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Posted Tuesday, November22, 2011

1.    Identify your audience. Yes, this is the first step you must take with any type of advertising and posters are no exception. You only have about 3 seconds to catch someone’s attention. That means you need to know what your audience likes and what they want to see. You have to design a poster that will pull them in with a glance. If your audience is composed of children, then bright colors or images of their favorite cartoon characters will draw them in. If your audience consists of adults, you’ll obviously nix the cartoon characters and use a celebrity or an image that appeals to adults.

2.     Focus your message. The best posters say one thing and say it quickly. You need to create a headline that is 8 words or less, but has enough meaning to get people to either read on or get them into your store. Posters with multiple photos that appear to have nothing to do with each other fail miserably. Posters with long headlines fail as well. You have to make your message clear and short – there’s no time for confusion.

3.     Organize your info. Posters generally have a headline, a statement and then perhaps supporting material. Put the most essential info in the headline, which should be the largest of the poster’s typographical elements, and then the statement should be the next largest and supporting material should be in the smallest size font. By the time people get to the supporting material, they’re interested enough and have gotten close enough to your poster for the details.

4.     Effectively use colors. Use colors to break up text info, to point to the most important info and to lend background color. Use colors judiciously – don’t use colors just for the sake of using colors. For instance, blue is calming and red can mean aggression or love. Make sure the colors you choose convey your poster’s message.

5.     Use font that’s easy to read. Your poster needs to be legible from at least 10 feet away. Designers recommend looking at your poster from at least 20 feet away, as if you were walking by it on the street or in a mall. Don’t use cursive font or handwriting font that is hard to read. Sans serif fonts (the ones without “feet” or “tails”, like Arial) are easiest to read from far away.