The distinctive types of poster design

Brief descriptions of the most established categories of posters.

The distinctive types of poster design

Brief descriptions of the most established categories of posters.

As humanity naturally progresses, poster design instantly follows. The vast topics of poster design reveal all sorts of topics, in which a poster can be used - rather for ads, information, viewing pleasure, etc. Over here are some of the types of poster design that stood the test of time:

Propaganda and political posters

During the First and Second World Wars, the use of posters to recruit soldiers became especially popular. Many of the advertising materials used at the time stay in the collective memory, such as the famous "Lord Kitchener Wants You" used by the British Army (during the Great War), its American equivalent "Uncle Sam wants you", and "Loose Lips Sink ships". , warns of the danger of spies and the devastating consequences of information leaks during the Atlantic War.

In times of war, posters were used for propaganda purposes, to persuade and motivate - such as the famous Rosie the Riveter, who called out women to work in factories during World War II. The Soviet Union was also full of propaganda posters, some of which became ironic depictions of the Great Patriotic (German-Soviet).

During the 1989 democratic revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe, posters became an important weapon for the opposition, an element of change. Brave political posters appeared on the Berlin Wall, on the statue of St. Wenceslas in Prague, and even on the marked tomb of Imre Nad in Budapest. An example of a current influential political poster is that of Shepard Fairy - "Hope" with the face of US President Barack Obama.

Movie Posters

The movie industry quickly discovered that brightly colored posters were an effortless way to attract viewers. Posters were printed with the purpose to announce the release of most box office titles and collecting film posters had become a popular hobby.

The record for the most expensive poster was set by the Reel Poster Gallery in London, which paid $690,000 for a poster from the hit film "Metropolis" (1927) by director Fritz Lang. Other posters from the dawn of cinema with genres "horror movies" and "science fiction", were also traded for enormous sums - a poster from the "Mummy" sold for $452,000 in 1997, posters from "The Black Cat" and "Bride of Frankenstein" sold for $334,000 each at auctions. The six-page poster from the film "Frankenstein" (1931), which is believed to exist in only one copy, is considered the most valuable movie poster in the world.

Tourism posters

At this moment in time, the tourism industry widely uses posters for advertising or offering tourist destinations, that present a particular place in an appealing way. An example of this is the "Beach Town Posters" series. A collection of posters painted in Art Deco style and bearing the hallmarks of the advertising industry of the 20s and 30s of the 20th century, dedicated to American beach resorts.

Railway posters

At the dawn of British railroads, various railway companies used simple posters to promote the routes and services they offered. By 1850, because of the growing competition between them and thanks to the development of printing technologies, various drawings (with pictographic elements) began to be printed on advertising posters.

In 1905, London and North Western Railway (LNWR) hired Norman Wilkinson to design a new poster advertising the company's rail route to Ireland. In 1908, John Hassel painted for the Great Northern Railway (GNR) the famous image of "Jolly Fisherman" and the accompanying motto "Skegness is so Bracing". The development of this trend in poster design in the 20th century was marked by the innovations that took place in British society during this period, the accompanying stylistic changes in art, architecture, and fashion, as well as the changing tendencies in the tourism industry.

Event Posters

In these times, promoting an event through posters has become standard practice. Whether it's a rally or a play, any kind of public event can be advertised through posters. You probably already can recall a couple of posters that you like, depending on your preferences.

Event posters can be posters of boxing fights (which are being distributed near the arena), concert posters, theater posters, posters of various gatherings, etc. Some of these posters also possess value on the market - especially mature ones.

Blacklight Posters

These posters became popular during the 60’s counterculture movement. They are pleasant under ultraviolet light and are mostly excellent home decor if you enjoy colors in the dark.

Erotic posters

Erotic posters, also known as "pinups" and "cheesecake posters", are posters of attractive women. They first appeared in the 1920s and gained popularity in recent decades. Similar posters of the famous women Betty Grable and Jane Russell were especially popular among servicemen during World War II, but their Vietnam War-era "heirs" enjoyed far less interest. The late '70s and early '80s of the last century marked the apogee of large-format erotic posters of acclaimed actresses, especially those of Farah Fawcett and Cheryl Tiggs.

Motivational posters

These are the kind of posters designed to motivate and inspire. A popular series of these is a scene from nature set on a black background and containing a symbolic word like "Leadership" or "Opportunity".

Motivational posters have become so popular in the States that they inspired a whole series of comedic "unmotivational posters", which were some of the first memes that appeared on the Internet.

Another famous design (usually framed and printed on matte paper) uses a holographic image with two pictures that alternate as the viewer passes them past the poster.

Book posters

"Books on posters" is a type of poster in which the entire text of a book (usually a novel) is printed legibly on a poster. This unique and modern design style is characterized by a "wall" of text, which remains a significant part of the literary work.

Comic posters

The return of comic book popularity, which took place in the 1960s, led to the mass printing of comic book posters in the 1970s and beyond. These posters typically feature popular comic book characters in action poses. The rapid development of the plots of the comics also leads to a more brief "printed life" of this type of poster. For this reason, old posters are of particular interest to collectors. Promotional posters are typically sold folded, while other posters intended for home use are offered rolled up.

Research posters

Posters are used in academic life to encourage and explain the research. They are typically displayed during conferences - in addition to a presentation, scientific paper, or publication. They do not have the same impact as academic articles but can serve as a presentation of a recent study before it is published. This type of poster is sometimes considered "gray literature".

Educational posters

These posters are a hallmark for classrooms all around the world. For example, a typical school will display posters related to recently covered academic topics; alphabet and grammar; figures and scientific tables; safety instructions; pictures of children, illustrations of wildlife, etc.

Final words

Whichever type of poster you find most exciting, you do not have to be too surprised to see very fascinating ones amongst every genre mentioned. Feel free to explore the internet for various designs and keep getting inspired!

Inspire a friend

Keep exploring

UX/UI design

The key benefits of good design

The meaningful ways a successful design concept can provide guaranteed benefits to any business.

Graphic design

5 key reasons to be a graphic designer

Why being a graphic designer is a remarkable job?

Graphic design

The complex world of posters and its specs

A brief explanation of how this specific type of meaningful images came into existence.

Graphic design

How to deal with creative criticism

And how to affect you in the right way