As you plan your company’s upcoming promotional event, you can’t help but dream big. You envision a crowd of enthusiastic customers smiling from ear to ear and creating a rainstorm of credit cards.
How do companies make those popular events happen, you ask? With clear advertising.
A promotional poster is a perfect way to advertise your event. It has all the initial details attendees need in one place. You can use that one poster to hang up, hand out to customers, and post online.
A promotional poster is easier to make than you might think. Follow these simple steps for a great design in Photoshop.
How to Make a Promotional Poster
Photoshop isn’t just for retouching your family pictures. It’s a top tool for designing promotional posters with these simple steps.
1. Set Up the Basics
Before you jump into the creative aspect of your poster, you need to start with the right settings. Open Photoshop and click “Create New.”
You’ll see a window where you can customize the size you want for your poster. A simple 8.5 x 11 inch page is popular.
While there are plenty of customization options, you need to pay attention to two in particular. First, look at the resolution. If you plan to print your poster, the resolution needs to be 300 pixels per inch.
The second setting you need to secure is the color mode. For a printable file, you should select CMYK. For a file you’ll be posting online, choose RGB instead. Printers and computer screens use two different methods for creating color, so these settings will ensure your colors stay accurate.
2. Start with the Image
One of the easiest ways to design a professional-looking poster is to use an image as your background. A great image will capture your audience’s attention in an instant.
There are a few different ways to use images in your poster. One option is to have a separate background and to “cut out” the subject of your image from the photo you choose. As common as this is, it’s a tricky technique to master.
Instead, you can look for a photo that can serve as the entire background of your image. For instance, let’s say you want to promote a concert. You might find a photo of someone dancing to music on one side of the photo with a faded background on the rest of the photo.
Finding Stock Photos
There are plenty of ways to find great photos. Chances are that you don’t already have one in your files unless you’ve hired a professional photographer. Instead, look for stock photos on sites like Shutterstock or iStockPhoto. You do need to purchase these photos, but they’re worth the investment.
Make sure your photo isn’t too “busy” and that it has one primary subject. Look for options that have the subject on one side with plenty of open space for text. This makes for an easier process while you’re putting together your poster.
As you search, don’t forget to keep your brand in mind. Find a photo that matches your company’s brand and the event’s brand or theme as well.
Placing Stock Photos
After you’ve found and downloaded that perfect stock photo, it’s easy to place it into your Photoshop poster. In Photoshop while you have your poster open, click “File” and then click “Place Embedded.”
At this point, Photoshop will let you select the downloaded photo from your file and drop it into your poster. You can resize it, arrange it wherever you want, and make other adjustments.
3. Toss In Your Text
Your poster will consist of two key elements: image and text. You already have your image or images in place, so now it’s time to design your text.
As you write the text for your poster, you have one command to follow: keep it concise. Information like event directions, parking details, and more can be on a web page. Your poster is a snapshot of the initial basics your audience needs.
As you type out the text for your poster, always type it in a word processing program first. Photoshop doesn’t have any spell check or grammar check functions, so a word processor can catch typos.
Placing Text Into Photoshop
When you’re finished, copy and paste that text into Photoshop. In your Photoshop document, click the “T” in your toolbar. This will give you a cursor to place wherever you want and after placing it, paste in your text.
For easier formatting and arrangement, use a separate text layer for each piece of information. For instance, have one layer for your event title, another for the date, another for the location, and so on.
4. Explore Typography
Now that you have your text in place, it’s time to make that text attractive. Finding the perfect fonts will help you accentuate your brand and draw in your audience’s eyes.
Don’t go crazy, though. Limit your poster to one or two fonts. For instance, use one font for the event title and another one for the details. If you use too many fonts, your poster ends up looking like a ransom letter.
Remember that you aren’t limited to the fonts you already have in Photoshop. If you’re using the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop, Adobe Typekit has countless fonts to choose from and they sync easily with your Photoshop. When you find your favorite Typekit fonts, just click “sync.”
5. Finish It Off
When your design is polished and you’re ready to go, it’s time to prepare the file. You should always retain the Photoshop file so you can make edits and updates if needed. However, to print or post the poster, you need another type of file.
Most print shops prefer PDF files to print. You can do this by clicking “File” and “Save As.” In the “Format” drop-down menu, select “Photoshop PDF.”
When you want a file you can post online, on the other hand, you want an image like a JPEG or a PNG. In this case, click “File” and then hover over “Export” and click “Export As.” When you’ve changed any settings to meet your needs, click “Export All.”
Self-Promotion with Photoshop
When you’re planning an event, it’s easy to spend yourself into debt on marketing materials. In truth, though, it’s not as hard as you’d think to create your own promotional poster. The steps above will guide you toward a professional and eye-catching design.
To learn more DIY marketing skills, check out more of our Photoshop articles.