In a sea of posters plastered on a city wall, what makes one stand out? What makes someone stop their social media scrolling to read more about an event?
Creative posters can be used to attract new customers to a business, get people to sign up for an event (and actually show up), drive people to visit a website or download a new song, or to add an upcoming event to their calendar.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when you start to design posters is that they are often the first introduction to your brand. First impressions can only be made once, so it’s important to check your design on poster mockup if it accurately and attractively represent your company, event, or band — not blend in with the other posters on the corkboard.
We’ll cover 26 easy-to-implement, creative poster design ideas that can help catch eyes and help you connect with your community, whether it’s online or IRL — even if you don’t have graphic design experience. After all, you only have a few seconds, if that, to grab the attention of a passer-by (or someone scrolling their social feed), so your poster needs to be eye-catching and clear.
Before you start designing your poster, make sure you’ve established your mission, vision, and purpose, as they will all inform how you promote your event, concert, or sale. What do you want the people who see this poster to immediately know about you?
Designing for print and designing for web have some important differences, including interactivity, print and paper parameters, color saturation, size, texture, mobile compatibility, and more.
Luckily, with Canva Magic Switch, a one-click image resizer, you can turn a print poster into a social post in just one click.
Make sure you have your brand parameters available before you start designing. What fonts have you decided represent your brand? What colors — and what are their hex codes? Is there a logo image you’ll want to use? Any band, business, or brand photography?
Gather all of these elements in one place before you start looking for templates or designing from scratch. It’s like getting all the mise en place ready when cooking: it’s so much quicker and easier if you’ve got everything you need within arm’s reach.
Canva’s Brand Kit feature makes this easy, as all of these parameters can be saved right into your design platform.
Ensuring your poster has a clear call to action — and not six of them — will help your creative, eye-catching posters be effective posters, too.
Some example CTAs to consider:
Use font size, placement, colors, callouts, or shapes to draw the viewer’s eye to your CTA.
Canva has thousands of poster templates to use as a starting point for your next creative poster design. You can implement your brand fonts, color palettes, photos, logos, and copy to make it your own, and then you can save it as a branded template so you have a brand-ready poster to quickly customize for your next event.
When designing a poster, keep the visual hierarchy in mind. Visual hierarchy is a design term that describes choosing font sizes, types, and placement strategically to draw attention to the most important parts of the poster.
For example, look how hard it is to process all the information on the left compared to the version on the right.
A common mistake in the design of posters is trying to fit too much into one small space. Posters with too much information, too many photos or design elements, and too many details feel cramped and cluttered, and they don’t let the viewer focus on what’s important.
Leave plenty of space between elements and around the main focal point to ensure all your crucial info gets across.
Pick one most important thing you want to convey on your poster. Yup, just one! A few different things can be supporting elements and showcase important information, but there should only be one primary focus, whether it’s a band or company name, a discount, a ticket price, a date, or anything else.
As a general rule, choosing one unique and exciting font for your focal point and a more simple font for the rest of the smaller text on the page is a great starting point. If you’ve already chosen your brand fonts, this step will be a breeze - just make sure to not overuse your fun font, especially if it’s tricky to read in a smaller size.
These 20 font pairings can help you get inspired and give you an idea of which ones work together.
Which colors you choose will be entirely dependent on your brand and what kind of event or sale you’re hosting, but consider using bold, saturated, contrasting colors to draw the eye. You can also use a background image, as long as the text is legible on top of it.
It’s not just eye-catching, but it makes your postermore accessible for people with low vision. For online or IRL posters, you can consult web accessibility guidelines that include ensuring sufficient contrast between text, design elements, and background colors.
Canva has thousands of color palettesto help spark your inspiration, whether you’re publicizing a chic, minimalist designer sample sale, a brash and colorful 80s revival hair metal concert, or a fiction writing content.
The human eye can only process so much as a time, so create a hierarchy of your posters’ information. To help guide your design process, rank the importance of the information on your poster. It might look like this:
a. Band name
b. Concert date
c. Concert tickets link or qr code
d. Concert venue
e. Special offer or discount code on tickets
f. Social links or handles
With that hierarchy in mind, use a combination of font sizes, font types, callouts, and other design elements to emphasize what’s most important and exciting, and minimize the secondary information.
One of the toughest things in graphic design is knowing when to stop and knowing which elements should be edited out. When you’re done with your design, take a few minutes away from the screen and come back to it to see if you can trim any excess design elements, remove a detail that isn’t needed or can just be found on a website or landing page, or cut out a few unnecessary words.
Try using triangles, rounded rectangles, intricate borders, stars, circles, amorphous blobs - experiment with a variety of shapes in a variety of colors to make your poster as eye-catching as possible.
It’s amazing what you can do with a few different colored squares stacked on top of each other. By overlapping and layering various design elements, you can create a more 3D experience for the viewer, which really makes posters stand out among the pack.
In Canva, you can send elements forwards, backwards, to the back, and to the front, which makes experimenting with layers incredibly easy.
Cheeky copy can go a long way in many industries, especially when marketing events, so don’t be afraid to play with humor. There’s a reason that most viral marketing campaigns involve making people laugh. By incorporating humor, you increase the likelihood that someone will see your poster, take a pic of it, and share it with their friends.
By usingbright colors, unique fonts, lines and vectors, photography, and callouts, you can convey an energetic, excited feeling which can help you encourage viewers to take your desired action, like showing up to a sale or buying concert tickets.
Your poster should take the viewer on a brief but exciting journey. For example, their mental monologue upon seeing a band’s poster should be something like “Oh I love that band!! Are they coming to London? OMG when? Next weekend!? Ok I’m buying a ticket.”
Use sharp copy, font size, logos, color, callouts, lines, squiggles, and other shapes to draw the viewer’s eye in the direction of the information you want to highlight, in the right order, with the right emotions.
Make sure you’re using the full surface of the poster to spread information and design elements out in a way that’s pleasing to the eye and not too cluttered.
Canva makes it easy to ensure your elements are all aligned, that the spacing is equal, and that nothing is looking too cluttered. Try selecting all the elements in one section of your poster and using the “Tidy Up” function on the “Position” menu.
One of the best ways to show your brand’s personality is to use photography on your posters. Whether it’s an image of the band, or an album cover, or an illustration of your team, or an on-sale item shot in dreamy lighting, there’s infinite ways to use visuals to spice up your poster and represent your brand. Use millions of curated photos, elements, and visuals from Canva’s premium content library to tell your brand story, then use brand management tools to maintain an organized resource that houses approved assets.
For informational posters, like public health posters or community advisories, use simple, clear language to get your point across in the quickest of glances.
“Get vaxxed to save lives” gets the same point across as “Getting your COVID-19 vaccination can help prevent the spread of illness to vulnerable people around you”. Fit the basic info and the punchy tagline on the poster, and link to websites where more information can be found.
The paper you print your poster on can be any size, really — limited only to the size of the area you hope to stick the poster to. Play around with different paper sizes and orientations and see what works best, or try a variety of sizes for different locations. Trying a landscape poster or a square one can set your promotion apart.
For the most important information, choose the right fonts. Use large font sizes that take up a significant part of the poster. For secondary information, a medium or small typeset will do, leaving room for decorative elements. And of course, dense legal disclaimers are generally relegated to the bottom of the page in tiny font.
Get comfortable with the foundations of graphic design before you get started on either type of poster. Canva’s Design School course on graphic design basics is a perfect (and free) primer.
Print design best practices take into account things like margins, how colors look on screen versus in print, paper choices (matte? glossy?), and paper orientation and layouts. Want to learn more about print design? Canva’s got a Design School course for print advertisement.
Designing for social media is easier in that you don’t have to worry about how the poster will look IRL, but since there’s so much noise online and people can scroll past your poster in a fraction of a second, it’s important to make online posters even more visually engaging.
Once you’re happy with your poster design, save it as a template for the future with Canva’s Branded Team Templates feature. Then, you can just swap out the key information, add or take away a few design elements to fit the needs of the new event, and be all set with an on-brand poster in minutes. It also allows any member of your team, with or without design experience, to create on-brand posters for any event.
Once you’re on your 10th poster design, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to attracting your audience and catching the eyes of people in your area. Once you have that baseline, you can start to think bigger and experiment with more outlandish designs. A poster with only two words and a link on it? Give it a try. A poster with power-clashing patterns — why not? A poster that’s five times bigger than usual? See how it performs!
There are thousands of poster templates ready to be used and customized in Canva for any type of event, informative PSA, or sale. Here’s a few of our favorites, and each one is linked to the actual template you can start customizing immediately.
Depending on both your brand identity and the audience of the event, you’ll need to choose a creative poster template that matches both. Once you find a style that resonates with your audience and helps you boost engagement, save each template in your brand management folders so the rest of your team can benefit from your knowledge.
Here are eleven poster templates to inspire you and help you market your next event.
This template uses eye-catching graphics, amorphous shapes, layering, and contrasting colors to get the job done.
This template showcases the guitar in a creative way, letting it take up a full third of the poster. The bold, contrasting colors also create visual interest and convey the most important information quickly.
This dreamy template can be customized to work as an event poster for virtually any type of gathering, with its ethereal colors and shapes and simple but effective font combinations.
This trendy poster cleverly uses shapes of all kinds, plus visually pleasing color overlay in calming colors.
This PSA-style poster highlights the subject in large letters and keeps the majority of text smaller, so someone walking by would have to stop and take a read if the title draws them in.
By adding a cafe name and location to this gorgeous line drawing flowing over its borders, a cafe can create an effective, creative advertising poster.
This bright poster’s colors are the first thing you notice, but the amazing digital illustrations really get the mood of the concert across.
The colorful photography in this flyer shines among a muted poster background and font colors, letting the vibe of the event shine through.
For a more traditional look, this template leverages neutral colors and lets the discount and the product imagery speak for itself.
This bright sports poster is full of contrast and does a great job with visual hierarchy: the most important information is bold and large, with secondary info smaller below.
This simple but creative business poster can be used in any business application, from marketing an agency’s services to a webinar or networking event.
There’s two paths to take: starting from scratch or working from a creative poster template. Unless you’re a seasoned graphic design professional, poster templates can be extremely helpful because it starts you off with a color scheme, some pre-selected fonts, and shapes and other design accents. You can add, remove, change, and adjust all of them to suit your needs, but it’s a lot quicker than starting from a blank page.
It’s easy to create an eye-catching poster to pin on walls, electrical posts, and cork boards, or an online poster to be shared all over social media — especially if you have the right tools.