How to Create a Propaganda Poster

by Filonia LeChat

Whether you’re interested in rallying troops for the next recruitment effort or just appreciate the artistic style of propaganda posters, mimic the style dating back to World War I with a computer design software program. Propaganda posters featured bright colors, thick, easy-to-read text (with short, quick phrases) and detailed artistic designs of military personnel, civilians and battle efforts. Try your hand at creating your own propaganda poster with a couple of clicks through one of a couple of different computer programs.

Using Paint

1

Open Paint, click “Image” and select “Attributes.” Set your preferred poster dimensions, such as a standard frame size of 18 inches by 24 inches, or 24 inches by 36 inches. Click the “OK” button.

2

Give the poster an eye-catching background by double-clicking a bright color from the “Color Picker” at the bottom of the screen. Click the “Paint Bucket” tool, then click inside the white space of the poster, which fills with color.

3

Click the “Paintbrush” tool, select the large square brush head below it and a black or brown paint color. Draw the outline of a battleship, fighter plane, American flag, person saluting or other object. Click back to the “Paint Bucket” and click inside the outline to fill it with color.

4

Click the “Pencil” tool, change paint colors and add more designs to the drawing. Switch paint colors and brushes/pencils as preferred.

5

Select a vibrant paint color such as yellow or red and click the “Text” tool, which looks like an “A.” Click onto the poster, then select a bold font such as Arial Black or Gill Sans Ultra Bold, and a large font size. Type the poster message, such as “Vote Today” or “Don’t Drive Drunk.” Add another line of text if preferred.

6

Pull down the "File" menu and click "Save As." Name the file "PropagandaPoster" and select a place to save it to, such as your desktop. Click "Save."

Using Photoshop

1

Open Photoshop, click “File” and select “New.” Name the file “PropagandaPoster” and set your preferred dimensions, such as 18 inches by 24 inches, then click the “OK” button. A large box appears on the screen. Pull down the “File” menu again and navigate to a photo or image on your computer to use for the poster. Double-click the image and it appears in the Photoshop workspace.

2

Click the “Lasso” tool on the “Tools” palette and trace an outline around the part of the image to use for the poster. When the blinking lines appear, press the “Ctrl” and “C” keys on your keyboard to copy it. Click back to the “PropagandaPoster” box and press “Ctrl” and “V” to paste in the image.

3

Click the “Type” tool, which looks like a “T,” and select a font, size, color and position from the text toolbar at the top of the page. Position your cursor over the white space of the poster box and type the poster’s headline. Add additional text, changing font appearance, as preferred.

4

(Optional) Click the “Background” layer on the “Layers” palette on the right side of the screen. Double-click the “Color Picker,” which is the two overlapping colored squares on the “Tools” palette. Select a vibrant, eye-catching color for the poster’s backdrop. Click “OK.” Click the “Paint Bucket” tool, then click inside the white space of the poster, which fills with color.

5

Click the “File” menu, select “Save As” and choose a destination, such as your desktop, to store the poster.

Using Publisher

1

Open Publisher and click “Blank Publications.” Double-click the “Poster” option, which automatically sets your image size to 18 inches by 24 inches. To change the size, pull down the “File” menu, click “Page Setup” and type in the new dimensions.

2

Pull down the “Insert” menu, click “Picture” and select “Clip Art.” Pull down the “Results should be” menu and check the “Photographs” box for a realistic poster, the “Clip Art” box for a cartoonish poster or both for the most results. Type a word or phrase, such as “battleship,” “soldier” or “fighter” into the “Search for” box and click “Go.”

3

Scroll through the results and double-click an image for it to appear on the Publisher workspace. Grab a corner and drag it to resize the image so it fills most of the size of the poster.

4

Click the “Insert WordArt” tool, which looks like a tilting capital “A” on the very left of the screen. Select a letter style for the poster headline, such as brass or chrome, then type the poster headline. Click “OK” and position the headline on the poster. Repeat to add more text.

5

(Optional) Click the “Publication Designs” link on the “Publication Designs” pane on the left side of the screen. Scroll through the poster background and frame images, such as stars, blocks, arcs and stripes. Double-click an option and it automatically appears on the poster’s background, behind your text and image. Click the “File” menu and select “Save As,” then name your poster and set a destination for it on your computer.

Tip

  • check Most basic, inexpensive home printers can’t handle printing anything larger than a standard sheet of 8.5-inch by 11-inch copy paper. If you plan to print your propaganda poster after you’ve created it, you’ll need to save the files either to your computer and email them to a copy and print shop, or save them to a flash drive and bring them in to a printer.

Items you will need

About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.