Poster design is different from any other design, simply because there are very few rules to follow. There are no real size restrictions or layout considerations. For this reason, posters offer design freedom that no other document design can. The lack of guidelines can really open possibilities for creativity in the process. In this tutorial, we will take a look at some of the tools that can be used to create an eye-catching poster.
These days, posters are commonly used for advertising products, services, or special events. We will look at creating a collectable poster that can be framed, but that also advertises an upcoming musical event. As with any design project, first you’ll need to determine the target audience (gender, age, ethnicity) and any required content such as logos, names, dates, websites, or other information. Once you have all this, you can start to build the poster.
Because of the freedom, and the fact that there is no real established layout for a poster, it might be worthwhile coming up with a variety of designs and then using the best elements from each.
Sweet Soulful Jazz is the theme of our poster, to advertise an evening of jazz music. Start by gathering the content. For this poster, we want something simple and classy, and at the same time we want to make it look a bit hip or flashy.
Creating the background
When I hear the word “jazz,” I think of sax and trumpet, so including an instrument that is indicative of jazz makes sense. We will use a trumpet and a few bars of sheet music. Because the instrument and sheet music have a fair amount of detail, we'll use a simple background. Contrasting a simple background with busy elements will help the images stand out and will allow the viewer’s eye to be drawn towards the important information.
- Create a new document (File > New). In the Create a New Document dialog box, choose Tabloid from the Size list box, enable the Portrait button, choose RGB from the Primary color mode list box, and set the rendering resolution to 300 dpi.
- Double-click the Rectangle tool in the toolbox to add a page frame, and give it a black fill.
- Click the Interactive Fill tool, and drag on the page.
- On the property bar, click the Elliptical fountain fill button. Open the Node color picker, and choose a green color.
- Drag the green control handle to position it in the top 1/3 of the page, and the black control handle in the center of the page.
Adding the imagery
We want to take a minimalist approach to the poster and have only two objects on the page, plus the company logo and a bit of text. We will start by bringing in the trumpet and musical notes. In order to position these on the page the way we want, we will need to PowerClip them into a frame.
- Select the background, hold down Shift, and double-click the Rectangle tool in the toolbox. This will add a rectangle the size of the page on top of the background.
- Right-click this rectangle, and choose Frame Type > Create Empty PowerClip Frame.
- Click File > Import. In the Import dialog box, browse to your image, and click Import. Click on the page to place the image. Import any other images you need for the poster.
- Drag and drop the first image onto the PowerClip frame. When adding additional objects to a PowerClip frame, hold down the W key while you drop the images into the frame.
- Double-click the PowerClip object to go into edit mode. Position, resize, and rotate the images as necessary. In this case, we rotate both the trumpet and the musical notes 30 degrees counterclockwise and fill them with white.
- To add a glow to the object (in this case, the trumpet), select it and click the Drop Shadow tool. On the property bar, choose Small Glow from the Preset list, and set Drop shadow opacity to 20, Shadow feathering to 20, and Shadow color to green.
- When you’re done editing the object, click the Stop Editing Contents button that appears below the PowerClip frame to exit the PowerClip edit mode. (You can also click Object > PowerClip > Finish Editing This Level.)
Adding the text and logo
Finally, we will add the logo and the text. Staccato Music Supplies is sponsoring this evening of Sweet Soulful Jazz.
- Import the logo, and position it at the bottom of the poster.
- Click the Text tool, click in the upper-left corner, and type "An Evening of Sweet Soulful Jazz."
- Right-click the text, and select Object Properties. In the Object Properties docker, set the font to Gabriola, the font size to 65 pt, and the text color to white.
- Select the text with the Text tool, and click the little arrow that appears below the text to display available stylistic variations for this font.
- Position the cursor between the words "of" and "Sweet," and press Enter.
- Select the text. On the property bar, type 30 in the Angle of rotation box to rotate the text 30 degrees counterclockwise.
- With the Text tool selected, click in the lower-right corner, and type the rest of the text. In the Object Properties docker, choose a font, set the font size, and change the text color to white.
- In the Object Properties docker, click the Paragraph button at the top, and click the Align right button.
It is easy to see that creating a poster in CorelDRAW can be fun, especially when you understand that most of the design rules can be thrown out the window. There are just a few things to remember:
- A simple background can be contrasted with complex imagery (and vice versa).
- Use color and contrast to emphasize important information.
- Guide the viewer’s eye using image elements and color.
- Make text easy to read from a distance.
- Have fun showing your creativity.
Poster design is probably one of the more rewarding types of projects, simply because it lets you dig deep into your creativity and show off — so go for it.
If you have enjoyed this tutorial, be sure to check out the other tutorials that are available in the Discovery Center. If you have any ideas for tutorials or projects that you would like to see in the future, please leave us some Feedback.