Why Layout Design is King: How to Make Sure Your Poster Delivers

Ever seen an ad at a bus stop that you thought about the whole way home, deconstructing it mentally? While you might not have the budget for an ad campaign that’s remembered down the centuries, you can still apply the same key elements to ensure your marketing material’s success: a fantastic layout design.



If you want customers using your business, you must tap into your customers’ needs and show them how they can’t do without your product or service. To do this, you need the right marketing materials. In this article, we’ll look at what makes a successful layout. While we will use a poster as our example, you can use these pointers for brochures, flyers, or even business cards.

Color, white space, and reading patterns

You might be surprised to learn that around 40-50% of poster space should be left to white or empty space. Lots of empty space is what allows your poster to divulge its message in the right way. While some business people find this slightly unnerving, it is vital if you want your poster to be well-received.

Color-wise, don’t go crazy. You may think a brightly-hued palette will prove a head-turner but in reality, this can really tire potential customers and mask your poster’s take-home message. Try to use no more than three colors total.

Remember that potential customers only glance at your poster for a few seconds, so it is really important to make your call to action short and to the point. How do you want your poster to affect them? How will your call to action help to address their needs?

It’s also worth bearing in mind that a lot of people read in exactly the same pattern – left, right, up, down. Make sure the message your poster gives follows the same “Z” pattern.

Writing for your audience

When you are confident that you have a clear message, think about how you’ll put this to your customers. If you own a coffee shop, for instance, how will you convince your customers that your shop is the place to grab a coffee from? Do they visit you for speed, cost, or a luxurious setting? Choose phrases and keywords that your target audience will find most appealing. Whether you are writing for grannies or young girls, make sure what you write is crystal clear and cannot possibly be seen as ambiguous.

Don’t pick typefaces that come free with your computer if you can help it. These tend to be easy to recognize, and it can be hard to associate your brand with one of these typefaces.

Make sure the typeface you do go for has a “personality” that matches your brand’s image. If you tend to use minimalist advertising, choosing a typeface that is overly ‘fancy’ will do very little for your brand’s cohesiveness.

Image is everything

It’s essential to ensure the message your poster puts across is consistent with your other advertising ventures, such as social media accounts, brochures, and your website too. Your ad campaigns obviously change over the years, but the image you are attempting to project must be the same across all of these platforms.

How has it worked?

Clearly, a poster is unlikely to help you learn new things about your customers unless you plan for this learning. How will you make sense of the poster’s success, or indeed failure, if this happens?

Try to find out as much as you can about customer behavior before, during, and after the advertisement campaign. What worked well, and how do you know this? If you include vouchers in the advertising campaign or a voucher code, assess the number of customers who redeemed them against one of your products with the total number of posters you printed.

After crunching some numbers, you’ll be able to look at why your campaign had the success it did and can learn some important lessons about what to change in your future ad campaigns.

Why not have a look at your advertisements to see if they match up with our advice?

Author’s Bio: Charlton Rhodes works for Minuteman Press, a printing company which provides printed marketing materials for a variety of businesses. More information can be found at www.shop.minutemanpress.com.

If you enjoy this post, you may also want to check out these others:

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34 Excellent Print Ads for Your Creative Inspiration
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30 Creative Examples of Poster Designs Using Typography

This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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