Eye-catching vs. Eyesore

Sometimes less is more, especially in posters. They have to be interesting, quickly catch the eye of anyone walking past them intent on beating the rush to Starbucks or whatever, but at the same time the person glancing at them has be able to quickly read whatever information is there. Even if there’s a lot of information to cover, it shouldn’t all be jammed together so you can’t read it, (like those 4×6 flyers people pass out for parties on campus. “Neon” style letters are pretty much never the way to go). But there are exceptions to every rule. Here are some examples of what I’d call too much and just right.


Terre en Anatolie

(ABOVE) I really like this design. Even though there’s a lot going on, the designer uses the color palette to emphasize what’s important and lets some of the other features recede until the second look, like the cool dirigible figures that are lightly drawn in the background.

"Immerse Your Soul In Love"

This poster (above) reminds me of a water damaged Lisa Frank sticker I had on the back of my phone. I like the washed-out, more muted colors, even though they’re still bright enough to be eye-catching. I couldn’t read the text at all, but that’s okay because I’m pretty sure this is an inspirational-type poster for hip 12-year-olds to put on their walls and stare at when they get grounded.

DJ Andy Smith and Portishead

(ABOVE) This is a common poster design. Step 1: make simple background, Step 2: slap on information, Step 3: draw exciting things around the letters. Pretty, but also pretty lazy in my opinion; its been done too many times before. Its a shame, because the work its based off of is totally awesome. The musicians’ names make it look like a show I’d hate to miss, but the poster has the light on with nobody home.


PLAY: This design also has a lot going on, but unlike “DJ Andy Smith”, its crowded with a purpose. This design is both simple and complex at the same time. This designer has hit the magical balancing act that snags your eye quickly, then makes you want to stare at it forever because the human eye loves puzzles like this. Amazingly, I think this is a mock movie-type poster for a design collective. Best calling card I’ve ever seen.

These posters and others can be found on this list. Go check out a few more and decide for yourself if they’re titillating or just a headache.

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