With technology becoming ever more advanced, and software more widely available, it’s never been easier to create eye catching poster artwork for your pantomime. Here’s my advise on how to make sure your poster is tip-top and does your show justice. Plus, find an archive of lots of pantomime posters here for inspiration.
Why do you need a strong poster design for your panto?
Your poster is at the very core of your local marketing campaign. The artwork will be used in print, and across social media marketing to sell tickets for your production. It needs to include all your basic booking information and give potential audience members a sense of what the show is about and whether or not it’s for them.
1. Aim your pantomime poster at a specific audience
You might think it’s sensible to aim your poster design at as wide an audience as possible, but as the old saying goes: “if you stand in the middle of the road, you’ll only get hit by the cars”. You must target a specific audience demographic when you’re designing your poster. If it’s for a pantomime, then chances are you’re going to be aiming for a family audience, and who’s buying the tickets? People of parenting age with kids, and grandparents. Family audiences love a colourful, bright poster design, like a children’s storybook, and try and include the word ‘family’ prominently on the poster as this helps identify that the show is for them. “A festive family pantomime”.
2. Prioritise your key information by size
I like to think of key pieces of information on a poster as ‘billings’. The more important the piece of information is, the higher/bigger billing it gets. Typically the order would be as follows:
- Show title – top billing
- Production venue – second billing
- Production dates – third billing
- Booking information – fourth billing
- All other information – smallest billing
Think about the way you look at posters when you’re out and about. The first question you’re answering is ‘What is this production’, then you’re answering ‘Where’, ‘When’, and ‘How do I book?’. Then everything else is bonus information. This is especially important for roadside posters and posters in busy areas where people may only glance at the poster for a few seconds – what’s the information you want them to remember most? It’s probably the show title and venue.
3. Make sure your font is legible
A key rule of design is never to sacrifice function for beauty. Ensuring that all of the information on your poster is legible is your number 1 priority. There are two main factors that can effect this:
Font – choosing the right font is often key because while curvy and extravagant fonts can look nice up close on a computer, they often sacrifice legibility as you get further away. I always zoom out a lot when I’m designing posters to make sure the design is both functional and beautiful!
Contrast – when picking colours for your writing, try to contrast them as much as possible from the background colour. If you want to test out how much contrast there is on an image or poster, simply turn on black and white mode, where you’ll get a clear view of contrasts on your design.
4. Use negative space
Negative space is the space around objects on the poster and writing. You can use it to your advantage when you’re designing a poster to help emphasise where the eye of the looker is drawn when it sees a poster. If every space on the page is filled with text and information, then it’s too much for a person to take in any of the important information you want them to remember. I’d advise that you want to leave negative space on around 1/3 to 1/2 of your page.
5. Make your booking information clear and easy to understand
Lots of pantomime posters I’ve seen tend to add unnecessary information to the booking information section of the poster. Here’s the information you actually need to include:
- Box Office Telephone
- Box Office Website
That’s it – everything else on top is mostly filler and is not information you need to give to people looking at your poster. If they look at your poster and want to find out more, they will go to the website for full details.
These tips will help you avoid the pitfalls of poster design and make sure your audience knows just how brilliant your show is going to be! You can find a collection of my pantomime posters available to purchase alongside my scripts here. Have your own tips? I’d love to hear them, just drop me a line.