How to make a poster

It’s not difficult to make a poster. You don’t need to be a genius artist and you don’t need a lot of equipment. Anyone can do it. All you need is:

  • paper
  • a pen, marker, paint, graphic computer program or other artistic material
  • a bit of creativity, an idea and a message
  • a copycenter/copymachine

Lay-out

Here are some basic tips that can help you create an effective lay-out for your poster:

  • A big image somewhere in the middle of the page draws the attention of viewers
  • You don’t need to use an image in your poster, only text can work fine.
  • If you use text, write it clearly: use type fonts or hand-written capitals. You can use creative/funny/special fonts, but not too many different ones in the same poster.
  • Usually it’s best to limit the amount of text on a poster, unless you want it to be more like a wall paper, which can be cool too.
  • Play with black & white contrast, or other kinds of contrast.
  • Be sure to keep your audience in mind: what style/images will attract them? will they notice your poster? will it speak to them in an understandable way?
  • Humour and originality can help your poster get stuck in people’s minds

How-to guides:

Block Print

Block printing is a printing technique, using linoleum, a potato, wood or erasers. It works like stamp: you cut away the parts that you don’t want to print. You can use it to print multiple posters yourself if you make a large design.

How-to guides:

Stencils

A stencil is made by cutting out an image in cardboard or firm thin plastic with a knive or scissors. By painting or spray-painting over the stencil, the paint will only enter the cut-out spaces.

How-to guides:

Silk Screening

Silk screening is another printing technique, more complex, but with great results.

How-to guides:

Banners

Posters can be designed on fabric too, like banners. You can use patchwork/quilt techniques, textile paint or embroidery.

How-to guides:

Wheat Paste / Glue

You don’t need to buy wheat paste to stick your posters to walls, you can make it yourself.

How-to guides:

Actions

How-to guides:

READ MORE:

  • Smith, Keri. Guerilla Art Kit. New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 2007.
  • Jansdotter, Lotta. Lotta Prints: How to print with anything, from potatoes to linoleum. San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 2008.
  • Crimethinc. Recipes For Disaster. An anarchist cookbook. Olympia, Crimethinc, 2005.
  • Bristle magazine. Bristle: political street expressions in Bristol and the South West. Bristol, Bristle magazine, 2005.
  • zines about DIY activism in the Zine Library
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