Posters are attention-grabbing, memorable and ultra-flexible. After all, you can hang them just about anywhere! Their low-cost, low-risk nature makes them a great marketing tool for a variety of messages. With months of warm weather ahead, now is a perfect time to consider how a poster design campaign can help generate buzz for your business.

How do I know if a poster is right for my business?

Small and medium-sized businesses are in an especially strong position to take advantage of poster as a marketing tool. Posters are more cost-effective than a TV commercial or billboard. Work with a great designer and professional printer and your poster design will be just as high-quality as any massive corporation’s. This means that using posters can be a way to compete with larger companies that could outshine a small business using other marketing methods.

Poster by dygbi for 99designs.

Sustainable Living Festival poster: dygbi

You probably already have some instincts, and maybe even a little experience, with using posters for marketing, even if you’ve never ordered a business poster before. If you were an entrepreneurial type as a child, you may have hung your share of handmade “Lemonade Stand” posters around your neighborhood.

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Photo by Gary Stevens, published under CC BY 2.0 license

Obviously, you’re looking for more professional results now, but several of the basic principles of a successful poster design carry over from curbside summer refreshment to an established business. Posters work best with bright, eye-catching colors and a single, clear message. Because posters can appear in so many places, they’re an ideal way to catch prospects in the midst of their normal routine.

How can I make sure my poster campaign is effective?

To get the best results from your poster campaign, decide on one specific goal you want to achieve. Do you want to attract a market concentrated in a specific area? Are you catering a block party or introducing a new business feature, like al fresco dining for the summer? Whether you’re telling a new market who you are or encouraging existing customers to take advantage of your new offer, your poster design should convey one strong message.

Actually, make that two. You know what specific event, promotion or feature your poster will announce. Keep in mind that the design—fonts, colors, images and so on—is its own nonverbal message as well. A great designer will make sure that your graphics pop, and also that they align with images and colors featured throughout the rest of your business.

Poster by isabellarrazola for 99designs.

Beers in Sacramento poster: isabellarrazola

How do I get started?

Great poster designs come from well-thought-out concepts. Before you hire a designer, think about what poster design elements are most important to you. What is the tone of the poster? What information is most important for prospects to remember? What colors, fonts and images do you use in the rest of your business materials, like your logo? The more clearly you can communicate with your designer, the more your poster will represent not only a particular event coming up for your business, but your brand personality.

Here at 99designs, we are thrilled to launch our new poster design category. Check out examples of professionally designed business posters here, or start a contest of your own.