What do you do if your beloved pet gets lost?
You look for them, of course! But if you have looked and looked and looked, and Fido still can't be found, it might be time to take a classic approach: a lost dog poster.
These posters are popular because they are surprisingly effective and cheap to print. On top of that, they are extremely simple to design.
With just a little bit of time and our great tutorial, you will get your poster up and lost companion back in no time!
Step 1. Setting up
If you want to produce a standard poster, your demensions should be sized at least 8.5 inches by 11 inches. Other common dimensions are 11 inches by 17 inches, 16 inches by 20 inches and 18 inches by 24 inches if you want something a little bigger.
Portrait orientation is ordinarily used for this type of poster because it's easier to read and attach around the neighborhood.
Tip: If you are using Microsoft Word and need a refresher on the basics, check out our other great tutorial!
Step 2. Pet information
Your dog’s description is the first thing you should put on the poster because it will give readers all the information. Name, breed, age, size and color, any peculiar signs and marks, chip/tattoo location, collar - all of these facts should be included.
TIP: If possible, write about the date and area of disappearance or about any other detail that could help people with identification. If you offer a reward, specify it in BIG letters!
Step 3. Contact information
Your contact details are another essential part of your poster, so you should write them in a readable typeface where they’re easy to spot. You should include your name, phone and email.
TIP: Again try to be as descriptive as possible, but be conscious about using too much text. A poster full of paragraphs of text is much more likely to be glanced over than actually read.
Step 4. Including a photograph
If you have a photo of your dog, you should include it in the poster. Give it a relevant placement and make it big enough to be visible.
The photo you choose doesn’t have to be artistic or have anything special about it, but it does have to be clear and as high quality as possible when it is printed. The easier it is to see your dog's distinguishable features, the better.
TIP: It also will help to use a recent picture of your pet, not one taken several years ago — unless your dog hasn’t changed much in the meantime.
Step 5. Tear-off tabs
Tear-off tabs can be added to the poster to ensure people will be able to contact you right away. You should write your contact details on each tab separately. Leave enough space at the bottom of the poster in your design.
TIP: For basic tab creation, write your information and rotate it by 90 degrees. Then copy and paste multiple times, making sure to space each tab’s content as evenly as possible. After printing, simply cut each tab with a pair of scissors.
Step 6. Color versus monochrome
If you are printing at home and you are planning to post many posters, printing in color can become a cumbersome expense.
Color is more eye catching and will be noticed more easily by casual onlookers, but printing in color is not actually necessary (unless there are details in your color photo to help people with identification).
TIP: Printing in black and white in most cases will be enough, but if resources are not an issue, color may give away more visual information and be more attractive. Online printing also is a very affordable option for larger orders or for special designs.
A truly helpful poster
Losing a pet is a terrible experience, and if your dog is currently missing, we hope you find him or her very soon.
To help your search, communication is essential, and that’s where a lost dog poster can come in handy. I also recommend following these other great tips from the Humane Society (which just happens to include creating a poster!)
I wish you the best of luck in your search!
Sample image by jenknox. Edited in Photoshop CS5.