Look around! There are posters everywhere. Not only for product advertisement but also campaigns, raising awareness, or making any announcement, posters have been considered an effective and powerful mode of reaching an audience. Since the beginning of marketing and advertising, different types of posters have been used as a successful method of engaging with the public. 


For centuries, posters have been widely and commonly used as a method of sharing information. Even a simple one can leave a great impact. As time has passed and styles evolved, with the help of developments in printing, online advertising, and marketing services, the traditional poster designs have come a long way and embraced new techniques and forms. 


Today, the use of posters is visible in all sectors, including academic, political, social awareness, business promotion, corporate purpose, and so on. Looking at the versatility that posters offer creates enthusiasm to learn more about it. Thus, in this article, we are going to share details about different types of posters, their importance, and a bit of history as they came into existence. 


What Is a Poster?


A poster is a piece of material designed with images and text with the purpose of conveying a message or information to its audience at a glance. Depending on the size of the poster, the use of the text and image size might vary. For instance, posters in the UK utilise various sizes from A4 to A0, including everything in between and sometimes even smaller or larger. Unique art and designs attract viewers.


Most of today’s poster printing trends are not limited to certain rules and regulations. Initially, though, posters were used for political reasons. Later, the idea was embraced by other people to use as a mode of advertisement.  


How Did Posters Come into the Marketing World?


The various posters we see today, with designs in either flashy neon or ultra-modern minimalism, might lead one to think that posters are a recent method of advertisement and marketing, which is far from true. Posters have been employed for centuries, though of course styles have changed. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, posters bore only text to inform the general public about new laws and developments. 


Later, around 1800, new techniques ⁠changed the form and allowed mass production. Lithography, for instance, was one process that facilitated quicker, easier printing at a minimized cost. Though posters were initially created to share information about news and events, the availability of the medium allowed for more widespread use throughout other sectors of society. Towards the end of the 19th century, commercial implementation of posters took off immensely ⁠— France in particular is still noted for the beautiful, striking images created by fine artists during this period to promote events and products. In the United States, advertisements for traveling circuses were sometimes created using woodcuts, another mode of mass production. Unlike newer printing methods, this technique dates back to ancient Asia, and is therefore an example of an old art form being adapted and repurposed. 


Another recognisable boom in the history of poster development arose during the first and second world wars. The purpose of using posters in wartime was to motivate the citizens and call for patriotism. Some were inspiring; others were what many would classify as propaganda. 


The Power of Posters


The prevalence of both print media and digital advertising has a powerful impact on daily life. Flyers and the like not only effectively spread information but also shape our lives directly and indirectly. Many people may not consider their dominating presence, and yet, when consciously pondered, it is difficult to imagine a world without the posters around us. 


We may not actively pay attention to the countless images we encounter every day, but they do leave messages in our minds subconsciously. Posters are everywhere, from small stickers and flyers on lampposts to massive billboards on buses and buildings. 


In a fast-paced society, important celebrations or events can sneak up on a person frantically rushing through busy tasks. However, a sudden burst of delight may break the monotony of a daily commute when this stressed-out worker notices a fun A2 Halloween poster with a paranormal design.  


In such an instance, a person may feel compelled to attend an event they might not have previously planned for. A simple, cleverly-designed poster with the power to squeeze awareness and desire into our busy schedules is a successful one. That is the pregnant potential of a perfect poster.  


The more powerful the design is, the greater impact the poster will have. Thus, it is important to have a proper balance of all elements: wording of the text (slogan/message), typeface (font styles), images (photographs, illustrations, etc), and the overall layout. An eye-catching visual representation that also engages and intrigues is the key to a successful poster design. Only then will the audience feel the urge to respond to the message of the poster. 


Different Types of Posters


Among many methods of marketing and advertising, posters are known as one of the most popular and effective. Therefore, the design of posters not only engages versatile texts, images, fonts, shapes, lines, and catchy slogans, but the use of posters knows no boundaries. 


To best achieve the goal, the party producing the poster must consider their intended message and the target audience. With an understanding of the factors involved, the person or team behind the design should be able to create the right artwork and find the best strategic placement for their posters.


From academic purpose to business promotion, we can see diverse use of posters to facilitate the many causes. Here are some common types of posters we often see in our daily lives:


  • Educational Posters
  • Political Posters
  • Social Posters
  • Advertising posters
  • Campaign Posters
  • Corporate Posters
  • Digital Posters
  • Fashion Posters
  • Event posters
  • Movie posters


These classifications are not mutually exclusive. Many posters can fall into multiple categories. That is, movie posters are a form of advertising, and some social posters also strive to educate. 


Educational Posters


Education-type posters are often used for academic purposes, and tend to be seen in schools. They may provide common reference, like the periodic table of the elements, or supply information about any new research work. Students reporting on a project they have just completed frequently create posters to display what they have learned in their studies. The purpose of using posters for academic purposes is to share information or motivate others to further investigate similar or related subjects. 


With formal designs and visual representations of data, the educational poster aims to give insight into a scholarly topic. The target audience usually has some interest and understanding of the subject, but should still be able to gain deeper knowledge. 


Political Posters


As we have previously mentioned, posters with political goals have been in use longer than most. Powerful and influential designs called for citizens to respond to a call. During the wars, with the help of poster printing, the UK government successfully distributed patriotic posters to gather hundreds and thousands of troops. 


The image of Lord Kitchener on the poster was so motivating that they could encourage more than two hundred thousand volunteers with just one poster. Though you may not see the use of posters for political purposes in today's world, it is still an effective method in some Asian countries. 


Social Posters


Social posters are mainly used for raising awareness about current issues and calling for action. Such posters are often seen in social development organizations or activism demonstrations. 


For example, several groups choose to design and publish social posters to encourage citizens dealing with difficult situations, and to motivate others in positions to help to take action. Many social posters are seen to address problems like environmental issues, human rights, etc. 


Advertising Posters


We all are familiar with advertising posters, which are arguably the most common. Since the 20th century, we have witnessed some remarkable advertisements. They promote anything you can put a price on: consumables like food and beverages; longer-lasting tangible products like radios, vehicles, toys, and more; and events ranging from as grand as a World’s Fair to as casual as a pub trivia night. Some ads were so outstanding that people still can recall decades-old campaigns from memory. For several generations past, the advertising posters were sent out with newspapers, magazines, and hung around cities. 


At present, advertising posters still take those forms, but continue to embrace a variety of new techniques as well. We can see the use of unique paper, color, design, and even printing methods. In short, creating advertising posters has become so competitive that a company needs to carefully choose the colour, slogan, and even the tone or mood the completed design will present. 


Campaign Posters


A campaign, by definition, is a series of similar activities and promotions with a common theme and a set goal. Perhaps the prime example of campaigning occurs during elections for public office. Each candidate runs on a particular platform, and those values and the associated promotional material is referred to as a campaign. One particularly striking and emblematic campaign poster in recent years was from the US in 2008: the iconic “HOPE” poster for Barack Obama that became the headlining image of the campaign for the man who was ultimately elected President of the United States for two terms. The poster was powerful and simple: It featured only three colours, the man’s face in a simplified, artistic style, and a single four-letter word in large, bold, sans-serif font. The striking and recognisable image became extremely popular and is still imitated today.


Campaigns are common methods of advertising, because they allow for multiple variations on a common idea, which tie them all together with brand synchronicity and remind the audience of one product but through slightly different means. For example, a restaurant promoting a new menu item might release commercials by radio, television, and print that all feature the same catchphrase but present multiple scenarios that lead to that trademark punchline. Each separate piece is clearly identified as part of the whole campaign, but it’s fun for the viewer to see multiple related approaches. 


Corporate Posters


Corporate posters are used most by sizable, multinational companies. They use the poster to promote their brand and services as a whole, rather than a single product. Through these type of posters, companies create awareness and provide brief information about what they do and how a person can find them -- like with a physical address or a web url. The information is direct and easily digestible. In other words, the poster design tends to be concise -- simple yet clear enough that the message can be processed and retained by its target audience even if only seen momentarily. 


Digital Posters


Digital posters have gained wide popularity for their availability and accessibility, both in reach and at the production stage. Custom posters can be designed anywhere in the world and then quickly sent for use on completely different continents. Digitization now rules the advertising sector, which also impacts the poster design. Though new artistic styles have arisen, we also see traditional poster styles translated to digital format -- people still appreciate the Art Nouveau style, even if the design has been created in Adobe instead of by a Parisian lithograph. And though block prints, stencils, hand-lettering, and lino printing have all been enjoying a resurgence, digital scans and prints are often used to reproduce large quantities for distribution.


With the help of science and technology, digital posters are not limited to printed posters only. Now, you can see 2D and 3D posters or scrolling banners displayed on LED. While not always lucrative, a benefit to digital displays is that they are usually reprogrammable. 


Fashion Posters


While other genres often seize the freedom to create more wild ads, the modern fashion poster tends to follow a certain structure. Usually, in a fashion poster design, the main image is the product. A large picture of the product is used at the central point, usually on a model. The brand name, whether it’s a store, clothing line, or watchmaker, is in large letters, and sometimes a smaller tagline follows. Though this consistency may sound boring, there can still be quite a variety, as the fashion industry does embrace a great amount of creativity. Lots of time, thought, money, preparation, and post-production goes into a photoshoot. The focus of the ad may be a little black dress, but the setting, the stage, the lighting, the makeup -- every piece is carefully planned. The end image is usually pretty to look at compositionally, and also seeks to elicit in its audience a feeling of delight and yearning. 


Event Posters


As the name suggests, event posters are published to inform the audience about upcoming occurrences like theatrical performances, concerts, fairs, sports matches, fundraisers, and so on. Sometimes, scenes that preview what patrons will see are depicted -- photographs from years prior if the event occurs annually, or maybe the portraits of two wrestlers for an upcoming match. Frequently, though, a few words printed visibly is all that’s necessary -- for instance, if an exceptionally well-known comedian is going to be performing at a local venue, the best way to attract fans is to print the name in letters as big as possible, with the dates and location below. 


Small-scale, first-time events need posters to entice customers, but even more popular ones need promotion lest they run the risk of being forgotten. Event posters attract and inform, with the aim of raising money, selling tickets, filling seats, promoting a cause, or simply drawing a crowd to have a good time. The most important pieces of information these posters must have is a date (or dates) and place. Pricing usually isn’t advertised unless it’s an impressive deal -- otherwise, the poster should plant the idea of attending the event in one’s head. If they decide they really want to go, cost is less likely to be a deterrent if they find out at the ticket-buying stage than if it was printed on the poster.


Movie Posters


One common type of poster seen around the world is for movie promotion. For as long as films have graced the silver screen, posters have been around to advertise them. Today, the technique remains useful and effective. The poster design alerts people of a film release while giving an intriguing, insightful preview, whether it be a collage of characters or a still of a scene. A good movie poster is attractive and tempts potential cinema-goers. Relatively easy to produce and distribute, posters are more affordable than televised commercials. They’re comparably effective, and have the added bonus of reaching people who don’t watch TV at home.


Final Thought


Posters might start out as just a piece of paper, in the end, but the value they hold is limitless. Their boundaries are restricted only by imagination. The success of a poster depends on its uniqueness and its aesthetic and psychological appeal. Thus, it's important to find a talented designer who understands how to utilise space and a reliable source to print a quality poster that can catch a viewer’s eye and articulate the purpose quickly. 


One such credible and reliable print service is Print Britannia. They have been in this service for more than 14 years. You can not only rely on their service for poster design and printing but also freely consult with them for any queries and requirements.