In order to obtain an effective poster, it is important to create an image that is the result of the combination of all the elements that it contains so as to create a homogeneous unit. The typography and the images used should share the same basic characteristics so as to be compatible, and should be built under the same structures and directions. A good poster is the one that draws peoples attention and that stands out among others of the same or different kind.
Here we explain some of the aspects that are important when designing a poster:
When we talk about structure we are talking about the focus areas that are formed on a plane. These areas are the points that catch our eyes before we become aware of the images we are actually looking at. The reading of images on a plane is not linear; on the contrary, elements are distributed alternatively on the space. This is why, at the moment of creating an image for a poster, it is important to know which elements are going to burden the focus of attention. Size, colors and position of the elements on a plane may change the focus of these elements.
Negative or positive diagonals, horizontals or verticals are also included in this concept of structure. A negative diagonal is a line that starts at a point in a low angle on the right of the plane and goes in the direction of a high angle on the left. If elements on the plane are used on a negative diagonal position, they will seem to be falling down. On the other hand, elements on a positive diagonal position -a diagonal which starts at a point in a low angle on the left and goes in the direction of a high angle on the right- will seem to be rising.
Verticals and horizontals are used to establish a division on the plane. This division will form, as a result, 4 sub-planes, just like a sheet of paper folded in four. The two low sections are the easiest parts to be perceived while the highest sections involve more effort. The right section is the part that immediately draws our attention, that is to say, the part that do not demand to much effort to be perceived. To sum up, before posters, our sight will focus mainly on the low section to the right. The opposite angle is uncomfortable to look at and involves effort.
For this reason, at the moment of designing a poster, it is necessary to be aware of the connotations of diagonals and elements positions since they will give the focus of attention.
Background, figure and blanks
When we talk about the concept of structure, it is important to know that background, figures and blanks are three different elements that work together in a poster design. Blanks are empty spaces in a design. They are areas that contain no elements and that surround images and typography, providing an airy effect. This effect will emphasize the element that is intended to be the focus.
Some of the most usual print supports of posters are canvas, vinyl, paper, textiles, transparencies, special supports, among others.
Use of typography
Typography should be in accordance with the image: they should convey the same idea and share the same form. When designing, we should give to the typography the same evaluation and thinking we give to the image, no matter if it is accompanying the image or if the typography itself works as the image. Whatever is the function of the typography, it should be part of a unit: the poster.
When the typography is accompanying the image, the best thing to do is to start with pure fonts, that is to say, those that are originally built properly (Garamond, Helvetic, Futura, etc.), and make the necessary changes to them so that the image and the typography convey the same (or form a) message in the design. However, this does not mean that they are the only correct typographic possibilities. It is possible to create a new typography by using different techniques. Using another type of fonts is also a possibility, but, in this case, it is important to be careful about its structure which determines the font legibility.
Language is a human faculty through which man can represent the world. The distinguishing attribute that differentiate us from the rest of living being is our ability to symbolize different parts of reality. We are also able to evoke things that are not present such as objects, feelings, smells, etc. Signs retrieve memories of our past. All languages provide those who use it with a wide range of options. Designers evaluate them and choose those options that are appropriate to position in a specific time and space in order to produce a poster containing an effective message.
The specific language of a graphic piece, no matter the type of piece, has to do with its esthetics, that is to say, a visual and verbal language conjunction. A design may enjoy different esthetics: 80s, grunge, punk, etc. or a combination of different languages. This phase of a poster development process is extremely important since the impact and function that it will have is directly connected to the strength of the language and its correct use.