7 junio, 2024

Cartel: what it is, characteristics, parts, examples, types, elements

We explain what a poster is, its characteristics, parts, elements, types and several examples.

What is a poster?

He sign It is a public notice intended to provide information that can be quickly assimilated, a combination of words and images placed on paper, metal, plastic or even electronic or digital formats.

The word poster comes from the Provencal signand this one from Italian posterterm derived from Latin chart, which can be translated as “paper”, and also as a billboard: notices that were posted in public places.

A billboard can be either a sign indicating the emergency exit, or even a poster of a concert, full of images and data about musical groups, locations and times.

We live surrounded by signs of various kinds and intentions, those that indicate directions, regulations (“don’t step on the grass”) and advertising, among others.

Poster Features

informative intent

All the posters, beyond their other functions or intentions, are informative in nature, they offer information to those who read them.


Generally the posters are designed with few elements, to be able to be deciphered quickly. They transmit information with the fewest possible elements.

easy understanding

The posters are generally designed to be easy and quick to understand, since they are almost always placed in places where people are on the move.


They are placed in such a way that they can be seen by the greatest number of people, either on public roads or inside shops, offices and other spaces. To facilitate this visibility, it is common to use large letters, colors and striking designs.


To attract attention and to be able to fulfill its objective, the elaboration of a poster requires the use of creativity and imagination.

Use of symbols and codes

Signs often use easy-to-understand symbols and codes, even internationally intelligible. For example, a sign with a AND capital letter crossed by a dash, means «no parking» in many countries and cultures.

Its elements form a whole

A poster can contain only one word or phrase, but those that combine images and text in an integral design are more frequent. In a good poster all the elements are integrated, they form a whole.

poster functions


The fundamental function of a sign is to effectively transmit certain information: notify the driver that a curve is approaching, tell us that a certain brand of milk is better, or that we can only pass that door if we are employees.


Most of the billboards we see on a daily basis try to convince us to buy something, attend


They are those posters that transmit information about health (symptoms of infectious diseases, for example), that in natural parks provide us with information about vegetation, fauna and the landscape that we contemplate, and that display the work of students on school billboards .


The posters have an instructive function when they indicate the steps to follow in certain processes, such as what to do if a passenger plane has problems, or how to prepare to donate blood, or how to use a fire extinguisher.


It is said that a sign is normative when it indicates a prohibition (“do not pass”, “do not step on the grass”), or indicates a regulation, like the one we see on billboards in condominiums, or in hotel rooms.

artistic or aesthetic

When their design is elaborated, the posters also fulfill an artistic function, sometimes unintentionally. Old posters are sought after by collectors and currently in various cities around the world cultural posters are placed, with poems, phrases or works of art, in order to make public spaces more attractive.

Environmental or urban

Billboards facilitate the movement of cities, in outdoor and indoor spaces, and are an integral part of the environment.

Parts of a poster

A sign can have only one element, such as one word (“Stop”), or have several, such as billboards. Usually the parts of a poster are:

Qualification: informs the general content of the poster, if it is a regulation, the brand of a product or the title of a play, or the name of a musician.
Graphic, image or illustration: includes the image, illustration or photograph of the poster, as well as the graphic elements of its design (lines, icons, etc.).
Text: is the main information on the poster: rules, instructions, schedules, etc.
slogan or motto: they are present in advertising and political posters; catchy phrases to be linked to the product or to the political entity, such as “Nothing tastes better!”, “He is a people”, and other similar ones.
credits: Provides information about the authors of the poster, the company or institution that ordered it done and, sometimes, those who participated in its creation: creatives, designers, etc.

Elements of a poster

In a poster there can be at least four elements: words, images, a way to place words and images (design), and the material where it is placed (support).


Depending on the size of the poster and its function, the size of the letter and the typography (its shape), will range from small (as in the regulations) to very large (“SLOW”).


Images or graphics can go to the side or in the background, behind the text. There are signs, such as traffic signs, where there is only the image (arrows, zigzag lines, jumping deer, etc.).


The integration of the image with the text and with the shape and size of the poster is what we call design, and it is key for the poster to be effective and work as a whole.


It is the material in which the poster is made: paper, cardboard, plastic, acrylic, metal, etc. There are electric ones, made with neon tubes and, in recent years, digital ones (those we see through the screens of computers and mobile phones).

poster types

Posters are classified according to their function or objective, but it must not be forgotten that a poster intended for advertising can also be informative, and have an artistic value (as occurs with posters for bullfights, or rock concerts, or of plays).

Informative sign

Although all signs convey information, there are those whose sole function is precisely to inform: urban and interurban traffic signs; those that indicate emergency exits or location of fire extinguishers, those that indicate schedules, etc.

advertising posters

They are all those posters whose main objective is to persuade people to buy something (food, clothing, housing, perfumes, etc.), or to favor someone, as in government advertising.

Regulatory posters

We call normative posters those that imply some kind of prohibition or that establish rules of use or conduct. From signs prohibiting walking on the grass or entering with pets, to the regulations of what you can do in a condominium or in a public spa.

aesthetic posters

Posters can be of an artistic nature or have aesthetic value, when they are deliberately made with that intention (such as museum or concert posters), or when they recall earlier times and are sought after by collectors (art nouveau posters, bullfighting or movie posters). , etc.)

protest posters

The protest posters, those that we see in demonstrations, often made by hand, have a clear political intention to demonstrate against or in favor of some public or social event.

Poster Examples

traffic notices: traffic signals (curve, double track, stop, etc.), signs that indicate distances from towns and cities, or that recommend caution, etc.

show posters: concerts, plays, movies, dance or ballet performances, and other cultural performances.
neon signs: names of places, indications of exit or restrooms, etc.

Posters with ordinances and regulations: posters with rules of use in parks, swimming pools or other public spaces.

Advertising posters: paper billboards, or electronic billboards (such as those for soft drinks). Election campaign posters.

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