Tag Archives: Posters

Exercise: poster and flyer

An A3 poster and a double sided A6 flyer for a low cost course of singing lessons, to be printed on a black and white photocopier.  The course is on weekdays for an hour and a half each session.  It’s promoted as being about having fun as well as learning to sing, and it’s not specific to any particular type of music.  So I’m looking for something that’s community based, broad-ranging and appealing to all and everybody.  Thinking about community choirs and aspiring pop stars with a bit of a vintage tangent:

vintage imagery including mouths and singers

These are a few samples of posters advertising singing lessons…

advertising singing lessons

and these are a couple of particularly nice simple posters featuring similar chalky textures:

simple posters with chalky textured graphics

Icons and images I can use are people singing, mouths, microphones, musical instruments, musical notes, birds singing. Fonts I can use have nice round ‘O’s. As it’s got to work in black and white  and cheaply printed, it needs to have high contrast, at least on the bits that need to be read from across the road. It also doesn’t have to have too many areas of heavy colour, as the paper will tear and it won’t look good. I decide to use Photoshop as I’ve got some relevent brushes, a photo of a woman and a microphone I can copy, and play around. This is a mish-mash of all the layers:

mish-mash of ideas

I’m working in red and black – red will print about 50% – so it should look good in colour (surely they can find someone who’ll print a few coloured posters off for them), as well as printed black on white or coloured paper. The text has to be clear black, and the blocky Arial font works the best with a busy background. I worked on the poster first, laying it out in InDesign and did a few test prints (at A4 size), printing onto white and yellow paper, which worked fine. The coloured version and printing black onto blue paper were too insipid though, so I made the background layers bolder, and this worked better all round. I then reduced everything to 25% to make the flyer, and adjusted the text boxes a little to compensate for the smaller scale.

Printed poster – paler version printed black on white and yellow paper:
black printed on white and yellow paper


Printed poster – background layers less transparency, printed in colour on white and black on orange paper:
Black printed on orange paper and a colour print


Flyers printed black on white, black on green and coloured on white:
both sides
both sides
both sides - black and reds

The green is a bit insipid, so I would abandon this in favour of yellow and orange. A brighter green would be better, I also tried it on red and blue paper which were both a bit too dark. The other issue is the legibility of the phone no. on the front of the flyer. Have noticed generally that there are lower levels of contrast on printed stuff than I would like… so I’ve left it! Also, given the flyer is A6 size, I thought it would be good as a postcard, so maybe if I was going to spend more time on it I’d do a landscape version of the flyer too.

The final (electronic) version:
poster image

both sides

Singers A6 flyer (pdf)
Singers A3 poster v2 – final version (pdf)
Singers A3 poster v1 (pdf) – paler background layers

Poster exercise – looked at…

El Maiz es nuestro Classic poster > el Maiz es nuestro, functional, eye-catching, like it, from Political designs for our times, an interview with Josh MacPhee and Alec Icky Dunn of Signal, a new journal of international political graphics and culture (Red Pepper article).

GPO postal heritage posters >
Designs on Delivery: GPO Posters 1930 to 1960, loads of them, very specific style, all strong designs.

Pedestrians are not hood ornaments, lurid yellow, horrible, minimalist and graphic > Drive Nice, Tacoma

And, playing with an idea > Kathy Kavan, fun with circles.

Bullying UKAlso, this is a striking set from Bullying UK

Poster exercise – feedback and process

So, my questions for Sheila and her team were:

  • Which design works best?
  • What is the key information that needs to be included?

And their response was…

The design they liked best was V2 with 4 boxes, they thought it looked professional which was the main thing, and the brightly coloured postits.  They also liked the symmetry (I think).  The main advantage of doing it as a poster – A4 or A5 – was that they could put a load more information on the other side, and use it as both a leaflet and a poster. Pragmatically, size would be dictated by printing cost, and the more stuff they could get on it the more value for money it would be! And remember, they had a leaflet, I gave them a poster.  This could all change anyway, post their team meeting, so there may be more on this.

And these are my notes on the process…

notes page 1notes page 2

Back to the exercise, and the ‘how did the feedback help’ question.  Main thing, they thought it looked professional, which it was meant to, so that’s ok.  I think they want too much text, they see it as an opportunity to get more info on there. The exercise now asks me to go away and redo it:  what I have done instead, is given them the copy for the 4-box version, and the background image with empty boxes, so they can use it for other stuff too.

Poster designs – 3 versions

Click on pictures to open pdf versionsWai Yin poster - 3 boxes

Wai Yin poster - 4 boxes


Poster exercise – too much information

English poster - backThis is a reworking of a leaflet that a friend was doing to advertise some courses, and asked for some advice on.  I was thinking about doing something a bit more arty with images, but as this was there, it seemed a good opportunity to actually work with something that was real, if a bit functional.

Their leaflet (see pictures) was a bit of a mish-mash of styles, and had more text than was needed, but the challenge really was to chop the text without chopping anything that was vital.  Obviously, the poster needs to convey enough information about  the courses to make it clear to people what’s being offered, and the language needs to be uncomplicated.  It’s also got to include essential validation type information.  The language is theirs, I will merely decided what to include or leave out, and rearrange it a bit.  The style will be plain and the background colour will tie in with their website colourscheme.
English poster back

My tools are Gimp and Scribus, output to pdf to print an A4 poster which will work best on slightly glossy paper.

My posters (see next post)

I did three versions…

V1 – Landscape poster with 3 info boxes: this is how I think it should be, with the amount of information I think is needed to do the job.

V2 –  Maximalist portrait version with 4 boxes:  this included all the text in the original leaflet, and needed an extra info box, which gave an even number so worked best portrait.  I could have made it busier by using a background photo of the building – but – the photo I had was of their main building which is not the training centre, so that woud have just been confusing.

V3 –  Minimalist portrait version with 2 boxes: again stuck to portrait because I now have just 2 boxes.

And will now run them past Sheila and team, see what they think!

Passing thought… where does a poster end and a leaflet begin, and what’s the difference between a leaflet and a flyer.  The maximalist version looks like a leaflet, the minimalist version looks like a poster, and the landscape one looks like a poster.  Quantity of close text and scale appear to be the main tipping points, but what else?!  Also, posters without images – think on…