Poster Design and Collateral Materials


You are a graphic designer working for a graphic design studio. The firm has recently landed a project to design a ...

  • 11"x17" vertical poster (four colors / cmyk)
  • 1024px x 620px monitor image (full color / rgb)
  • 5.5" x 8.5" postcard (one color / black / no bleeds)
  • 8.5" x 11" folded in half / program cover (one color / black/ no bleeds)

Once the creative approach has been determined you will then produce a tight comprehensive design. The client has supplied the logo standards and copy.

You will work with your art director on research, idea exploration, and concept development. You will submit thumbnails to the art director, who will then choose 3 concepts to develop into 3 tight roughs. Once the roughs have been approved by the art director, the client will select one for the final comp. In order to make sure that the job is scheduled appropriately, prints correctly and all electronic files are configured correctly you will be in close contact with the production manager.

The final comprehensive design will need to simulate the final printed project as closely as possible. The client has asked that...

1. All digital files be delivered for printing purposes for the poster and postcard
2. PDFs be provided for proofing and for going to press
3. A monitor image be provided as a .JPG
4. As well as a final color print out of the poster and postcard design.

Examples: Fall | Winter | Spring

Design Process

  1. Read over the creative brief.
  2. Think critically and problem solve.
  3. Create an objective/strategy statement:
    • objective: briefly state the message you wish to communicate.
    • strategy: describe the concept you will use to communicate your message, along with design elements/principles and typography choices that will most clearly communicate your message to the target audience
  4. Research poster design examples online. Collect samples and assemble a mood board which includes:
    • images/techniques
    • color palette
    • typography choices
  5. Create thumbnails meeting the following criteria:
    • show five different concepts
    • create composition variations for each concept
    • are fast and un-detailed
    • are drawn in proportion to the dimensions of the finished piece
    • communicate a minimum of five different creative concepts
    • that show variations of each creative concept
    • show emphasis, balance, unity, rhythm
    • convey composition, sizing and position
    • show general shapes of graphic elements (images, text, etc.)
    • display readable headline type
  6. Submit thumbnails for sign-off on or before the deadline date.
  7. Develop three roughs from the thumbnails selected by your art director that meet the following criteria:
    • drawn in proportion or actual size for final product
    • indicating type choice (typeface, case, type style, etc)
    • indicating usage of color and value
    • are as close to the final design as possible
  8. Submit roughs for sign-off on or before deadline date.
  9. Develop the final design from the selected rough.
  10. Submit final design on or before the deadline date.

Design Technology

  1. Create job folder(s) as instructed by your production manager.
  2. Scan line art and rough drawings to use as a template by...
    • scanning the line art in gray scale with enough resolution to trace the image
    • scanning original rough drawings to create bezier curve objects
    • scanning original artwork with enough resolution to turn it into a bit mapped image (1200ppi)
  3. Choose the appropriate software to create graphic artwork by understanding the difference between vector and raster images.
  4. Crop a photographic image and save in the appropriate resolution by...
    • selecting and using the cropping tool
    • using the "crop options" dialog box to set pixel dimensions
    • setting the correct printing resolution for a 133 lpi halftone screen (266 ppi)
    • cropping the image to match the rough layout
    • utilizing the "save for web & devices" file menu web based imagery (72ppi)
  5. Develop bezier curve illustrations for the design and save in the appropriate format by...
    • creating smooth curves using a minimum number of anchor points
    • using Bezier curve handles
    • saving illustration files as an Encapsulated Postscript file or native documents (.eps, .ai)
  6. Select appropriate printer by...
    • choosing the correct black and white or color printer for the assignment
    • proofing file on screen first
    • print only necessary copies keeping sustainability in mind
  7. Use and name layers to isolate graphic elements in order to manipulate / change specific elements without effecting other elements of the design.
  8. Use ruler guides and document grid to align text and graphics.
  9. Create a duotone raster image using two Pantone Colors.
  10. Adjust the letter spacing and leading of type in the design to enhance the feeling of the design.
  11. Overlap vector shapes using knockout and overprint attributes for stroke and fill.
  12. Create bleeds to create the illusion that the press printed to the edge of the sheet of paper.
  13. Use appropriate tools, palettes, and menu commands to...
    • create basic shapes, strokes and fills
    • format text size and color
    • import images
  14. Convert text to paths / outlines in order to...
    • change each letter into a separate graphic object
    • re-shape the letter / font
    • fill, create gradients, scale, rotate, flip or transform like any non-type object
    • allow a user to open or print your document without having to load a particular font
  15. Use effective file management and follow instructions for saving files to appropriate volumes by...
    • using descriptive file names, formats and extensions
    • using a dedicated folder for working files
  16. Isolate photographic imagery and backgrounds by...
  17. Find resources to solve technical problems by...
    • using the software help menus
    • using reference books
    • using online resources
    • communicating with colleagues
  18. Maintain a positive attitude when computer problems arise by...
    • looking at problems as an opportunity to learn something new
    • not having sarcastic remarks
    • maintaining an awareness of appropriate / positive body language
    • eliminating self-defeating thoughts and language
  19. Create color separations for the poster design that are correct by printing them out on a laser printer and visually checking color and graphics accuracy.
  20. Save the final PDF files and utilize the correct PDF presets by...
    • using the PDF output preview for verifying overprints and knockouts
    • utilizing "smallest file size" for client view
    • utilizing "PDF/x1a" for press quality printing (include all printer's marks)
  21. Assess your work and make appropriate revisions.
  22. Package files and fill out the print preparation checklist with another colleague.


  1. Mood board template
  2. Duotones & Spot channels
  3. Overprinting
  4. PDF from Postscript File
  1. Scanning

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