How to design the perfect campaign poster

Advertising is an important part of promoting any business and posters are a great way of getting a message out there and noticed, but what makes a poster stand out from the crowd and gets it noticed? We are going to take a look at some of the Do’s and Don’ts of poster design and the impact these can have.

I’ve got you in my sights

It’s important to know who you’re aiming your advertising campaign towards and build your poster design around this. If you are trying to promote your adult classes, you need to stick solely to promoting the adult classes; as discussing your junior classes will detract from the original message.

“But I have a lot to say about lots of things!”

That’s great! Think of all of the posters you can make instead of trying to get it all onto one and diluting the message. Think about spreading the information across several posters, at different times of the year such as ‘the summer holidays’. Having a selection of ideas for posters keeps you ahead of the game and in a ready position to advertise!

Information is key

A Selection of posters demonstrating information

The most important part of any campaign poster is making sure the right information is on it; it’s no good having a poster that advertises a one off special event but doesn’t say when it is! It would also be a good idea to include a contact method, should anyone have any questions.

“All my information I want is on the poster, now what?”

Once you have the information you want on the poster, we need to think about the order it is presented in. The order of content or ‘Hierarchy’ is the way in which you would like people to notice this and read this information. The most important bits of information such as the title or name of the event should be the biggest and brightest, with a similar emphasis being made on any call to actions such as contact details.

Size Matters

Posters can vary in size and dimensions by quite a wide margin, so it is important to know exactly what you are working with. The most common poster size is A4 and A3 as these sizes are big enough to be noticed, but small enough to be placed within most environments or display boards.

“Does it matter which way round it is?”

Yes and no… you need to decide if your poster is going to be landscape or portrait as this can impact on how your information is laid out. More often than not, posters are designed to be in the portrait orientation, but this doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to try something new, just make sure it doesn’t have a negative effect on the legibility of the information.

Location, location, location

people moving through grand central station

Once you have a rough idea of the message on your poster and how big it is going to be, you need to think about its location. It is worthwhile doing a little bit of research into the location you’re planning to place your posters and the types of people that would see them, as this could help influence and fine tune your wording.

“Should I do a different poster for each location?”

While the idea of producing multiple posters is entirely up to you, I would recommend targeting similar areas of interest. If your poster is trying to promote ‘martial arts classes for adults’, I would consider targeting areas with a large adult communities; and remember above all else, get permission to put your posters up in these locations!

Prepare for landing

It’s important to have ‘call to actions’ on the poster to make sure people know what they are supposed to do if they are interested. Usually, this is a phone number people can call to speak to someone about the information advertised, but don’t be afraid to take a fresh approach and use or include a website link to a landing page.

“Can’t I just use a link to my website instead?”

While it is perfectly fine to use your standard web address, the benefits of using a landing page add to the advertising campaign. A landing page allows you to expand on the information from the poster and use specific content aimed around the particular advertising campaign, all without affecting your main website content. You can encourage visitors to go to other pages and contact you with ‘call to actions’ on the landing page.

Short and sweet

image of an open book on a table

Time is a valuable thing and no more so when it comes to advertising. You have a limited amount of time to grab a reader’s attention and get across the information. It is important that you keep information brief, to the point and easily read. The use of a bullet pointed list a great way of breaking information down into bite size chunks.

“But I have so much space to write in!”

A balance of space is important, but just because you have space does not always mean you should use it, especially when it comes to posters (more on this below). Consider directing them to your website to read more information instead.

You’re not my Type

One of the most important aspects of your poster is the font you use. There are plenty of different fonts that you COULD use, but not all of these are the fonts you SHOULD use. Take into consideration the content and its message, if it is something playful and fun, try using a handwritten style of font, if it needs to be impactful, try using a large and bold font.

“I like this one, it looks really cool!”

While it is perfectly fine to use a font that you personally like, just remember that it has to be relevant to the posters content; but above all else it needs to be legible. It is no good having a very nice looking font if people can’t read it.

Space, the final frontier

image of the american space landing

People are often tempted to fill up all the space they can when it comes to poster design, which can have a more negative impact than positive. Consider utilising the space to your advantage, for example by having a bigger area with nothing in it, you are more likely to notice the smaller area with something in it.

“So I should leave lots of space?”

When it comes to leaving space, you should leave just enough so the design doesn’t look cluttered or cramped. If you are worried things won’t stand out or get noticed, try using bold elements or colour to draw attention to them. If you have a short message and can’t think of anything else to add that would benefit the message, try adding a suitable image to make use of the space.

Honey, I shrunk the poster

Once you have taken all of the above into consideration and produced your masterpiece, it is time to think about how else you could utilise all that hard work. It is worth producing a scaled down version of your poster, that way you can attach it into your websites landing page or emails. You can even take certain assets from the posters such as the imagery and use them wherever you feel they would be appropriate.

“Do I have to produce a small version?”

While it is recommended to take full advantage of all the hard work you’ve put into the poster and utilise its assets for additional campaign material, it is not always required. Consider the impact and benefits of using or not using the poster for other marketing materials to help you decide.


Was this information helpful and informative? Have you had a successful result with an advertising campaign poster? Did you feel something was missed out?

We would love to hear your thoughts, feedback or success stories.
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