5 Simple Steps: Create a Poster Board

Follow these simple steps to create an effective poster board for your campus. Questions? 

•Ruler or Yard Stick
•Stapler or Scotch Tape
• A roll of Clear Packing Tape

You can also buy poster letters at Walmart.  

Step 1. Choose the best poster board size.
It’s important to consider your poster size based on the amount of words or phrases you want to display and how you want it to be displayed. For an example, If you want to display a phrase that gets right to the point such as “Win A Prize!” you will only need a small poster(20x30).

A 30x40 poster is what we typically use to make our large posters.
A 20x30 poster is what we typically use for our smaller posters.

The good thing is that these posters can be purchased at a low cost, especially the small posters. You can found these (the smaller posters) in most of your local dollar stores in many different colors.

The larger posters we use are usually purchased at Staples and are little more expensive.
These posters (both large & small) can also be purchased at other selective stores such as: Michaels, A.C Moores, Target, and Walmart.

Step 2. Choose the best font.
You want a font that is bold and legible (it needs to stand out).

Some preferred fonts include:
•Resevoir Grunge
•Eras Bold IT

In this step, you also want to make sure that you use effective color choices. Black is the most common and effective color choice, because it’s bold and stands out against any other color. Always make this your first preference.

Try to avoid using light colors such as yellow and white. Both colors can be hard to read from a distance unless used on a very dark background. Neon colors are very effective when making posters, because the colors are made to stand out. However, you do not want to use neon colors excessively because they can actually take away from the entire poster in regards to the presentation.

If you are going to use colored letters, try to use only one color. However, if you do decide to use more than one color for your letters, make sure to select complementary colors that work together.

Step 3. Choose the correct font size.
This is key. Choosing the correct font size depends on a few variables. You must consider the size of your poster, whether it’s small, medium, or large. In addition, you must consider the space you have available. You want to make sure that the font size is not too big or small.

Note: When using Large Poster Boards (30x40), use a font size of 300 (If you are including multiple words or a phrase that is very long, you may want to decrease the font size to 200 or even 150.

The best way to do this is through trial & error. Simply print out the desired letter size with your selected font (just print one or two letters at first to help you get an idea). Once you do that, size up the letters on the poster board to see if it’s works (I want to see if the letters are too big or small). Most of the time you will be going off your own judgement to scale. The more practice you get, the better you will become.

Step 4. Design the layout for your poster.
In designing your layout you always want to remember to keep things easy on the eye. Keep in mind that you want your poster to stand out and be readable from afar. Designing the layout is crucial. The most important thing about this step is putting everything in order on the poster physically and visually. During this step, you actually want to place and setup up your words and/or your images onto the poster.

Here are some helpful tips that will guide you in creating a presentable and readable layout.
•Keep things balanced. You don’t want to have a bunch of letters or images placed all in one area and have the rest of the board blank.
◦Always add space between words. Make sure that they are not squeezed together as if they look like one word.
◦It’s okay if you happen to bunch letters together (overlapping). Sometimes this can add to the style. (You do not want to bunch words together)
•Always try to keep your words centered or aligned in some fashion. If you are going to have words placed off centered, on an angle, or positioned in a playful way,l try to keep the movement of the entire layout in sync.
◦For an example, if you want to place a word on a diagonal, try to leave space for other words or images, if necessary. However, this can vary depending on the size and amount of text that you are displaying.
•Add images. This is extremely important, especially if you want to get people’s attention.
◦It’s okay if you want to create a poster just using words. Most of the time words or phrases are simply good enough. However, adding images makes the poster more attractive and appealing. Images can be very effective when creating a poster for an event. For an example, if you created a poster for an event that simply said “Check out this movie,” it would not appeal or attract many people to the purpose. As far as they are concerned, it can be any movie. However, if you did the exact same thing with images of monkeys in a classroom, people would be able to appeal and associate the images in order to draw up an assumption or idea of what the movie is about. Images help us associate with many things in life. That’s simply how the brain works.

Step 5. Preserve your board.
This simply requires you to tape down (using scotch tape) or staple all of your words and images onto the poster. This is probably the most easiest step out of them all of them, because everything is already done. It’s like putting tape around a wrapped gift to hold it in place.

What you basically will be doing at this point, since everything is already laid out (step 4), is either taping down (using scotch tape) or stapling both the letters and images onto the poster. However, please make sure you thoroughly spell check your words several times before you staple or tape them down. The last thing you want is a nice poster with a misspelled word.

Whichever you choose (tape or a staples), make sure that you do not apply an excess of it. This is important because you may need to adjust something. Too much of either can make it difficult to adjust the letters and images.

Important tip: Make sure that you tape or staple both the letters and the images around the edges. This really keeps everything in place.

The final step in this process in optional, but highly recommended. This includes applying the clear packaging tape over the entire board to preserve it. This will help you in two important ways:
1. It permanently keeps letters from being torn off or damaged
◦Without the clear packing seal it’s most likely that the letters will be damaged or torn in some way, especially if you are using the poster constantly.
2. It keeps the poster from receiving water damage, especially from the rain.
◦This is very important, especially if you are planning to use your poster outside.

Applying the the clear packing tape is the most difficult part of the entire process. It requires patience and finesse. Clear packaging tape is very strong and is designed to seal packages air tight . With that said, once the packaging tape is applied to the poster it’s going to be hard to adjust anything. There is no turning back once you have made a mistake. I say this because when you try to pull the tape up it’s going to tear off the poster, that’s how strong it is! If you attempt to pull the tape up after applying it, you can make things worse. Just try your best to fix the problem and keep going.

How to apply the clear packaging tape:
1. Always start at the very top or bottom of the poster and work your way up or down, depending on where you start.
a.Wherever you start, make sure that you first stretch out the tape and loosely tape it on the side you are starting at. (Ex. If you tape it down from left to right, make sure that you start on the left side and tape it on the edge of the poster.)
2. Apply the packing tape going horizontally from left to right (if you are right-handed), even if your poster is done vertically.
3. When applying the clear packaging tape guide it with your hands. The tape should always be placed in your strong hand with the other hand guiding it.
4. When applying the clear packaging tape make sure that you are sealing it air-tight (use strong pulls) to avoid air bubbles.
5. When applying the clear packaging tape, you also want overlap about a half inch over each horizontal layer to avoid areas from being un-taped (remember you want the entire poster to be covered)

Once you have done this, you have successfully completed your poster!

Encouraging Tip: Take a picture of your poster and save it to a folder on your computer. You also may want to take note of specific details regarding the poster such as: poster size, font size, etc. This is important because you may need to share the details with another leader who would like to design the same poster for his/her campus fellowship.