How do you create hype?

For one, you need to get your audience’s attention — but it doesn’t stop there. You also need to get them really excited. Did you know there’s a way to make these two happen simultaneously? Apply exciting colors to your promotional materials and watch your audience participation soar.

You can easily create the big color posters featured here yourself. Just take your favorite tip and apply it onto your design, or do yourself a favor and just pick a template (with an edit in Canva label) from our carefully curated selection and customize away.  

Ready to create hype by going big?

01. Try Mixed Media

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Selman Hoşgör

Combine your bright color palette with different mediums and techniques. Create a collage, scan it, and add finishing touches to it using your digital tool kit.

This was one of my favorite techniques in college. I still routinely explore design solutions for both grungy and polished designs using it today. If I don’t come up with anything that is right for my current project, I normally store the work resulting from my process in a folder. Turn out, it is a great source of inspiration later on!

Not sure what this translates into? Check out the awesome poster for Midnight Cowboy above.

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02. Limit Your Color Palette

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You can achieve stunning results by limiting your color palette to 2 hues. You can go monochromatic, like many of the examples above, or complementary for higher intensity and contrast.

If you go for a limited palette, be mindful of where and how you apply color. Remember, whichever color you use as an accent will draw attention. Be sure to use it to focus your audience’s attention to where you wish it to go.

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03. Use Bright Colors as a Background

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Instead of using bright color to stylize design elements within your poster, use it as an appealing background. In the poster above for PLUNC, the designer kept the colors within the poster minimal and went all out on a rainbow background.

If you are not crazy about rainbow backgrounds, give a gradient or novel pattern a shot.

floral-girly-happy-birthday-poster

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04. Combine Color Schemes

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Don’t limit yourself to one color scheme when defining colors for your poster. You can use a combination of them to create the perfect color palette for your poster.

The poster above is created using complementary colors, red and green, as well as analogous ones. Mixing color schemes can be a bit tricky so if you wish to give it a shot, keep saturation and value equal among all hues.

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05. Mix Color & Textures

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The poster above was created using an isometric grid. This alone can yield an exciting piece. However, to push the design even further, the designer applied different colors and textures to the various faces of each shape.

You don’t have to work with an isometric grid to mix textures. You can combine bright solids and patterns within your poster to flat elements. If, however, you do choose to work with an isometric grid, apply color in a manner that makes sense.

If, for example, you’ve chosen to make the top side of one object green, make sure all the other top sides are green as well. This will make it easier for your audience to make out your shapes.

circles-and-patterns-basketball-poster

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06. Go Monochromatic

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Monochromatic color palettes feature a range of shades and tints of the same color. They offer conservative solutions and are a great way to add beautiful subtle detail.

In the examples above, an otherwise plain background is broken up using bands of various shades and tints. It is a simple strategy yet it yielded a series of slick, modern posters.

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07. Use Gradients

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Unsure of how to create a harmonious gradient? Use an analogous color palette to create it. Analogous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel and work well together.

The easiest way to create an appealing gradient is to let nature inspire you. Consider the gradient above. Doesn’t it remind you of the sky as the sun falls from it?

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08. Color & Repetition

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Use bright colors on the different design elements to be used within your poster and use repetition to build a pattern for it. Above, the designer has used only different brightly colored rectangles to create an alluring pattern for the piece.

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09. Use Surprising Color Combinations

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It can be tempting to fall back on colors that we know to work well together, like those found in a beautiful sunset. This will help you create harmonious compositions but won’t necessarily make them memorable.

If you’re feeling adventurous, throw out your conservative color palettes and use an unlikely color combo, like the one above. If you’re worried about overwhelming viewers, use one color in a larger proportion.

neon-dots-happy-birthday-poster

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10. Go Retro

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Type wasn’t the only thing designers from past decades nailed–many vintage pieces feature great color too!

I keep a digital archive with pieces from every decade to draw inspiration from. If you’re ever stuck and can’t find a color combo that works, check out what other have done in the past. In doing so, you can arrive at a great color solution like the one showcased above.

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11. Forget White

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Most pieces out there, be it a poster or anything else, use white in some way. Don’t be afraid to leave it out of your design equation, especially when you work with bold color. Replace it with black, like Arndt Benedikt does above, to push your design towards a contemporary feel.

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12. Try Lovely Pastels

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Big color doesn’t necessarily mean high intensity, bright, or fluorescent. If your brand uses shy hues, you can still create a poster that is color heavy and gorgeous, like the one above.

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13. Play with Brightness

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Not every color in your palette has to be bold and bright. You’re free to mix up bright and dull hues. Check out the poster above. The mustard yellow isn’t as bright as its green companion yet both work well together.

If you don’t want to limit your palette to 2 hues, add black to the mix.

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14. Keep It Simple

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More isn’t always better. Sometimes, you want to limit the number of colors and design elements you use in your poster’s design. Above, the designer arrives at a modern solution using only 2 colors, 2 design elements, and type.

Distil your poster into as few elements as possible, combine it with a stark color palette, and call it a day!

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15. Feature Black & White Photography

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Want to play up bright colors? Use them in combination with black and white photography. They’ll create a stark contrast and will make anything donning the bright hues jump out of the page. To play up the words in the poster above, the designer used a gradient made up of bright hues.

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16. Take a Walk

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When I look at the poster above, I can’t help but think of little oil spills commonly seen in city street puddles. When light hits them from a certain angle, they glow and feature color combos just like the one above.

If you wish to work with bold color but can’t seem to nail anything, check out what is going on outside. Take a stroll over to your local library and pop open a vintage book. Vintage anything rarely disappoints!

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17. Use Bright Accents

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It’s wise to include a bright accent color in your palette. Accent colors come in super handy when you’re defining hierarchy and wish to define a direction in which your audience should look. They can also help you easily add visual interest to any piece.

Above, a bright yellow is used as an accent and added to different elements scattered throughout the poster. It isn’t directing your eyes in a specific direction or telling you which element is the most important but adds lovely light to the poster.

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18. Play with Blurs

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You can always tone down the brightness of your colors by using blurs, popular in design these days. Not sure what I am talking about? Take a look at the rectangular shape behind the headline in the poster above. The blur applied to it softens the glow from the neon colors behind.

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19. Use Complementary Colors

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Complementary color palettes offer high contrast and intensity, making them eye-catching and exciting. However, for those new to color, they can prove tough to balance.

To make sure you’re achieving color harmony, make one color dominant and use the other sparingly. In the poster above, green is the dominant color and red is used as an accent. Note how the different red elements help your eye easily move through the entire composition.

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20. Assign Roles to Your Colors

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To make it easier to work with color, assign roles to your hues early on in your design process. Define which color will be dominant, which will be supporting, and which will be used as an accent color. Above, red is dominant, black is supporting, and white is used as an accent.

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How to create hype is a question that has perplexed marketing and sales people since time immemorial. One really easy way to do that is to take exciting elements and apply it onto your design. 

Or if you already have a design, make sure that you make your colors work for you — it’s one of the most basic elements and the easiest to change up at the production stage.

The payoffs to this easy tweak are great, too. A happening palette can get your audience excited for your product or service right at the starting line.

Maria is a professional designer and social media devotee. After a few years of working in boutique agencies in New York and Boston, she decided to trade in her morning runs for morning dives and moved down to the warm Caribbean. She is currently working on becoming a scuba instructor in order to find a way to merge her two loves: design and the ocean.