Join Sean Adams for an in-depth discussion in this video Typographic posters, part of Foundations of Layout and Composition: Grids.
- While some posters rely on a central image to communicate a message, others are typographic. The content may be best expressed with copy or the poster is meant to be posted and provide information. Now, everyone I know tends to freak out a bit when we talk about typography on a poster. But don't worry about this too much, think of typography as pictures of words. There may be instances when you need to add more information to the front of the poster than you'd like but that's just a good challenge.
The biggest danger when designing a typographic poster is creating a giant brochure. The poster may contain similar information but it still has the job to grab the viewer's attention. The grid can help guide the scale and placement to do this. The grid here is important to organize the information and provide hierarchy. Since I'm working on a large-scale and have a large amount of content to handle, I create a grid with 16 columns and 12 hanglines.
This will give me the flexibility I need. The next step is to determine the levels of importance. Now, everything on the poster is important but if everything is screaming at the same level, nothing is heard. Once I've organized my content into the headline, subheads and body text, I can begin the layout. In these instances, I use a column grid. This helps me organize the body text and maintain consistency. A line length that is the same from column to column will help the viewer understand the types of information.
A common error is to make the type too large on the body text of a poster. Nobody is going to read multiple paragraphs from a passing bus. The chances are good that the viewer will walk up to the poster and read them. So don't feel that all the type need to be huge. I still work with sizes that are related, if the body text is 12 point, the subheads are 18 point, introduction copy is 24 point and so on. Without the grid the type is simply floating with no relationship.
Aligning it to the grid structure will maintain a cohesive layout, the scale of the typography will create the energy. So that I don't drive myself mad with too many choices, I start with one typeface only and change only the scale. If I have 12 fonts on a page, the viewer can be confused, trying to understand why one type of information is in bodoni while another in garamond and the third in something decorative. I also religiously adhere to the same alignment on all typography.
I'm sure someone more talented could work with flush left, centered and flush right text on the same piece. But I find it to be confusing and unrefined. Once the type is in place, I play with color. I try a solid background and different colors. Copy and paste the page onto several pages and do a few versions. You're the only one who will see these so explore. Typographic posters demand more structure than a singular image but the results can be spectacular.
Stick with the grid and a simple typographic language and you'll do fine. The grid will provide the necessary structure and let you play with the layout issues such as size and color without being overwhelmed by a big empty canvas.
- Why grids and proportions?
- The elements of a grid
- The types of grids
- Designing a master grid
- Asymmetrical vs. symmetrical grids
- Working with column and modular grids
- Managing multiple grids
- Designing posters with a grid
- Using grids in other design projects