Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday Tip No. 31 - How To Do Posters

Someone once said: "A poster should have no more than seven words on it."

That person made a schoolboy error.

You see, a poster should have NO words on it. None at all.

I really mean it.


Because a poster is not like TV, where the consumer is sitting on the sofa in his underpants, eating cheese & onion crisps, looking directly at your adverts.

No one is looking at a poster unless you make them.

Now if you want to catch a fish, you need a hook. And if you want to catch an eye, you need an image.

Crucially, an image of something people have never seen before.

So far so good. But the problem is - a logo is going to go on this poster, maybe a packshot, maybe an endline, maybe a web address or a phone number (who ever wrote down a phone number while they were travelling in a moving vehicle?)

In a way, there is already too much distracting shit on your poster before you even sit down to write it.

So make life easy on yourself, and accept that you cannot have a headline.

You just can't.

There's one exception. You can have just a headline, and strip away everything else. However, these nearly always end up being compromised when the client says it looks boring and wants you to add a background. So use carefully.

Tip No.30 - Look At Weird Shit
Tip No.29 - Presenting To The Client
Tip No.28 - Presenting To The Team
Tip No.27 - Presenting To The Creative Director
Tip No.26 - How To Deal With Rejection
Tip No.25 - Look Creative
Tip No.24 - Don't Be Afraid To Ask
Tip No.23 - Your Idea Has To Be 120%
Tip No.22 - Read Iain's Tips
Tip No.21 - Don't Behave
Tip No.20 - How To Discuss Ideas
Tip No.19 - Read Hugh's Tips
Tip No.18 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part IV - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job
Tip No.17 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part III - How To Approach Agencies (re-print of Tip No. 7)
Tip No.16 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part II - How To Put A Book Together
Tip No. 15 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part I - FAQ
Tip No. 14 - Make Friends With Traffic
Tip No. 13 - Get Reference
Tip No. 12 - Don't Stop Too Soon
Tip No.11 - Be Very
Tip No.10 - Breaking Up
Tip No.9 - Working Well With Your Partner
Tip No.8 - Finding The Right Partner
Tip No.7 - How To Approach Agencies
Tip No.6 - Never-Seen-Before Footage
Tip No.5 - Dicketts' Finger
Tip No.4 - Two Blokes In The Pub
Tip No.3 - Play Family Fortunes
Tip No.2 - Should You Take A Bad Job?
Tip No.1 - Don't Overpolish


Lunar BBDO said...

Do you think the consumption of posters has changed, or were the 'classics' of 10-15 years ago (Hello Boys, '66 Was A Great Year, Reg and Al, Behind Every Great Goalkeeper) wrongly feted?

You have one hour. You may start writing now.

Scamp said...

May I answer your question with another question?

Which is the better Nike poster - "Behind every great goalkeeper is a ball from Ian Wright" or, the recent Wayne Rooney one?

I like both, but I think the Wayne Rooney one is better, mostly because it's quicker and more visceral. It has zero words compared to the other's ten.

Lunar BBDO said...

I can't answer that question objectively because I loved Ian Wright in his playing days and I can't stand Wayne Rooney (who loves scoring against Arsenal).

If, however, I was a neutral I'd probably prefer St Wayne, for the reasons you suggest.

I think the point I didn't make very well is that great posters can still have words. That there King Kong one and the one with the cops hiding behind the Nissan or whatever it was still needed 'small but tough' and didn't suffer for it.

But, to agree wholeheartedly with your point, if you could have signed off those two posters with just a logo, then that would indeed have been better.

Anonymous said...

Cantona was better than either of those two. It had such a fantastic twist in the headline. I'm afraid I think your rules for doing posters are wrong. There shouldn't be any rules for doing any ads. Especially these days

Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

Lunar, that was for the VW Polo.
Good points, I agree about the Rooney one. Though those Nike poster ads were short and to the point with their text.

There was also a great one around the olympics for their running shoes "Ever heard the Ethiopian national anthem? You will."

Anonymous said...

Scamp, I don't mean to be rude, but unless my watch is wrong, it is now 11.15ish and you haven't updated your blog yet. Are you away today or busy being a Creative Diector?

Come on!

Lunar BBDO said...


Yes. I know that ad was for VW Polo. I was making a joke. Did you know Scamp was responsible for it? That was the joke. Ha ha ha etc.

And it was the Algerian national anthem that Nike suggested we'd soon be hearing, not the Ethiopian one.


Anonymous said...

I feel the same about web sites.

Anonymous said...

How come advertising in todays D&AD Annuals, is mainly image led. If there is copy, its one sentence which is very small. Where as if you looked at earlier annuals, typography and heavy copy was prevalent. Can someone tell me, is this just a trend in art direction or is there another reason?

Anonymous said...

Please tell me where I can get a copy of 'behind every great goalkeeper there's a ball from Ian Wright' I had an A3 from a shoot! magazine but lost it. Please help me find a copy!