Essential Elements of a Graphic Design Poster

graphic design poster

Graphic design posters have been a conventional means of promotion for decades and more. Starting from movie posters during the advent of theatres to the 3D posters now- you know them all. A poster is a simple means for creating recognition and hype among people for anything.

For instance, a movie poster is released every month before the movie to build anticipation. It works the same for business posters. They are the cost-friendly methods of promoting a business.

All Time Design
Are you overpaying for your creatives?
Find out from our cost calculator!

Many companies often unleash new products and find posters as an effective tool to advertise their products or services. Also, some attractive offers and discounts are communicated through these graphic design posters. Small businesses that are looking to cut costs on marketing use posters to grab the audience’s attention.

The standard sizes are 8.5 by 11-inch letters and 11 by 17 inches, and 22 inches by 34 inches. They are commonly designed with a vertical orientation, but even horizontal ones are also being created according to needs.

There is no specific protocol for poster design. They can be either cluttered or straightforward. But too many fonts, colors, and images can confuse the viewers. An experienced designer preferably uses a few elements so that the viewers will have a direct focus on the message.

All Time Design
Increase Your Brand Visibility
With Eye-catching Posters

Check out the perfect guide for promotional posters design.

The real power of a poster is to create awareness on an issue or communicate a brand’s message and entice the people to invest in its products or services. This power can be gauged from some inspirational poster designs that fascinate us with their creativity.

After you gain some inspiration, you are ready to create one on your own. But before the inspiration part, let us take a look at these essential elements.

Graphic Design Poster Elements

  • Font
  • Creating a Balanced Design
  • Color
  • The contrast in poster design
  • Poster design hierarchy
  • Shapes
  • Grids & proximity


A poster’s typography is an essential element that is always overlooked many times while designing a poster. Whether you are using a curly, wavy, or rigid font, make sure it is clear enough to convey the message you are looking to convey. However, it may tempt you to pick multiple fonts and play with your creativity.

Before that, it is crucial to consider how it relays your message. Ideally, it is best to choose 2 or 3 fonts for your total design.

The title can have a display typeface font like creative or Sans Serif fonts. And the fonts used for the body should be Serif fonts because they are easily readable. All the fonts should be different from each other to be easily distinguishable. Also, it creates a unified design when done correctly.

For a formal event, a combination of Serif and Sans serif font can be used. It creates visual diversity and won’t sound too casual.

Creating a Balanced Design

When you are designing a poster, make sure it looks balanced with a cohesive look. When it doesn’t look well-balanced, the viewers might feel a sense of discomfort while looking at your design. The balance can be created in two different ways: Symmetric and asymmetric.

In a symmetrical layout, similar designs are composed in an identical way on either side of the vertical axis. This gives a mirror image result. This is a perfect layout for formal event posters.

In an asymmetric layout, balance is brought by a disproportionate arrangement of elements. An asymmetric layout could often consist of large objects on one side, balanced by a small object on another side.

These designs are more challenging and complex as the visual weight of each, and everything should be considered before designing them.

The asymmetric ones appear more casual than the symmetric ones, and they are regarded as excellent poster design ideas for rock band concerts, museums, etc.

The asymmetric ones appear more casual than the symmetric ones, and they are regarded as excellent poster design ideas for rock band concerts, museums, etc.

You can have a look at social media graphic design for more inspiration.


Whoever be your audience, color is an important language that is universally applauded and can communicate many things. It doesn’t matter if you’re using colors to bring a specific meaning or just for creating an attractive background. Colors do convey different meanings and imply certain things based on the culture you are in.

The following list contains the psychological implications of various colors in western culture.

Black: Elegant, mysterious, ominous, sober, sophisticated

Blue: Calming, honesty, cool, reliable, sad

Brown: Earthy, organic, rich, flavorful

Green: Natural, growth, financial wealth

Orange: Hot, active, tangy, childlike, gregarious

Purple: Regal, majestic, creative, futuristic

Red: Stimulating, exciting, dangerous, aggressive, sexy

White: Pure, innocent, clean

Yellow: Sunlight, citrus, imaginative, cheerful, cowardly

Apart from specific color-coding, colors are also considered as a unifying element. When you doubt what colors to use, find a harmonious color palette that consists of monochromatic colors, combinations based on complements, analogous color combo, and triad color schemes.

Monochromatic colors

They are limited to tints and shades of a single color. When applying monochromatic colors, it is essential to consider the meanings of the colors in a specific culture and how they will impact your message.

Complementary color combinations

These are the colors opposite in the color wheel like red and green or blue and orange. This can be an intense combination that can be considered when a brash, surprising effect is needed. Moreover, combining complementary colors that are muted by changing their saturation value can result in a harmonious palette.

Split complementary color combination

When you take two complementary colors, but for one of them, you take the colors on either side instead of the color itself. For example, you could take green, red-orange, or red-purple. These combinations are usually found in children’s books and materials.

Analogous color combinations

They are colors that are right next to each other on the color wheel. Few combinations are yellow, green and blue, blue, purple, and red or yellow, orange, and red. These combinations look good together.

If you want an emphasis on a single color, you can change the saturation value accordingly.

Featured Resource
Free design templates
Tell us about yourself and download free-to-use design templates.
Hi, What’s your name?
Must consist of at least one character
Must consist of at least one character
Hi Bala, what’s your email address?
Must enter a valid email
And your phone number?
Number may only contain numbers, +()-. and x
What is your company’s name and website?
Must consist of at least one character
Enter a valid website address
How many employees work there?
How many employees work there?
All Time Design is committed to protect your privacy. We collect just the basic information we may need to reach out to you to promote our service and offers occasionally. You may opt out from such communications at any time. For more information, read through our Privacy Policy.

The contrast in poster design

Another essential element in designing a poster is contrast. This is achieved by placing two elements in opposing ways. This draws the eye to your design and creates a focal point. The elements to include for creating a contrast are colors, lines, size, and negative spacing.

Poster design hierarchy

The hierarchy should be incorporated into your design to create a focal point. A visual hierarchy implies the presentation of all the elements in a way that it shows importance. Thus, it provides a direction for your eyes to move (from the most important to least important)


They create a path for the eye as it scans the poster. It also emphasizes the important information in the poster. You can use a large rectangle behind the title or a mountain triangle to point the eye towards the headline.

Softer shapes like curves, circles, and lines can create a relaxed mood.

Grids & proximity

An essential part of designing a poster is placing a grid. They are considered as tools for organizing space, text, and other abstract elements set in design. They bring a structure to the design and provide graphic designers with an order, efficiency, and consistency.

Now we come to the most incredible poster for your inspiration.

Zag designed a creative yet meaningful poster for the British Stammering Association to improve the public’s understanding of the condition. The poster is designed around the phrase ‘I stammer’ which is stressed at places representing the various pauses that occur in designs.

These places are curated with thoughts and frustrations that run on the mind of someone who stammers during these moments. The aim is to correct the misconception that people stammer because they are nervous.

September 19, 2020
10 min read
40 reads

Impress your customers with cutting-edge graphics!
By signing up, you agree to All Time Design's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
Thank you for subscribe!

Ready to create more
designs for lesser costs?

Start your 14-day free trial
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.