Poster Basics

Posters Home

Posters are a good way to inform the public about your enhancement, monitoring, and restoration works. They can be displayed in malls, at community events, or any time presenting information about your project is possible. Once you have the poster produced, it can speak for you and your group when you can't be present.

The ideas and concepts presented here are equally valid for any information piece you may wish to produce, such as, a brochure, newsletter, web page, video, etc.


You must know who your audience is, and target the message to them. Is it a general information poster for the public to view? Is it a scientific poster to show how you have applied a particular scientific method? Is it for local govenrment that needs to understand how your project fits in with their environmental efforts? If you need to present to different audiences, make more posters.


You can't go wrong by asking five basic questions. How you frame them is up to you, although we have included some samples.

  1. Who - who is involved? who is affected by the works? or affected if the works weren't done?
  2. What - what is the nature of your project? what methods and technologies do you employ?
  3. When - when did the project begin? what is the history of the project? what times of the year do you undertake works?
  4. Where - what is the location?
  5. Why - was there an event that precipitated this project? what are the desired outcomes?
Get as many of your members as possible together to go over these questions, and make notes. Alternatively, if you tape record the session, someone can listen to it, and transcribe it at a later date. Keep your message as simple as possible. If you find that that you have enough information for 5 posters, make 5 posters. Don't confuse your viewers by including too much information. Try to imagine that your poster is a sign next to a highway. The viewers are whizzing by at 80km per hour, they only have time to read one or two lines, perhaps only one or two words. What would be the line (or word) that you would want them to remember? That's what your poster should be about.


Images are an excellent way to portray the objectives your group has met, or is trying to meet. Be sure to include any maps or general area photos. Try to use close-ups, avoid photos that are shot from to great a distance from the subject. Also, bear in mind the size of the poster. Images that have been compressed for e-mail or web sites may not look very good when they are blown up to poster size. Try to use original files wherever possible. If you wish to use photographs that don't belong to you, be sure to secure permission of the owner.


Bear in mind that the purpose of your poster is to portray information about your project in an easy to read and understand manner. Use colours that are harmonious, bearing in mind that the eye perceives contrast (difference between light and dark) before it perceives colour. If in doubt, try using your colours in one of the free image editing programs (or another one you may already be using) and change it to grayscale. Below are a few samples.

Blue Text on Green
Green Text on Blue
Red Text on Green
Yellow Text
on Red
Yellow Text
on Blue

Try to keep the relative difference in brightness between the background colour and text fairly high. Black on white is the best for contrast, however, it doesn't seem very creative. Yellow text on a blue background is quite good, yellow text on green is not as nice too look at. Try a few combinations, and be aware of the problems different combinations can cause.

Once you belive you have a grasp of these concepts, you can now carry on to creating a poster. View the tutorials on the index page for more information.