Posters are useful in so many different ways. They’re great for everything from promoting events and advertising new products, to looking for missing cats or just bringing life to a pale, boring wall.
All you have to do is create designs that match the artistic preferences of your audience. Do they like vibrant colors, abstract shapes, landscape photos, or maybe famous quotes? The possibilities are endless—and so is your creativity.
To help you out, we’ve listed the best creative poster ideas we could find hanging out there, from classic artwork to funny original designs. What’s more? We’ve also included poster design tips that’ll guide and inspire you to create your own gallery now.
Posters are one of the easiest and most economical ways of decorating your home or office. With different sizes and compositions, they can help you express your personality and good taste without saying a word.
Are you looking for poster ideas to make your place more stylish or to help your customers decorate their homes with fun, original designs? Whatever the case, let’s explore some cool examples together.
High-quality wall art can elevate any interior design, especially if you use framed posters or canvas prints. Designs may vary according to your artistic style. If you like abstract art and natural themes, you’ll find this set of 3 abstract illustrations based on forest tree rings a great start to our list.
Check out how the same tones are used in distinct combinations. The gold frames match the graphic elements in the poster designs, making them even more elegant.
Boho art is also based on organic elements. It integrates bold patterns and textures to create inspiring compositions with simple forms in more neutral colors.
Boho gallery wall art set in neutral colors. Source: Etsy
Do colorful painted works represent your style better? You can get the brushstroke feel using digital art printed on posters too. For a more delicate result, choose pastel tones and white frames.
And did you know that you can use some of Vincent van Gogh's masterpieces in your posters for free? The same goes for artists like Monet, Cézanne, Klimt, and Renoir.
Pro tip: to stand out from other stores, use famous works as your starting point to create your own posters, adding your own twist.
Creative poster example: Venus Chillout Mood. Source: Ixxi
Learn more about intellectual property rules from our post: Can I Print That? Copyright and Trademark 101
It’s true what they say—art can make your mind travel far. And you can go anywhere in the world without leaving your home with beautiful travel posters.
Artist and designer Alecse does that perfectly through his retro-style work, which customers can browse by continent and country on his website. Alecse’s signature vintage flair is achieved using cooler shades and grainy nuances in the images.
Source: My Retro Poster
Just like Alecse, Henry Rivers gets his inspiration from abroad. This artist uses vintage promotional holiday designs as poster backgrounds and makes them unique by adding softened pastel colors. The result: romantic, yet modern posters.
A different perspective of famous touristic cities is offered by Piet Mondrian and Conor Mathews. They represent beloved cities like LA, Rome, New Delhi, and Beijing in the form of semi-abstract city maps that are super interesting as contemporary posters.
Are you a line art fan? Find inspiration in David Bushell’s drawings that picture scenes, buildings, and local life in cities like London and New York through blueprint posters.
More interested in digital style? That’s what Nordic Design House and Studio 41 present in these creative poster designs that picture the rich heritage of Japanese culture. Note how the various design elements are added in layers, with strong lines and a bold color palette.
Poster examples with contrasting colors. Source: Fantartic
I can honestly hear airport noises when I look at this next poster design. The custom departure board poster by Olivier Balthazard is such a creative poster idea for people who love to travel and stores with a travel niche.
Behind every unforgettable movie, there’s a memorable poster. For decades, that was the most visually impactful way studios had to promote their films. (Back in the day, people couldn’t just watch trailers online!)
Therefore, it was up to the posters to attract audiences to movie theaters. They had to be eye-catching, intriguing, and informative at the same time. To reach that goal, they’d use a strong background image, a bold color scheme with contrasting colors, and/or fun fonts. And those are some useful takeaways for creating showstopping poster designs.
Fast forward to the present day, movie posters have gained a new status as modern decoration pieces, collector’s items, and amazing gifts for Seventh Art fans.
As you can see, many movie posters use scenes and character photos in the poster background. But if you're thinking of selling movie posters in your store, be careful about copyright infringement.
A safer path is using original fan art or references like objects or quotes that instantly make you think of the film, like this Inception poster.
As inspiring as many movies can be, motivational posters are also an obvious choice to pump you up. In fact, some have been so popular that they became real classics, like this one:
This is actually a good example of how posters were used as propaganda back in the day. The famous “We Can Do It!” slogan was designed in 1943 to boost worker morale during wartime. Nowadays, this poster is a symbol of female empowerment.
Thinking of creating your own motivational poster? Then you should know the story of StartUp Vitamins: a company specialized in motivational posters for entrepreneurs.
Source: Startup Vitamins
One good thing about creating a motivational poster is that you don’t really need much in terms of design. All types of art work well for these. For example, you can start by brainstorming creative quotes related to your target audience. Then, define a color scheme and different fonts, and start experimenting. You can also use textured images as a background, like in the example below.
If you find motivational posters too cliché or they don’t fit your niche, maybe you can try demotivational posters instead. They’re just as trendy, fun, and easy to do.
Some images evoke sounds. That’s usually the case with music posters. I’m sure Taylor Swift’s fans will know what I’m talking about as soon as they see this poster with the lyrics of the song Seven.
Wanna make it even simpler? You can just refer to the name of the song and the year it was recorded.
If your business targets music fans, this is definitely something you should try out. And using print-on-demand, you can have new poster designs ready as soon as a great hit comes out since you don’t need to buy inventory upfront.
All you have to do is design your poster, put it on your storefront and market it. You’ll only pay for fulfillment when someone buys it from you—that’s the beauty of print-on-demand dropshipping.
Before everything was about social media, posters were one of the most common formats used by businesses to communicate with customers and promote products. Even with the advances in technology, they’re still used today and can help you get people’s attention and say what you need to say.
Don’t know where to start? Below is a brief poster creation guide for businesses.
What’s the goal of the poster?
First things first, you need a clear vision of what you want to achieve with the poster. Here are some possibilities:
Note how the pack shot makes the message clear for this sparkling water. We don’t even need to read the poster to know it’s about a fresh fruity drink.
If you weren’t craving an iced coffee (or two), I bet you are now! That’s the power of a good picture and a good promo coming together in a 2-for-1 poster design.
This is a great example of a minimalist poster designed for the holiday season. As FedEx is a well-known company, it didn’t really need to say much to remind people of its services. The boxes say it all, but people could still find out more by checking the hashtag (the only text on the poster).
Minimalist design poster for FedEx. Source: Behance
More than selling products, posters can help your business sell an idea. For these types of posters, you can add some data to gain more credibility, like the Mental Health Foundation in the example below.
The bright orange background image immediately calls our attention to this poster while the content forces you to think about the subject of the campaign.
Source: Design Week
As useful as emails are, sometimes they just get lost in a crowded inbox. That’s why posters are still an excellent tool for companies to communicate with employees. You can use them to motivate your staff or as a friendly reminder of company values.
Pro tip: if you’re creating a series of posters about a topic, keep them uniform so people can understand that they’re all part of the same campaign. To make it easier, use one template with different colors and icons.
What’s your target audience?
This is something you can never lose sight of. Depending on who you’re trying to reach, you’ll need to use different design elements to call their attention and make your poster relatable enough for them to stop, read it, and take action.
When you look at this poster, for example: would you think it’s a business or a family-friendly event? Is it formal or casual? Does it seem interesting to you? These are important factors to keep in mind.
Source: Graphic River
What about the next one? Could you guess what type of audience this poster is targeting? Are they younger or more mature? Fierce or romantic?
Source: Glossy Pages
Although it’s important to focus on your target audience, it doesn’t mean you’ll need different posters for every type of customer you’re trying to connect withBut remember: the more specific your communication is, the higher the chances of reaching your potential customer’s heart.
Where will the poster be displayed?
The place where your poster is going to hang will help you define, for example, its dimensions (Letter, A3, A4, A5), the number of words you should use, the font size, or even your text.
If it’s going to be hanging in a small room or hallway, making it too large may be off-putting. On the other hand, if it’s going to compete for attention outdoors or in a crowded place, making it smaller than necessary could mean it’s invisible.
And even though the rule says posters should be hung at eye level, you can always get inventive. Here’s a creative poster displayed in an unexpected position. Its placement and message are impossible to ignore.
Once the plan for your poster is ready, it’s time to get to work. You can create a professional poster from scratch or use a ready-to-use poster template on websites like Canva or Printful’s Design Maker. Whatever you choose, here’s what you need to keep in mind.
Among the 10 million different colors that can be perceived by the human eye, you have the hard mission to find the ones that best transmit your message. And this is a decision you should be thoughtful about because 90% of a customer’s judgment about your brand is based on it.
So think carefully when you're creating a color scheme for your posters. If it’s an institutional campaign, you can rely on one or more of your brand’s colors. If it’s a themed campaign, you might want to use some color psychology to get the right feeling across.
For example, dark blue tends to give your message a more professional vibe. Green and white remind us of health and nature. Bright colors are perfect to communicate a sale.
Of course, you don’t need to be tied to these concepts, but it sure helps to know.
Read more about Color Psychology in Ecommerce and Branding.
Sales poster from Target
Also, don’t be scared to play with color overlay. It can give your poster a cool, modern effect.
Poster design with color overlay. Source: Poster my Wall
Pro tip: see those small letters in the footer of the Target poster? It’s usually legal information that customers have the right to know regarding your offer. You should always check the country-specific rules and regulations. In some places, there’s a minimum font size you should use to avoid being sued.
Since we’re talking fonts, think of them as ingredients in a recipe. Different fonts will add distinct visual flavors to your design. And different flavors evoke different feelings.
Feel free to experiment, but keep in mind that your font should always be legible.
Types of fonts
Every designer has their favorite fonts, but you should really try different styles before finding yours. There are so many options out there for you to play with!
For the header, go with an eye-catching primary font. You can add some personality here since it usually holds more space on the poster. Playful options like script, decorative letters, or handwritten fonts are good choices.
Sans serif fonts tend to be more modern while serif and handwritten fonts give your design a more nostalgic and personal vibe.
How many fonts should I use on a poster?
To have a cohesive design and avoid confusing the reader, you should have two to three fonts max on your poster. Too much information can be distracting. And that guideline isn’t just for fonts, it’s for all your design elements. (Unless, of course, the goal is to be Everything Everywhere All at Once).
Source: Film Affinity
Hierarchy of information
Fonts are useful to create a hierarchy for your information. People won’t necessarily read your text in the order it’s written, so you have to bring attention to the most important information first. The example below perfectly illustrates this.
Understanding visual hierarchy helps your customers understand you. Source: Appleton
Now, applying the theory above to the event poster below: you’ll probably read the name in the center first. Then, the information that’s on the top right, followed by the writing on the top left. Last, you’ll notice what’s at the bottom, which is secondary information.
Interesting, right? It means that essential information can be “hidden” if you don’t place it correctly in your design.
Source: Poster my Wall
You have to know the rules to break them. That’s what Malaysia airlines did in this creative poster, playing with different font sizes, hierarchy of information, and even the text orientation to literally turn heads. It really works!
Source: Poster my Wall
Icons and photos
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s because they come with so much meaning attached to them! So unless you have very strong text or a never-before-seen font, using images will help you communicate your message better.
You can use singular clipart or an interesting pattern to illustrate your idea and stop people in their tracks.
Source: Poster my Wall
If you prefer to use a photo, always get high-quality images. Stock photos are extremely useful and a good investment as they can make your poster more visually appealing.
Pro tip: take your time to find the perfect image for your poster and you won’t regret it.
Before writing blog articles, I was a professional copywriter for years, so I could talk about this for hours. Maybe in another article. The main takeaway I’ll share is to choose the words for your poster copy wisely. People need to get an idea of what your poster is about from just a glance.
Whether you go for a straightforward header or a funny line, be clear and simple. Using humor or bold assertions are usually good strategies, except if it’s a sensitive topic. In that case, it’s better to avoid searing punch lines and just keep things neutral.
While the header’s function is to say “Hey! Look at me!”, the body text is where you’ll explain what the poster is about. It’s especially important if the header and design don’t speak for themselves. Use this space to present complementary info, but don’t overwrite. The shorter, the better.
Source: Paul Belford
And don’t forget the call-to-action in the end. Your audience needs to know what you want them to do next. Default CTAs are usually phrases like “Buy now,” “Register online,” or “Get your discount inside.” But making them more personal can be just what you need to get more results.
Pro tip: it’s wise to leave a website, address, or contact information in case your potential customer needs additional information.
In the midst of the marathon that is preparation (finding a place, providing food, entertainment, infrastructure, etc.), creating good visuals may not receive the attention it deserves.
To help you generate the buzz you need, here are some guidelines for creating a gold standard event poster design:
Don’t be over-descriptive: the main goal is to generate interest and awareness. Stick to the crucial information (name of the event, date, time, and place) and, if needed, add a resource where people can find more detailed information like your website, Instagram account, or a phone number.
Aim for catchy and captivating: The magic of visual communication is delivering a message very quickly. Use resources like fonts, colors, and graphics to communicate what your event is about at first glance, even before your audience can read the details. We’ll discuss this in more detail below.
When you think of concert posters, the images that come to mind some might call pure joy. The surge of feelings that music brings so many of us is expressed in these designs with a combination of bright colors, friendly typography, and some big, rounded, hand-made imagery. That’s what made the original Woodstock poster so iconic.
Source: American Songwriter
In fact, some of the most famous concert poster examples came from the psychedelic rock festivals of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.
Even if this trippy aesthetic doesn’t match your music event, there’s an important takeaway from these vintage posters: choose dynamic and absorbing designs. You can replicate this effect by using distorted typography and by distributing the information creatively throughout the space.
Take a look at these contemporary examples—it’s almost like they’re inviting your eyes to dance.
As with concert posters, the distribution of information and the smart use of typography help create a dynamic poster. For dance events, a design that communicates movement is key.
See how the combination of illustrations and different typography placements works in these examples.
Resist the urge to describe every detail of the festival’s program—this information can easily be shared elsewhere. Great movie festival posters typically have a clean design, with a central image serving as the focal point.
For the image choice, a good approach is the use of visual elements that allude to cinema, literally or not. Check out how the Sundance Film Festival posters feature a circular graphic element as the focal point, reminiscent of a camera lens.
Graphic elements referring to cinema also appear on other posters in a slightly more literal (but still sophisticated) way. Here you can see how some festivals mix film graphics plus the festival theme to create a simple-yet-distinctive design.
Remember what I said about not making your event posters overly descriptive? This is crucial for art exhibition posters. You want to minimize words to avoid obscuring the image—after all, we’re talking about promoting visual arts.
You can consider your work done once you’ve included this information:
Name of exhibition
The tricky part of creating art exhibition posters just might be picking the right image. On the one hand, you certainly have many impactful images to feature. On the other hand, it can be difficult to choose just one image to represent an entire exhibition—especially if it’s a multi-artist show.
One way to avoid this problem is by creating multiple versions of the poster. Keep all the graphic elements the same and simply alternate the center image.
Trivia and game nights are all about fun—and your posters should be too. A great way to translate the fun visually is to make images and text interact in a playful way.
And for the featured information, don’t forget to highlight the winner’s prize!
Incorporating visuals in a playful way is also a good idea for book fairs. Clever use of reading-related elements can make the audience feel inspired and motivated to embark on their next book adventure.
Themed or seasonal events generally have their own color schemes and key symbols that’ve been engraved in people’s minds forever.
Christmas, for example, has the white of the snow, the green of the tree, and the red of the Christmas balls. Using this color scheme screams “Christmas!” even when holiday graphic elements aren’t present.
Once again, the color scheme sets the tone. Regardless of your design choice (a cleaner look or a maximalist one), a fall festival poster will be easily recognizable with the right choice of colors.
For Halloween posters, look for a color palette with high contrast. This could be dark backgrounds with bright oranges or stark white, or maybe colors associated with a moody, eerie vibe like purples, greens, and grays.
In this particular case, thematic fonts work really well. You can find hundreds of them on different font sites.
Pro tip: Try Printful’s free Design Maker to access a variety of free fonts, as well as Halloween clipart and templates.
This category is a great example of an event poster that’ll need a bit more text to communicate all the key information. For fundraising event posters, it’s important for the audience to know what the cause is and how they can help.
Our advice is to use the information hierarchy as a key resource. For example, in the posters below, the most relevant information is highlighted with larger fonts and higher contrast color schemes. Other details can be included in blocks of text, using smaller fonts.
Sports-related events are a good example of how the use of photographs (either from free stock photos or of tournament competitors) can be optimized to create an eye-catching poster.
In the examples below, notice how the use of photo collages and color editing helps create a cohesive, original poster idea.
For events related to the digital world, avoiding visuals that refer to analog processes, like handwritten fonts, can lead to super cool results. You can achieve a 100% digital aesthetic using features like:
Simple sans serif fonts
Fonts with pixelated or digital effects
Flat or simplified icons
Reduced high-contrast color palettes
Check out how the Facebook Developer Conference poster featured it all.
Going the opposite way of coding events, an effective farmers market poster should probably have a more natural, earthy aesthetic. To achieve this, make use of resources like:
Textures (rough-colored styles and grainy nuances)
Images that resemble hand-drawn illustrations
Attention spans are getting shorter by the day, so capturing your students’ focus is paramount. Posters can help with that. Consider using the key characteristics listed below.
Vibrant and colorful: Colors are even more critical when you design for children. Attract their curious eyes with bright color combinations.
Full of visual resources: To captivate a child’s vivid imagination, always feature visuals that are part of their world, like animals, monsters, and parts of nature. Transforming them into characters is even better (i.e. a sun with a smiley face).
Simple: Keep information and layouts simple enough so younger kids will get it, but interesting enough so older kids won’t be bored.
Readable: Choose soft, sans serif fonts and avoid distorted typography. Due to the variation in literacy levels, complex typography might not be understandable for the little ones.
Use illustrations to make the message more engaging and understandable. For younger children, consider including graphics with expressions (like happy or sad faces) to build the message.
The use of color helps to make the poster more attractive, even when the message has a more serious tone.
Keep information as simple as possible to get your point across. Remember that, for science fairs and some other cases, you’re designing for the parents too. So it’s important that the poster feature information they might need to know.
For a compelling class president or student council campaign poster, consider adding a quote that expresses what you stand for. It can be yours or from a source you like (a book, a movie, a philosopher, etc.).
Prom posters are usually directed towards a slightly older audience, so they can (and should) be more complex to draw some attention. Take advantage of the party’s theme to create an outstanding poster.
Now that you’re inspired and have so many different design resources to refer to, there’s one last (but very important) step to making an amazing poster: creating the perfect print file. This is the document you’ll send to your print provider.
To achieve the best results, you should be aware of a couple of guidelines that’ll directly affect the quality of the product. For instance, these are the guidelines Printful uses to ensure high-quality poster prints:
Submit files in PNG or JPEG format with at least 300 DPI (PNG for designs with transparent backgrounds and JPEG for other designs).
Use the sRGB color profile to ensure your design looks the same when printed as it does on the screen.
Keep all important graphics or text within the safe space to avoid missing elements on the finished product.
Delete the guide layers before saving your files. If you don’t delete them, they’ll show up on the print.
To learn more about how to choose the best printing technique, read our article on giclee printingt
I hope this post has helped you understand how to turn your idea or message into a sensational poster. And if you enjoy the process, you can start selling posters to monetize your hobby today.
This is a highly versatile product—you can design for any audience you like. And, if you use Printful, you don’t have to invest in stock upfront that might not sell, so you can play around with different designs as much as you like!
Let me know in the comments if this article sparked some ideas for you and, most importantly, have fun!
Gabriela is a creative copywriter, professional blogger, and passionate content marketer with experience in publicity agencies and international companies. She loves sharing her ideas and new trends to bring inspiration to everyone around her.