Ever since the early days of the poster, it has been used as a powerful tool in notifying the public of various events and getting people excited about them. They’re a quick way to get across key information that (depending on how viewer-oriented the design is) naturally embeds itself in the mind of the passer-by, making the poster a highly effective form of visual advertising.

From movie screenings to album launches, and from flower festivals to art fairs, an eye-catching event poster, as we’ll demonstrate in this article, plays a crucial role in generating a buzz around your event. We’re going to guide you through examples of awesome event posters and what makes them so great. Let’s get started!

5 Ideas to Make your Event Poster Pop and Attract a Crowd

Use creative color combinations

One of the easiest ways to make your poster grab attention is to use bright or unusual colors that will make it almost impossible for passers-by to miss.

poster design for event

Poster design by Shawn Nouns

Though the majority of the Sundance poster has been colored in plain shades of grey – nothing too eye-catching. However, when combined with the bright orange circles, this contrast creates much visual interest and draws in the viewer’s gaze.

graphic design poster for event

Poster designed by LUNIVA

Bright colors don’t always have to be clashing and contrasting, as the event poster for Summit River Music Festival clearly demonstrates. The poster perfectly reflects the festival’s summery atmosphere with the use of bright, saturated colors – the lush green reflects the setting and the bright yellow ‘sun’ evokes the sense of a fun, high-energy atmosphere. These colors also make the poster stand out, even at a distance.

Consider the text and language

Another important component of your event poster is, of course, the text you choose to include. Ideally, you’d want to try to stick to as less text as possible and keep things minimalistic – as mentioned before, the poster communicates visually, and lines upon lines of text can be hard to grasp quickly, causing confusion and resulting in the viewer not knowing where to look. By the time they’ve started to read, it may already be too late and they’ve had to move away from the poster. In today’s fast-paced world, having to read huge chunks of text can result in people disregarding your poster, no matter how awesome and exciting the event in question may be, so do try to keep text to a minimum.

event poster graphic design

However, if you wish to include a lot of info, then look to the poster above for inspiration. Firstly, it uses specific language and opens up with a call to action, imploring the audience to ‘discover [their] strength’. Second, the key information has been kept in large font size and for the most part in bold, making it easy to remember these details. Other important information that the organizers and designers wanted to include is written in a much smaller font, giving viewers the option to learn more – if they want to. This allows the poster to stay neat and organized, despite it consisting entirely of text, and despite this text covering the majority of its surface.

how to design event poster

Poster designed by Jonathan Brumels

Although the Woodchop carving workshop poster is also mostly covered by text, this has been approached in an entirely different way to the previous example. Firstly, the repeating ‘chop chop chop…’ immediately appeals to our auditory sense, giving us a taste of what we can expect to experience (or hear) at the event. It also keeps gives the poster an uncomplicated feel. This is a great example of how simple language can be used in a highly effective way to immediately recreate a specific setting that we can see and hear.

Play around with typography

graphic design poster

Poster designed by Whitney Pittard

The Bowling event poster is a perfect example of a simple way to make your typography more interesting and event-specific. The letters have been scattered, almost as though they’ve been thrown about by the bowling ball. This poster is nothing too fancy, but it definitely plays around with the event theme effectively, even in the smaller details such as the typography.

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Posters designed by Nicole Cao

This meetup poster places a heavy emphasis on typography in its design. The large “ME” covering over half the poster reflects the key topic of the event: a focus on the self, and each individual’s personal, unique qualities, something that this oversized “ME” makes very clear. The hand-painted style also reflects this notion and gives it an authentic, personal and slightly imperfect touch, which allows it to embody the idea of being “personal and original”. Another aspect that makes this poster more interesting is the text that has been placed in the contour of the letters, quite literally demanding the time and attention of passers-by, making them turn their heads in all kinds of directions in order to be able to read the question.

Experiment with imagery

event poster graphic design

Poster designed by Guilherme Vissotto

The designer of the Slow Summer posters created a series of unusual images with a summery feel. One example is the poster above, in which an (almost impossibly perfect) avocado has been fused with a guitar, which immediately jumps out at viewers, grabbing our attention. The colors chosen for this poster also work really well together, giving it a very natural and organic feeling, making the poster very visually appealing and causing our gaze to linger on the poster for longer than may be necessary. Once they’ve grabbed our attention with this unusual focal point (notice how this is the sharpest image on the poster, with the leaves blurred out), the key info is very easy to pick up with the date and time given plenty of space.

event poster design

Picture designed by Libor Jelinek

The unusual double eye imagery in this next poster works fulfills a number of different purposes. First, it reflects the logo of the film festival, making it instantly recognizable to those that are in the know. Second, it inevitably causes the passer-by to do a double-take over a poster they could have potentially ignored, especially when combined with the bright graphic patterns that have a hypnotic effect and give the poster a sense of movement. This effect demands onlookers’ attention, so you’ll have no choice but to study the poster to try and uncover what it’s all about.

Keep the focus on important details

You want to make sure you guide the viewer’s gaze through the most important details in a logical way, starting from most important and moving on to aspects that aren’t as crucial – so things like the date, time and title should ideally be at the top of your poster or positioned in a way that they’ll naturally be very one of the first things people notice. As a designer, you’re the one that’s in control of the onlooker’s attention, and you have the power to direct their perception and understanding – so use it!

event posters graphic design

Poster designed by Ronnie Garner

Apart from the unusual illustrated design (which seems to have been hand-drawn, reflecting the key topic of the event – creativity), the title of the event and the speaker’s name have been placed on the poster in a large font that makes them impossible to miss. In fact, Oliver Sacks’ name is the largest piece of writing on the poster as this is the main drawing point of the event – and the designer made sure that everyone will pick up this crucial piece of information.

poster design tips

Poster designed by Gage Hunt

However, don’t limit the poster to just the key information – if you don’t want to be too wordy and want to keep things simple, include hashtags, social media links, website addresses or, better yet, a QR code with a direct link to a page where people can get to learn more about the event, as the Game Night poster designers have done in the example above. This will clear up space (and you already have a very limited amount) and give the poster a less cluttered appearance. It’ll also allow the public to learn more and connect with your poster (and, most importantly, event) on a more impactful level. The more of a connection you establish with people, the more likely they will be to show up!

Wrapping It Up

Event poster design allows for a lot more freedom than some other types of poster design, so you can definitely have fun experimenting with what works best to create a truly unique piece!
It’s also has a crucial effect on how much public awareness there will be on your event. Especially if it’s the main form of advertising for the event in question, it will directly affect how excited the public will get about it – and consequently how large of an audience it will gather. Make sure you include the key information in a structure that is easy to perceive, and to make your poster interesting for the public, try to incorporate unusual elements in the typography or color scheme. Finally, fuse all of these elements together in a style that is consistent and fits with the event theme, and you’ll be well on your way to creating an awesome crowd-gathering poster!

About the author: Diana Raz, content writer on technology and design issues
Title image: poster designed for TEDx Venice by Denis Hotamisligil

Dive into history and typology of poster design, learn more about branding and brand books and read about laws of visual storytelling