The True Purpose of Posters

Posters are a popular way to disseminate information. But they often miss the point

Whenever we produce a poster it is easy to say they are for information. But is that all they are being produced to do?

Let’s take a very simple poster .. or sign. If it says To the Beach it is providing information.  But the information is useless unless we add an arrow.  Even then the sign has failed if it does not get people to act upon the Call to Action we have provided. 

In essence any sign or poster has failed unless we indicate the action we want people to take. The To the Beach sign fails if we erect a barbed wire fence along the path and prevent the sign reader from taking action.

But the most usual reason that posters and signs fail is because we haven’t provided a Call to Action.  This is often because we don’t know what we want people to do once they have read our information. The To the Beach information is only good if we show people how to act upon the Call to Action (CTA).

More complex posters may provide more information, but still need a clearly defined CTA.  Posters work better with fewer words. Anything more than 20 words and I’d suggest this is no longer a poster. And, in reality, a poster works best if there are fewer than 10 words.

Poster often get complicated by having too many graphics added to them.  Images can make the message clearer …. but too many images just confuse the message.

Images need to contribute to the message NOT detract from it.

Some of the best posters ever produced were by Shell. They produced book covers with the same level of professionalism.

Good websites work on the same basis ….. by keeping them simple, clear and with obvious CTAs, they communicate much better.



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