How to get started with poster design

I would like to share with you what I learned in the past 6 years as a print designer for Karpe Noktem. If you want to get started with designing posters, you need to adhere to some basic rules.

I presume that you have some notion of how Photoshop works. If you use different software, that’s no problem: Paint Shop Pro or GIMP will do as well, as long as you know some basics such as choosing the correct canvas sizes, the behaviour of layers, etc. What I want to emphasize is that you don’t have to be a photo manipulation wizard or artist prodigy to make a good poster. If you don’t know how how to do something, be sure to google it. You can find plenty tutorials online.

1. Start out with a proper poster template

This is the absolute minimum required for a good print design.

When you start a new file in Photoshop, select the proper canvas size (A4, A3, …) and set the document resolution to at least 300 dpi. This ensures the quality of the poster when you try to print it.


Use guides to mark the middle of the document — this makes aligning things easier. Also consider placing extra guides at least 1 cm from the borders of the document. This’ll keep you from putting important elements, such as text, too close to the document borders. Proper margins give your poster a more sophisticated look.


If you have to use some kind of branding template or adhere to a style guide, put all compulsory elements in place first. Think of colours, logo’s, etc. Then you have the ‘bare bones’ of the poster, and you can continue from there. Continue reading How to get started with poster design