The returning art of poster printing

The returning art of poster printing

How to design punchy posters for the 21st century

Poster PrintingPosters were one of the earliest forms of advertising. From the early 1800s posters promoted opinions or political parties, recruited soldiers and finally began to advertise products and events. Lithography was invented in 1798 but was too slow for mass printing and production of posters, so for many years posters were wood or metal engravings without much design. However, great advances in the lithographic process changed everything and by the 1880s full colour, printed posters had arrived.

The art of print – now at your fingertips

Early posters were elaborate pieces of art that took a long time to produce and even as advancements in printing allowed for quicker design and production of posters, they have often been seen as art as well as advertising tools. From 19th century Art Nouveau, through 20th century modernism, wartime and psychedelic styles, good posters have been seen as striking pieces of art. Today with desktop publishing and advanced digital printing technology, great poster design and print is achievable on even a small budget. Good designers still produce posters that are visually striking pieces of art as well as highly effective pieces of marketing.

Whether you want to promote a brand or business, advertise a club night, charity event or trade show it’s essential to make your poster both striking and effective. To do that you need to know that the design that looks great on your screen will look as good when it’s printed.

Use the right artwork format
Graphics formats are either in bitmap or vector format. Vector format as used in programmes like InDesign and Illustrator is by far the best for artwork. Artwork in vector format can be blown up to any size without any reduction in quality. Bitmaps are made up of pixels. Photographs and images will nearly always be bitmaps and quality of the image will reduce as the artwork size is increased because the pixels will each get larger. This makes the image look blurred.

While most designers place Photoshop and JPEG images into their artwork, Indesign or Illustrator are by far the industry standard artwork formats.

If you do use Photoshop…
Photoshop is an excellent programme for image adjustment and creating or adding effects, so some experienced designers use it to make some truly striking posters. If you create your artwork in bitmap form, be aware that if you need it reproduced larger at some time in the future, the artwork won’t be as sharp as your original. The same goes for any images you place into your vector artwork. They should be saved at a resolution of 300dpi at the size they’ll appear in print.

Of course, good design is vital if your poster is to have real impact. However, don’t underestimate the importance of supplying your printer with great quality artwork; or of your printer supplying great quality print!

At we print posters from A4 size right up to 96 sheet. Our HP Indigo digital and Roland large format presses reproduce artwork superbly. All of our prices are shown when you click for a quote on our website. You can then upload artwork, order your job and arrange delivery online. We also have artwork templates you can download in PDF, Indesign or Illustrator formats. To find out more about poster printing or to order your poster today, visit or contact our experienced print team.


Published by DigitalPrinting

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