A poster written or printed notice of a fairly large paper, displayed on notice boards or walls to communicate to the general public. A Frenchman by name Toulouse Lautrec is credited as the father of poster designing. There are two main types of posters. They are words or text poster and pictorial poster. A written or text poster contains text only while the pictorial poster contains largely illustrations with few texts or without text.
Poster as a communication tool plays a vibrant role in the activities of members of the society. Some of these are:
1. Posters are used to inform members of the general public about societal issues such as health issues, political issues and also about the civic responsibilities of societal members.
2. Posters educate or warn us against any social vices and other negative tendencies such as smoking, alcohol, etc. that can erode society and its members from peaceful and good communal living.
3. Posters advertise products and services in the society.
4. Posters are used for announcing events, ceremonies and programs to be held or organized in the society.
5. Posters are used for inviting members of the general public to organized occasions and events.
6. Posters are used to persuade people to do something or take a certain course of action.
7. Posters are used to praise or popularize some good behavioural patterns or people who demonstrated that attitudes and to criticize or condemn wrongdoings.
There are several features of posters effective in the playing of their roles. These qualities make a designed poster a powerful educative tool.
1. The colours used for the execution of posters must be bright and attractive to be seen from afar and must receive the attention of passers-by.
2. The typeface selected for the designing of posters must be legible. It must be a typeface that is bold and clear so that it can be seen and read from a far distance.
3. A good poster must carry a brief message or information. The information on it should not be too many neither should it be ambiguous and confusing.
4. The design employed for the production of posters must be simple in design. The design should not be distractive. Its description must be easily digested by all categories of people, despite the difference in their age groups, sex, occupation, and educational background.
5. Good illustrations must be used for the production of posters. The illustration must relate to the text or the message written on the poster. It must harmonize with the message the poster carries.
6. The information written on the poster must be clear and self-explanatory. It should be very understandable. It must be written in plain and straightforward language.
7. A good poster must have an effective layout. The arrangement of the text and illustrations must be pleasing and attractive to the eyes of viewers.
Designing a poster
The following steps outlined explain how good posters can be designed by graphic artists.
1. The first stage of poster designing is the making of thumbnail sketches. This is the putting down of ideas in the mind on paper. This includes indicating the space for photographs, text, etc.
2. This is the next stage of poster designing is the making of the rough sketches. One of the sketches is selected and expanded with the text and illustrations neatly drawn.
3. The third stage is the comprehensive sketches. This is the making of an accurate layout showing type and illustration which is suitable as a finished design.
4. The last stage is the camera-ready stage. The layout is painted in its respective colour schemes and it is ready as a presentable design.