Concept and Roles of Posters and How To Design Them Effectively

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.

The Significance of Environmental Graphics

Environmental graphic design (EGD) is a design profession embracing many design disciplines including graphic design, architecture, industrial design and landscape architecture. Practitioners in this field are concerned with the visual aspects of way finding, communicating identity and brands, information design, and shaping a sense of place. Some examples of work produced by environmental graphic designers include the design and planning of sign programs, way finding consulting, exhibit and interpretive design, entertainment environments, retail design, information design including maps, as well as memorial and donor recognition programs. Environmental graphics have been divided into three main areas. These areas have been explained below.

1. Signage and Way finding
Signage and way finding programs communicate site and navigational information to a viewer. Signage helps to identify and brand a specific place, and when used as part of a larger way finding program helps people to determine orientation and navigate a complex environment with ease. Some of the signs that assist in way finding include road signs, Pictograms on packages, traffic signs etc.

2. Interpretation
Interpretive environments tell a story or communicate an idea or theme. Most often recognized as exhibit design, it also includes projects such as historical sites. They educate people on how the site impacted on the life and activities of some famous historic icons in the society.

3. Place making
Place making takes a more conceptual approach in that it involves designing a distinctive image for a site. It typically focuses less on communicating information. It focuses more on a site’s branding, architecture and interior design, among other things.

Environmental graphics are relevant in our lives. The listed points discuss their benefits.

1. They aid in the smooth human movement in the community- Signs and symbols found in our environment ensures free and smooth movement of members of the society such as road users, motorists and pedestrians. Without them would have resulted in chaos and disorder in our movement in the community.

2. They give warnings about dangers and hazards- Pictograms on packages of products warns us against hazardous chemicals that can be a threat to our health. The best ways of handling equipments and products are relayed to us by the help of these pictograms and signs.

3. They give directions as to handling situations and object – Road signs and markings, aid motor users to know how to handle hazards on the road. Package symbols give direction on how to handle and use products without any health implications.

A Description of Some Graphic Design Products

Graphic communication media such as calendars, postage stamps, pennants, buntings and flags are utilised in our daily activities as a people, society or nation. It is now a popular feature of ceremonies and events like weddings, festivals, Independence Day and others to design calendars, buntings to mark the occasion or event. Thus, graphic artists need to know how these products are like in the realms of art so that it will ease their pain when such a project is assigned or offered to them by instructors and clients.

Calendar

A calendar is a well designed one-page or multiple paged paper pieces used to organize days for societal use. It usually has a chart showing a year divided into months, weeks and days.
Various institutions and associations have designed their own calendars which are mostly given to clients and other members of the general public as a way of broadcasting the activities of the institution. Calendars of this nature bear the name of the company, the logo and the popular trademark of the company. The arrangements of the months should be sequenced so that gleaning of information from it will be very easy. The colours used should be harmonious and the typography style must be legible. If an illustration couples the text, it shouldn’t be distractive neither should it be ambiguous. It must be descriptive of the activities of the company.

Postage Stamp

This is a carefully designed paper piece usually in small dimension that is affixed on a letter or document to be mailed as a proof of payment of the mail. The amount or fee is inscribed on it as well as the country of origin. Mostly, there are illustrations on postage stamps that depict the culture of the country of origin. For instance, a postage stamp from Ghana may depict pictures of interesting sites in Ghana such as the independence square, national flag, Kakum national park, picture of the present and past presidents, abundant natural resources in the country etc. The backs of postage stamps are glued so that it can be affixed on letters.

Pennants
It is a miniature flag usually shaped like a triangle or pentagon with designed text, logo, emblem or symbol of a group or association. They have several functions such as identification, decoration, signaling, education and advertising. It is usually exchanged as a sign of greeting or as a sign of goodwill. It is offered to people as a souvenir item.

Buntings

These are colourful small flags joined together with a string and hanged along streets during festive occasions or hanged along the interiors of church buildings during festive occasions such as Christmas, Easter, and Weddings etc. The colours of the flags must symbolically agree with the event. Sometimes, artists cleverly choose colours that harmonizes with the attire the couple holding the wedding feast would wear. This implies that, artists who are offered such projects must carefully think through and design the buntings so that the general appearance will be suitable for the occasion.

Flags

This is a decorative cloth with special colours, emblems or logos peculiar to a group, association, religious or political denomination or nation. The choice of colours, symbols or emblems do have symbolic or philosophical meanings that are linked to the ideologies, beliefs and values of the group, association or country.