided that I wanted to design a pencil/gun, then I decided to illustrate it with a mono-weight black stroke to help combine the visual language of the pencil and the gun.

2. Two in One

Sometimes I start with a word list. I list out nouns that evoke the message of the poster. Once I have my list, I start to combine them visually through sketches. In the poster above, the two words were “pencil” and “heart.” The message of the poster was that Target loves education. A poster of just a pencil or just a heart would be trite and pretty expected. The combination of the two elements creates something unique and ownable.3. Get Inspired by your Life

3. Get Inspired by your Life

In 2009, my wife was pregnant with our first child. At the same time, I was asked to design a poster for the poster show Artcrank. The only rule about Artcrank is that the poster needs to be focused on bikes. I combined bikes and babies in this print that plays off of gender-specific bicycles.4. Embrace the Medium

4. Embrace the Medium

If you’re screen-printing, consider overprinting. It’s a great technique that can score you an extra color without the cost. If you’re working with digital prints, explore the possibilities. Many screen-printers look down on digital printing when in fact it’s a great opportunity to integrate photography and subtle shading. If you’re doing a letterpress print, make sure you explore different papers that offer a deep impression as well as the level of natural paper texture.

5. Use your Hands

Try thinking—and working—away from the computer. Figure out the best way to execute your idea, and if that means sculpting 3D type and pouring paint on it, do it. The natural imperfection that comes with handcraft can amplify an idea that needs a level of humanity.

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