How To: Make a Poster Look Professional
Become proficient at professional poster production

Design Master

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It’s not difficult, even for the casual onlooker, to tell when a poster is professional looking.

Being able to tell exactly what is that makes a poster look professional, however, is another story, and it’s even more difficult to isolate a few basic rules to apply to your own works.

The following are a few useful ideas that will take your poster to the big leagues.

Professional posters are often memorable. A brilliant concept creates interest and expectation.

This is why coming up with a truly unique and creative concept is crucial for a designer. Designers know finding the right idea takes time and most of the work is actually done during the preliminary stage.

TIP: Making many different versions based on the same idea can help improve the overall design.

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Graphics in a poster need to be flawless. When you blow them up to poster size, imperfections will be more evident than on a small computer.

Aliasing, excessive noise and color banding are to be avoided. The poster also has to be eye-catching from a distance, so its visuals need to really stand out! Following a well-thought-out color scheme will give the poster greater unity and elegance.

TIP: Make the poster colorful, and remember cold colors create distance and warm colors bring people closer. Use this feature to draw people in. The poster can be in black and white (provided there is the right degree of contrast).

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Ali Rahmoun.

Use special effects like glows, overlays, distortions and shadows sensibly. These effects are great to give your graphics and text pop and make them more exciting, but they become annoying when that’s all there is to the poster.

TIP: Amateurs often misuse special features either because they confuse loud with bold or hide deficiencies in their designs. Do not be tempted to compromise good design for the sake of adding extra special features.

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Beginner designers don’t pay enough attention to type, and this is extremely evident in their results.

Fancy or childish fonts can be acceptable for some specific projects, but they are not ideal for all kinds of professional work.

TIP: Need a few examples of good fonts for your posters? Fonts like Helvetica, Futura and Rockwell have been regular choices for designers for a long time.  Franklin Gothic, Trajan and Clarendon are popular in Hollywood posters.

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Don’t make the poster excessively crowded. The main features need to occupy a prominent space in it.

Too many details will make it hard to decipher anything from a distance and will take most of the attention away from the main focus. The eyes of the viewers are naturally attracted to the central area, so leave it for the main graphics.

TIP: Make sure your titles and text are big and sharp enough to be readable from a distance.

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If you cut out images to paste them on a new background, make sure the background is transparent or unwanted leftovers may show up in the final print.

TIP: After the poster is finished, take the time to check that your spelling is correct. Look at a thumbnail version of the poster to see if the layout works and if there is any noticeable issue with your graphics before printing.

Always pair your professional designs with a profession print job. Check out our poster printing service reviews to find the best option for your upcoming project.

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Proficiency comes with practice and patience, and training the eye is an essential part of the designer’s job. Looking at other people’s work is important to learn and it will make your task much easier.

Happy designing!

About the Author
Kristi Maddox is a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.
Kristi and the team order print jobs from every major printer to test quality, value, customer service, and more. See their reviews here:


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