Poster design project
By James Robert Watson, PhD
One of the oldest advertising media, the poster grew in popularity during the Victorian era as new printing technologies allowed for mass production of larger handbills, fliers and posters. It rapidly became an effective way to communicate to a wide audience. The poster again hit a peak in popularity in the early 1900s as Art Nouveau flourished and again in the 1960s-70s. Even with the variety of media available today, the poster can still be a viable and effective means of conveying a specific message.
Develop an effective poster that communicates a specific social message to a specific college-age target market to achieve a specific purpose.
1. Start by choosing a significant topic of social responsibility. While there may be apathy towards some issues, many college students are beginning to explore issues that impact their world, their environment, and their morals, and their beliefs. Choose an issue of social importance that you feel strongly about - one for which you have a great deal of passion. The topic should also be current, impact a culture, and appropriate for a poster. The poster should 'light a fire' in the mind of the reader.
2. Assess the topic - state the specific design problem, determine the target reader, and set objectives the poster should achieve. Include objectives that are specific to this problem and the target market you want to reach; all posters should achieve these three objectives (and usually in this order):
3. Conduct the Input/Research step of the Design Process. Research the medium and the intended audience as thoroughly as possible. Learn as much as you can about both sides of the issue much like you would to prepare for a debate. You should become an authority on all aspects of the topic: its historical origins, its audience, its actions, and its impact. There are a few reasons why college students will be curious enough to check into a specific cause or issue. Your task is to gather enough input from that audience so you can better understand what that elusive quality is. Once you have a handle on that, then that entity can drive the concept for the poster. The more info you amass, the easier it will be to develop a strong concept.
Note: if your mind begins to conceptualize images, slogans, copy, etc - let it. Jot those thoughts down or sketch them. While your brain may not have all the information yet, avoid allowing barriers to intervene in your creative process.
4. Build a strong concept. Make a statement - state a case and make it convincing. The poster should change one's attitude on the issue. The concise concept statement becomes the main driving force behind the piece. Great design work is concept-driven - design decisions are based on how well they support the clarity of communicating that concept.
5. Write the copy - words that are well-crafted to reach the audience and make an impact. Consider a headline, subhead, body copy, and a slogan or tag line.
6. Finalize design decisions while rendering rough sketches. Find or render an illustration/photograph and organize the information, the words and images, into a strong visual presentation.
7. Create a finished comp for presentation.
8. Prepare an oral presentation. Look professional, be thorough but brief and appear polished and rehearsed. State the problem and objectives and give strong rationale for:
b. Specific target market
d. Use of color
e. Typeface selections
g. Illustration/photography style and any other unique elements
Poster stuff to consider
• There are many ways for a poster to get attention - type, color, shape, size, image, words, etc. The concept can be image only, text only, or a combination.
• Avoid locking into a strictly 'standard' size and shape of poster.
• Consider the POV of the poster reader.
• Craft the words for efficient & impactful clarity.
• Layout: contrast, alignment, proximity, repetition, relationships, eye-flow.
• Attention to detail: kerning, baselines, font selection, image.
• Explore effective powerful images and words to grab the reader, shake them up, and persuade them.
• Experiment with how to break through the clutter of mundane numbing messages (pretend you're at a club where the music is loud - someone walks by and you have to scream a message so powerful that they have no choice but to stop and take notice; the bulletin board full of fliers and posters is the 'noise' of the club and your poster must do the screaming.)
• Link to powerful movie posters
• Clear concept statement and strong supporting rationale.
• Finished comp size: 11x17 or 17x11 up to 34x22 or 22x34 inches.
• Color, shape, add-ons, type, and images: all open
• Analyze, state, and solve a design problem
• Create an effective graphic communication solution
• Establish a position on an important topic
• Develop type and images that are very persuasive
• Practice and refine comp preparation skills
• Refine and practice oral presentation skills
Home • Email Jim Watson • Filename to share: http://www.jamesrobertwatson.com/poster.html