OverviewDownload Poster Assignment | PDF

Create a one-page poster with type and image (photo or illustration) to attract people to a specific event or attraction of a non-profit organization. The non-profit should be something with which you have strong feelings about. Try going to, click “Organizations” and put in keywords for the type of non-profit that interests you.

Begin by identifying the event you’ve chosen. This should be part of your written rationale, and should influence your approach to solving the design problems. In your rationale, explain how you addressed the needs of the client. Determine what aspects of this event would attract someone to attend.

You determine the information included in the design (location, dates, hours, fees, etc.); your decisions will be based on your own personal experience.  I’d advise you to narrow your focus to one main aspect or a category of aspects.

You must include a primary visual element either drawn illustration or photo illustration.  Remember you can use type as the base to help create shapes for your illustration. Consider the semiotics lecture and explore how your imagery will make an argument for your cause by creating a visual metaphor.  If you are creating a photo illustration you must take the images yourself or combine royalty-free photos to create a new image.  Photo illustrations must be at least 150ppi. In general, stronger designs will be built on visuals that have a more original concept. You can not just take something off the internet and be done, your final image must be original. Source your visual(s) in your rationale!

Poster Requirements

  • Original main artwork.
  • Appropriate information for an event poster.
  • PR students – You are required to use your media kit topic; this supports your media kit, be creative — original art still required, consult PR faculty for specifics; same grading criteria apply.


  • Thumbnail (sketches) due: July 23
  • Project DUE: JULY 24
  • Post to blog due: July 24

Grade Percentage

  • 15% of your final grade

Mandatory deductions

  • Missing sketch deadline: 1/3 letter grade
  • Missing deadline: One letter grade, no redo
  • Not packaged or conforming to the class naming convention: 1/3 letter grade
  • Incomplete or omitting rationale: one-third to one letter grade
  • Less than five different sketches of poster designs: 1/3 letter grade
  • Less than two computer drafts of earlier: 1/3 letter grade
  • Improper or no electronic files: one-third to one letter grade


Your audience

  • Determine who your audience is and why your poster or ad addresses this demographic; include this in your rationale.
  • Don’t fill the space from corner to corner, top to bottom. White space can work powerfully for you! Think about the content. Edit the copy. Consider readability.  Think about using strong alignment rather than centering copy. Remember that strong alignment creates a strong layout—as does repetition of type, visuals and style.
  • As research for this project, study other posters or advertisements. What attracts you to them? What are the main problems with ones you reject visually? Remember that posters or advertisements are designed to be a quick read. The best design solution is often simple.

Poster readability

  • After you’ve outlined the specifics of your project, consider finding your image(s) early. Because you need one dominant visual, this will be the bedrock on which you build your design.
  • Carefully consider your visual and the way it will interact with the type. Consider where the visual will be placed in the design and how it plays off of the display type.


  • Consider using a versatile typeface family (for a concordant type relationship that still allows contrast) or two contrasting families (that still work together well).
  • Consider visual hierarchy in the size and placement of type. Consider grouping text to keep it simple.


Visual Metaphor / Layers of Meaning

  • Consider the semiotics lecture and explore how your imagery will make an argument for your cause by creating a visual metaphor. (Melting iceberg in shape of polar bear = melting icebergs lead to the demise of polar bears).
  • This concept of the poster should be specific and make a quick, compelling case.
  • It should inform and get an emotional response from the viewer.
  • The concept / visual metaphor should support the overall message and enhance our appreciation of your subject. It should give us a “smile of the mind.”

Turning In Your Project

  • Package your project: File > Package
  • GRA617 Project Guidelines
    • Be sure to rename any linked images semantically
      (i.e.: ronnie-james-dio.tif or
    • Follow the class naming convention on the final folder you’re turning in
    • lastName-firstName-projectName
    • lastName-firstName-projectName–redo