The advent of the digital age has brought professional-looking, custom posters within the budget of even the smallest business. However, your results will, in large part, depend on the quality of the artwork and image that you send for custom printing. To get the most for your printing dollar, be sure to follow these five tips:
1. Check the copyright. If you're going to use your poster for any commercial purpose, you need to make sure that your image is copyright free. Of course, images you take yourself are fine. So are images that you pay someone to take and assign you the copyright. However, you need to be careful with artwork and photographs that you get over the Internet. Images that are more than 100 years old and/or that are taken by an employee of the U.S. government are in the so-called "public domain" and free of copyright restrictions. For images from stock photo sites and sites like Flickr and WikiCommons, you need to choose images that have a Creative Commons license that's okay for commercial use.
2. Choose the right size image. The higher the resolution (i.e.the more pixels in the image), the sharper it will appear on the poster. Many images on the Internet just aren't large enough to provide a professional-looking image on your custom poster. Aim for an image that is no smaller than it will appear on the poster. You can make the image a little smaller without compromising the quality, but enlarging it will cause it to blur.
3. Consider the background. If you are printing on a white background, keep in mind that any white border or other elements of the image will blend in with the background.
4. Limit the graphics. It's understandable to want to get the most information on your poster as possible. However, too many graphics will make your poster look busy and hinder the viewer from absorbing the information. Better to focus on just one or two aspects of your event or marketing campaign.
5. Avoid generic images. You know the ones, the pictures of the perfect office couple leaning over a computer monitor. Most of these images look fake and make your poster seem less than professional and less than sincere. Better to take your own photos.
Choosing just the right image for your custom poster doesn't have to be complicated. Just make sure that the image you use doesn't have a copyright associated with it, that it's the right size and that it's unique to your project.