7 Types of Posters and What Makes Them Stand Out


Digital posters, advertising posters, event posters, political posters, campaign posters, movie posters, formative posters, infomercial posters, fashion posters; the list goes on and on (but don’t worry, here at Piktochart, we’ll cover them all!)
You’ve seen different types of posters everywhere, from huge promotional posters plastered on the sides of buildings to more subtle digital posters included as email attachments.

While there’s a myriad of different types of posters, and they all are varied in terms of themes and designs, they are all united in their goal to make eye-catching posters.

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of all the diverse types of posters, running the gamut from advertising to travel posters, and find out what makes such posters unique; to inspire you with some examples.

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Different types of posters:

1. Advertising Posters

What are they?

Brands of varying sizes typically use ad posters, also known as infomercial posters, for promotional purposes.

These different types of posters are often used to champion a cause with a catchy tagline and singular focus.

Either way, ad posters are designed to be heavy hitters in terms of sparking emotion in the viewer to incite action – whether it is to make a purchase, improve brand opinion, donate to a cause, or even make a lifestyle change.

Why are these types of posters special?

Unlike other posters, which are usually more forthcoming in their goals, advertising ones are designed to house subliminal messages, laden with symbolism, and meant to provoke, inspire, and even distress.

In short, if an ad poster is well-designed, it’s impossible to feel neutral about it. Compared to other types of posters, ad posters are typically designed to have a “wow factor” and can be hilariously funny or undeniably persuasive.

nike advertisement poster, good ad poster examples

For example, the message that this Nike ad is trying to convey is to “stand out.”

heinz ad poster, innovative ad examples of marketing posters

The above example says that your steak and fries will taste like cardboard if you don’t bring Heinz into the mix. 

nescafe ad poster, creative ad poster examples

This Nescafe ad campaign poster suggests that with a good cup of coffee, your z’s (which symbolize sleepiness) will perk up.

topgear ad poster, informative ad poster examples

This final cleverly designed poster from TopGear magazine conveys the message that driving and social media shouldn’t mix and can be deadly. 

2. Informative Types of Posters

What are these types of posters?

Informative posters are exactly what they sound like – one-pager educational poster ideas that serve well to inform.
They can vary in design with unique ideas, as some will look like infographics while others contain just visuals, but their goal remains the same across the board.

An informative or educational poster will always contain a multitude of factual information to educate the viewer as much as possible and attract customers or attention in our fast-paced society.

Why are these types of posters special?

Unlike other posters, informative posters will always be fact-based and help viewers become more data-informed.

Compared to other visuals where viewers can skim and move on, readers of informative posters usually stay awhile to educate themselves.

However, unlike research posters, which we’ll discuss later in the article, informative posters don’t require any background knowledge of the subject and are generally created to educate the layman.

These quality posters can also be more fun and whimsical in comparison.

informative ad poster, function creative ad poster

From Function Creative comes the ultimate coffee brewing guide through a quality poster design, including instructions and the different equipment.

pop chart lab ad poster, how to create an informative poster

From Pop Chart Lab comes a unique informative poster showing 282 rap names based on semantics. 

co design ad poster, moon poster, thematic ad poster examples

An incredible infographic from Co.Design that details every trip to the moon ever.

3. Affirmation or Motivational Posters

What are these types of posters?

Affirmation or motivational posters are one-pagers that have the sole purpose of inspiring.

These posters feature motivational quotes or clever, catchy copy represented with large and bold typography overlayed on inspirational background images that work to tug on the heartstrings of the viewer.

These different types of posters are always positive and aim to make the viewer feel good.

Why are these types of posters special? 

Unlike other types of posters, like social posters or show posters that serve up information in either a bite-sized or longer format, affirmation, and motivational posters aim to incite mainly positive emotions in the viewer through a bold artistic style. 

These types of one-pagers are used as pieces of art, which some folks will feature in their homes or offices, or as tools to help people improve their lives and can be referenced repeatedly. 

motivational ad poster examples

This affirmation poster from inspires viewers by reminding them that failure is never final. Plus, the large image used for the background image of the lion symbolizes strength and courage.

minimalist motivational poster, bayart ad poster

This minimalist motivational poster from BayArt reminds viewers that they should aspire for more. To be more than a big fish in a small pond.

impactful motivational poster, how to make a motivational ad poster

This impactful motivational poster reminds viewers to live life to the fullest.

4. Movie Posters

What is it?

Fairly self-explanatory, but the movie poster is used to advertise or promote a film and serves as the cover of all promotional materials within the film’s marketing campaign. 

These basic ad posters have a very important job of piquing the viewer’s interest and search for the trailer as well as going to see the feature film, so in short, the movie poster has a high-stakes role.

What makes these types of posters special?

Movie posters are a part of the ad poster family, but they stand out because their purpose is a little more focused, and their message is much clearer. It exists to create buzz around an upcoming film or allow the viewer to make a decision towards buying tickets to see one currently in theatres. 

More importantly, movie posters are designed to contain as many elements from the film as possible. 

blade runner poster, descriptive movie poster examples

This movie poster of Blade Runner 2049 encompasses many elements from the film. 

All four main characters are present, holding guns which shows it’s an action movie, all against a neon futuristic city backdrop.

martian poster, appealing movie posters

This movie poster of The Martian is also well-designed as it is enticing.

It’s clear that the movie is about space exploration gone awry. 

If Matt Damon isn’t enough to get you scurrying to the cinema, then certainly the tagline “Help is only 140 million miles away” will.

lord of the rings poster, fellowship of the ring, authentic poster examples

The movie poster for ‘Fellowship of the Ring’ includes all the main characters, as well as some supporting. 

The costumes also clue fans of the trilogy into how authentic the film’s representation of the book will be.  

5. Event Posters

What is it?

Event posters are also rather self-explanatory. They exist to promote events, meaning drum up buzz and awareness for an upcoming event, and also to offer up bite-sized information and a little call-to-action. 

If done right, event posters will have an aesthetic and psychological appeal that can build anticipation for your event and pique the interest of would-be attendees to learn more from your website.

Why are these types of posters special?

Event posters stand out because the poster’s design needs to be able to quickly and effortlessly tell the viewer what they can expect from the event, so the elements on the poster have to match the theme and mood. 

This is because the poster has to do the important job of business promotion, or “selling” the event, while also attracting the ideal audience. These assets can be digital posters used for social media platforms and websites or used in printed form (i.e., when you see event posters hanging from bulletin boards).

event poster examples

This event poster on food and film represents the dual theme of the festival cleverly, with Charlie Chaplin’s bowler hat doubling as a cloche – revealing a single film negative. 

Plus, the bright pink is attention-grabbing and will surely draw in those with a flair for drama.

clever event poster examples

This event poster on an upcoming night market cleverly uses a string of lights and a gradient as a backdrop to create a relaxed yet playful mood at sundown.

The whimsical typography used also contributes to a youthful mood, as this poster is likely looking to attract a younger crowd.

typographic poster examples

This event poster uses mainly typography, with some design accents to create an elegant, Art Deco-Esque mood. 

The color palette of navy blue, gold, and white promises attendees an evening of old-timey decadence.  

6. Travel Posters

What is it?

Before the days of social media, where people could not quickly scroll through a feed and marvel at the beauty of a destination, there were travel posters.

They aim to inspire viewers to see the world and are also used by travel agencies and airlines to promote their services.

This is why all the travel poster examples are primarily vintage collectibles, with modern versions mimicking the originals’ art deco / modernist style.

What makes these types of posters special?

Travel posters are unique because they’re one of the few posters that can embody timelessness while still being modern at the same time.
They also have the primary goal of inspiring luxurious wanderlust in their viewers, encompassing only the most attractive elements of a destination – usually a key landmark.
Moreover, a travel poster has the significant job of capturing the most beautiful, quintessential moments of its destination.

aesthetic travel posters, venice tourism poster

This poster of Venice, Italy, encapsulates the essence of the City of Water – with its striped mooring poles and gondoliers. 

descriptive travel posters, porto tourism poster

This travel poster of Porto, Portugal, captures the city’s essence. Colorful houses, the tin-glazed ceramic tilework, and of course, a glass of port.

miami tourism poster, minimalist travel poster

This more modern travel poster design depicts Miami, Florida, as a lively, active, beachy destination with towering palm trees swaying in the breeze.  

7. Research Posters

What is it?

The academic community typically uses research posters to display their findings at conferences.

Such posters are text and data-heavy but also leverage charts, graphs, and other data visualizations to get their point across.

Why are these types of posters special?

Unlike informative posters, research posters are made to spread awareness with an intended message, are more severe, frequently contain technical jargon, and are created specifically for a target audience with background knowledge of the topic. 

They’re also the most text-heavy of all educational posters and require much more time and attention from the viewer. 

research poster, data analytics visualization

This research poster design looks into how micro and macro mosquito behavior factors affect how malaria spreads worldwide.

The above visual provides an excellent example of how educational posters can contain much information while still catching the intended viewer’s eye.

thematic research poster, india data poster

This beautifully-designed research poster looks into the tough issues of consent and reproductive health within marriages in India, raising awareness through visual representations. 

extinction research poster, impactful data viz, impactful data visualization

This research poster uses data visualizations, creating awareness to communicate the sobering truth of animal species that have gone extinct, or ones that will soon. 

Wrapping Up

There are certainly a handful of different types of moving posters with varying goals.

Whether it’s to tap into the emotions of the viewer or target audience, inspire towards a call to action, inform, and educate – there’s no doubt that a poster is a small but mighty communication medium to get the point across.

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Robin Geuens

Robin Geuens is a writer turned SEO specialist. When he's not wondering what Google is up to next he's either reading, taking courses, playing video games, or wondering where to travel to next.

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