Five Design Tips for Improving Poster Legibility


Five Design Tips for Improving Poster Legibility

Whether you need one or a bunch of custom poster prints for your advertising, school events, announcements, warnings or anything else, it needs to be clear, concise, and captivating. When you or your designer get set to design of your poster, there are a few tips you should keep in mind. Often, posters are seen from a distance and only for a few moments, so the information should be easily processed within seconds of exposure. At the end of the day, getting your message seen and acted upon is the number-one priority. By following a few of these design tips, you can avoid illegible designs and make it easy for viewers to read your featured content.

Direct Your Viewer’s Attention

As readers, we are hard-wired to read from left to right, top to bottom (at least for English readers.) Use this to your advantage! Design your poster to be read similarly to reading a book. It will make a noticeable impact for your viewers.

Avoid Using Decorative Fonts

Adding a stylish flair to the words on a poster may unintentionally create text that is difficult to read. Instead of using italics and cursive to emphasize certain sections of the poster, consider using bold text to draw attention to important information.

Properly Spaced Text

It can be overwhelming when there is too much information in a single space. Use spacing techniques to prevent viewers from glazing over essential details. Separate densely packed text into manageable paragraphs, making sure to deliberately group relevant content into different sections of the poster. Viewers are typically drawn to the middle of the sign, so the main messages should be spaced near the center.

Consider Using One Large Visual

The human eye is attracted to visually-appealing graphics—ensure your poster is no exception. Single item illustrations, close-up cropped photos and oversized display typefaces front and centre are all effective ways of creating a focal point that commands their attention.

Be Mindful of Your Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is the principle of arranging elements to show their order of importance, making it easier for the viewer to understand and process the information easily. Visual hierarchy can be arranged in many ways, but whatever direction you decide to take, make sure that it is consistent.

  • Relative size: Adjusting the size of objects on your poster—such as enlarging an object to provide it more importance or making it smaller to de-emphasize it—is one of the easiest ways to develop a visual hierarchy. Whatever you decide, always remember that balance is key. Turning the dial to the extreme of each spectrum could make the element overwhelming, or conversely, unreadable.
  • Colour combinations: Maintaining a cohesive, consistent colour palette should always be a priority. The color of the words and background should contrast one another to help the text pop out to passing viewers. Using color combinations that blend together or look unappealing can prevent people from accurately reading the poster’s content. Use high-impact colours like yellow or red to make something stand out or prioritize information. Remember: Value, saturation and temperature are also important factors to consider.
  • Typography hierarchy: Just like a book where authors use headings to anchor our eyes to the beginning of a paragraph, poster should be designed the same. Organize titles, subtitles and body copy by their sizes respectively.


By following these tips, the content of your posters will be clear and concise, which will help to reach a wider audience and therefore increase exposure for your company.

Having difficulties? Perhaps you’d like us to handle your print design instead? Not a problem! Minuteman Press Calgary Shepard’s graphic designer specializes in print-ready designs. We can work with you to make your poster stand out and convey the appropriate mood without causing your information to fade into the background. Request a Quote from us today and we’ll contact you shortly!