How To Design, Market & Sell Posters Online

Posters are one of the earliest methods of advertising and propaganda.

They were used to promote various political parties, recruit soldiers, advertise products and spread ideas to the general public.

If you think posters are dead, think again. Even with the rise of internet posters maintain their importance in our everyday lives. You can find posters anywhere – coffee shops, gyms, subways, and streets.

From announcements to advertising, a different type of posters can be found in all corners of the world.

We put together a poster guide on how to create top-selling posters. Ready to get started? Let’s dive right on into all the good stuff.

Advertising – Advertising posters are the most typical type of posters that are still used to very this day. They usually include call-to-actions (CTAs). 

Informative – Informative posters are pretty self-explanatory – they educate, inform, or decorate. Usually, these posters are meant to educate but in some cases, they are used as decorative wall art to compliment a certain interior design look.

Affirmation – Affirmation posters include motivational and quote sayings. Posters with quotes or simple pep talk sayings are designs that are very popular in the print on demand industry and all over the world. 

Propaganda – Propaganda posters carry a stereotype of negative connotation. They are usually associated with negative press such as political and war topics. They usually contain logos, bold typography, and particular philosophy. 

I want you for U.S. Army Poster
Source: Library of Congress

What makes a good poster design?

Design Elements

Legible – If you are using typography, it should be readable from a distance.  

Colors – Colors can make or break your design. Depending on what feel you are going for, you may want to use one of the color matching palette tools to achieve a great aesthetic look.

Full Bleed – Create designs that align with CustomCat’s artwork guidelines so you don’t end up with the information being cut from your image. 

Font – For typography designs, you may want to visit our Typography Basics For Print On Demand post to get a better understanding of how to pick the correct font, size, and more.

Size – Create designs that fit our poster guide dimensions with good resolution. If your design is too small, you may lose some quality.

Have Fun & Be Creative –  There are so many posters that look alike (horror movies usually feature eyes and suspense movies usually show someone running through a dark alley). Let your imagination run wild and dare to be different. The goal of every poster is to grab attention from a distance. Let’s get creative.

Design with an audience in mind

Consider where and how your posters will be displayed. Is it a small poster that will go on a dorm wall or a poster that goes on a wall in bigger room settings? Use color and your layout accordingly. 

Poster design ideas

Wanted – Wanted designs can be used to decorate man caves or dorms. Typically Wanted posters are usually associated with criminals but they can be spun into witty or funny designs for all ages. 

Movies – Movie posters are iconic. Horror, comedy, and action movie designs are very popular on college campuses.

Seasons – Some people live in part of the world where White Christmas isn’t possible. That’s when seasonal posters come in play.  

Animals – Animal posters are universal. They can be used to inform, motivate, or decorate.

Quotes – When things get tough, most people turn to motivational quotes for comfort. 

National Parks – Showcase your love for the great outdoors and support the leave no trace movement.

Landscapes – Many households decorate their communal areas with nature art to evoke the feeling of a relaxed environment. Landscape designs can be also used to motivate individuals to start saving money to go on a dream vacation. 

Cities, States, Countries  – When kids move away from home, some may want to bring a keepsake that reminds them of home.

Here’s a list of categories from All Posters.com

Here’s a link to Amazon Best Sellers. At the time of this screenshot, we were at the beginning of the school year. That’s why you see a lot of teacher-related products.

Where do I find poster design inspiration?

Before you market posters

Before you start marketing your products, make sure to create eye-catching, preferably lifestyle mockups to create the perfect visual of what the product will look like in a certain setting. 

The mockups below are downloadable, however, they are not free of charge. You must have an Adobe Stock account to be able to download the featured images.

Better yet, if you really want to make your poster mockups standout, hire a professional photographer to replicate all the examples illustrated in this guide. You may want to book a studio apartment to do so. Here’s is a link to book photo studios, apartments, and houses. 

Living Room

Living room and other common areas are the top spaces that people like to decorate the most. Decorating living room walls is an important part of making a home feel cozy and complete. Get this pink-themed living room mockup here

Fitness & Gym

Whether someone has a gym set up at home or someone manages a boutique studio, they may be looking to buy wall decor to inspire themselves and others. Get your locker room mockup here

Locker Room Gym with empty poster

Minimalism

If you want to make your artwork the only focal point use a super simple background as illustrated below. Click here to get yours.

Collections

If you sell posters that complement each other, advertise bundles to your audience. It can look like something along these lines. Click to get the image here

Hanger

This mockup will help you stand out from the crowd, it is uniquely different than a regular wall mockup. Choose hangers of any size and color to add a touch. Click here to get yours. 

a blank poster is being held by a hand and a hanger

Poster Line

Any type of twine will do. This idea is derived from a clothesline idea, instead of clothes attach posters instead. This type of mockup works the best with our smaller poster sizes (18 x 12, 12 x 18, 16 x 16). Get the mockup below here

Handholding

If you are okay with showing your hands, this kind of mockup adds an extra personality to your artwork. Get your mockup here. 

Hanging

Similar to the hanger and poster line, here’s a third option that you can use as a mockup. Get your image here

How To Market Posters

Posters are visually-heavy products.  We offer different sizes, unlike clothing you don’t have to worry about correct sizing and a fit. 

If you already run an established business, it’s a good idea to add posters to your store and market them as upsells or cross-sells.

On the other hand, if you are starting a brand new poster business we know how hard it is to get traction in an oversaturated market.

Selling art isn’t just about the art itself, you must master the art of business to have a profitable business.  

This is why we recommend starting from scratch.

First things first, check out our Poster Selling Guide to get a better idea of what we offer. Poster Selling Guide includes information like:

Choose the Right Shopify Theme

When building your online store on Shopify choose the theme with a lot of white (negative) space and the option to showcase large images. In doing so, you will achieve the so-called gallery look. 

Choose from Art & Photography E-commerce Website Templates for your online store.

Here are some of the examples that you may take into consideration.

For WooCommerce we recommend something along these lines: Oxygen – $60 

Offline Promotion

You can connect with fans and new audiences when you take your work offline. 

Person-to-person connections drive sales. People are drawn to connections, stories, and emotions. When you put your best foot forward to meet and interact with individuals on a personal level, you are inviting them to view your artwork through your eyes and they are more likely to visit your e-commerce store SOON!

Consider the following:

  • Partner with a gallery to showcase work
  • Purchase a booth at Art Fair (Ann Arbor Art Fair, MI – is one of the most recognized art fairs in the nation) 
  • Set up a small pop-up within an existing store
  • Run a pop-up shop in your local community 
  • Get involved with your local community (attend events, libraries, art shows…etc.)

Enter Online Conversations

Enter conversations where people talk about certain topics or products, such as wall art or decorations. 

Check out platforms like RedditQuoraMix (the old StumbleUpon), Product Hunt, and certain Facebook groups. 

When interacting within the platforms mentioned above, DO NOT be pushy.

Connect with the audience on a deeper level –  lifestyle and everyday photos will suffice. 

Grow your social media presence

Grow your fan base on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. You don’t necessarily need to be active on all social media platforms – choose the ones that compliment your business the most. Instagram and Pinterest are visually-heavy platforms, that’s why we recommend building your following there.  

Thanks for reading! If there is anything else you’d like us to cover. Let us know in the comments below. 

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Really great post. Definitely going to follow your tips for next poster design and going to follow your sales tips for the posters.

    1. Thank you! I appreciate your kind words. Let me know how it goes. 🙂

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