1. Locations and Size
Before you do any design work you need to do a bit of research! Ask the client where the poster is going to be and how big it will be so you can create your poster design accordingly. 18×24 inch posters placed at eye level are much different then a giant billboard type poster on the side of a building and each of those designs will require a different approach.
Lighting also plays an issue; the design will appear differently in natural light, dark areas, or indoors with artificial lighting so do as much research as possible so you or your designer can create a poster with the right facts in mind, ensuring a better outcome.
2. Keep Fonts to a Minimum
With such a large creative playing field, it can be tempting to use a few too many fonts in your design to fill in all the space. In reality it would be more effective to keep your fonts to a minimum. A good rule of thumb would be to use no more then three different fonts. You could use one display font, one text font and one more font for miscellaneous use.
Instead of using a bunch of different fonts for variation play with the font size, spacing, color and weight instead to achieve contrast in your design.
3. Three Main Viewing Distances
Another good idea would be to view your poster from different distances to see how effective it is. It should work at all the distances:
- Long Range (30-40ft) – There should be large imagery or typography (such as a title) to draw the viewer in closer
- Medium Range (10-20ft) Secondary information should be viewable from a medium range this could include dates, or other important information such as band names or promotion details
- Close Range (1-5ft) If there view is truly interested they will move up as close as possible to the poster for a more careful look. You can make less important information the smallest font size in a less prominent location such as the bottom right corner
4. Hierarchy of Information
Your hierarchy of information is directly related to the viewing distances mentioned above. You need to think carefully about what information is most important. Usually you have a title, which is the largest and most prominent, then secondary information, such as dates which is medium size and lastly, less important information such as contest rules or further information as the smallest text.
Make sure you have all the copy ahead of time for your poster design so you can efficiently plan out where all the copy and design elements will go in your poster design.
5. It Must be Memorable
In order for people to remember your poster there has to be elements that are easy to remember such as a catchy title, large date or powerful imagery. Imagery is probably the best bet. For example, if it’s a poster for a band using a photo of the band can be easier to remember then just a bunch of text and an abstract background.