Is the poster an advertisement or is it simply decorative?

In this section, you will be conducting research into the history of poster design in preparation for designing your own example of a poster.

I would like you to explore the history of posters to find out how their design has developed through time.

During your research, I would like you to consider whether you would like to make a poster with a historical or contemporary flavour. The question you must ask yourself is “Would this approach be appropriate for my design?”

I would like you to read through the support materials on poster research and explore the links provided. As you do so, save any images that you find particularly interesting for closer investigation at a later stage. You may also wish to bookmark any useful sites you find in case you need to return to them later for more information.

You should allow a large proportion of your independent research time to look at and consider posters. This will give you some idea of how to compose your own design.

Make a start by applying the points below to the images you saved while researching the links above.

If you find it difficult to begin making analysis of posters, you can start by comparing and contrasting examples of different styles from different periods or countries. Such examples will show you how posters can be designed in different styles.
Think back to your explorations of visual elements. Now consider the poster designers use of visual elements. Above all, what is the most striking part of the composition? Where is the eye drawn to? This is known as the “emphasis”.
Consider how the typography has been used. Has this been composed as a major element or does it simply support an image. Does it sit in its own space or does it overlap the image in some way?
Be aware of the clarity of the typography; How clear is it? How easily can it be read? Remember posters are usually seen from a distance.
Is the poster an advertisement or is it simply decorative? What difference does this make to its layout?
Also consider how the message is conveyed. Is the wording more important than the image or is it the other way around? Could either element convey the message alone, or do they share this function equally?
We would like you to consider that the poster you design will have letterforms conveying direct information about where and when the event is to be held. However, it may also have letterforms almost as “image” in your main heading, and this may communicate further messages.
Make sure that you evaluate how the posters that you have explored have helped you to understand how to lay out your own poster. Be clear to annotate with this in mind.