Posters are like signs that often hold pictures and words. They are a great way to communicate messages visually. Posters can be designed to fit a certain audience and grab their attention. They often include a ‘call to action,’ which urges the people viewing them to do something. Many posters can have a big effect on those who see them in a very short time (as much time as it takes to glance at the poster in the school corridor or the doctor’s waiting room).
Sometimes it’s useful to discuss your ideas with a friend or family member. Don’t be upset if they have any negative feedback – critical feedback at this point is quite helpful to refine your ideas to make the best poster ever!
The location of your poster will affect decisions like the size, amount of detail and style that you will include. Possible locations include at your school, at a local shop or café and around your neighbourhood.
Ask yourself the following questions: What kind of people are most likely to see your poster? What would make the audience want to read the poster? What do you want them to think and do when they read it?
Keep it short, simple and punchy, to grab your readers’ attention.
Draft your message on a piece of paper before writing it out as neatly as possible on your wonderful poster. Keep your message as short and clear as possible. Remember to think about your audience: For example, a poster aimed at school children will probably have a different message to one aimed at shop owners.
Research shows that viewers’ eyes are likely to start at the top centre and then move to the left and right.
People will often read your poster from a distance and in a rush, so make sure the words and images stand out.
It should be something that is instantly recognisable and is clearly related to your message, so that people can immediately tell what the poster is about. You can copy a picture that you have found or create your own.
Posters can be handwritten or made on the computer. Handwritten posters may appear more real. But computer-made posters may appear more professional and could be easier to print multiple copies. There are positives of both and it is totally up to you which method you prefer!
You could also do a mix of handwritten and computer-made by printing some pictures and sticking them onto a handmade poster. You might find looking at some other posters helpful to get you started.
For example, a corridor at school, a waiting room at the doctor or near the check-out queue in a supermarket.
Posters are often used to spread awareness about important things and urge people to take certain actions. Examples include encouraging men to sign up for the army during the war, getting people to wash their hands during the Covid-19 pandemic or inviting people to an event.
One poster that was very successful in achieving its goal was the ‘Your Country Wants YOU’ poster, created during World War I. The aim of the poster was to urge more men to join the British Army. The poster showed Lord Kitchener, the British Secretary of State for War, staring and pointing at the viewer, with the words, ‘Your country wants YOU.’
The poster was very effective! Between 4th August and 12th September 1914 nearly half a million men signed up to join the army, including 33,204 on 3rd September, alone.
Posters can communicate messages in a clear and powerful way. Check out some change-makers who have used posters to make an amazing difference to the world:
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