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Posters and billboards: the essentials at a glance

In this section of Red Dot 21, we present the most beautiful posters and billboards in advertising, social projects and for events. For a long time, posters were the most effective means of bringing a message to the general public. Today, we may be able to use many other means for the same purpose, but obviously posters have lost none of their appeal or charm as we find them everywhere – in buildings, in the urban landscape, in all countries and cultures. And all posters have one major thing in common: they are eye-catching, awaken our curiosity and attract attention with any means possible regardless of whether they are providing information on an event, promoting a new album, highlighting the bad state of affairs in parts of the world, making people aware of upcoming elections, extolling the virtues of a special offer or trying to sell a perfume. Probably, the most important task when designing a poster is to achieve a focus in order to get straight to the point of the poster’s message. When our gaze wanders over a poster, we decide within a split second whether to look at it again as something has caught our attention, perhaps because it is particularly beautiful, provocative, courageous or self-explanatory. That can be achieved with the help of photos or illustrations, through symbols, colours, contrasts or typography and is, incidentally, also the reason why billboards or advertising columns can produce a sense of vertigo as their clamour for our attention is so strident. If they achieve their goal and obtain our full attention we, on our part, tend to want to know as quickly as possible what the poster is actually all about and may also want to find further important information quickly without having to read through the small print. That is why posters should also be carefully tailored to their target audience and should display a clear visual hierarchy that guides the eye from information to information.

The image gallery of outstanding posters

Here we reveal what a poster has to offer in order to also sway the jury of the Red Dot Award: Communication Design. Posters that were able to captivate our jurors must not only be outstanding from a graphic point of view. They must also demonstrate that the designer has fully grasped the subject of the poster and has translated it sensibly in the true sense of the word. That requires the design quality of a poster to be the expression of the alluring or intelligent idea that is at the heart of everything else. For there are a large number of amazing posters, but only few manage to transcend their own limitations and touch the viewer emotionally or fix themselves in his or her memory.
Here, in the Poster & Billboard category on Red Dot 21, we introduce you to fascinating examples from around the world. Take a look for yourself and see which of these design objects catch your eye and whether you can follow the jury’s decision. It is also interesting to see how the style of posters differs depending on the country or continent of origin. We are sure that you will discover a few true works of art that you can also picture on a wall at home. We hope you will enjoy browsing.