Jump into this roundup of some of the most creative and challenging vector poster design tutorials on the web. There is a large assortment of styles and approaches here to review, from spacey psychedelic poster design, to geometrically influenced poster design, to robotic stomping power, to retro aesthetics and more. Check out these inspiring poster design tutorials.
Veerle Pieters shows us how to create a strong geometric central poster design, which utilizes flowing blends, masked shapes, and subtle gradients, to create a sophisticated final work. She covers each step of creating this work in detail and uses a quick workflow that uses tools like Smart Guides to speed things up. Veerle’s work always has a distinctive look and feel, while using geometric beauty and bright colors to their fullest.
To celebrate the third birthday of Chris Spooner’s blog Spoon Graphics, he created a limited edition poster design. He shows a detailed walkthrough of the design process. The concept behind the design is based on the number three, and carried out with a triangle vector pattern made in Illustrator. The final result is polished in Photoshop with some light effects.
Veteran poster designer Tom Whalen shows us how to create a rampaging robot poster made of a combination of type and shapes. Learn how he uses Illustrator tools such as the Pattern Brush to speed up is workflow, as well as tools like the Free Transform tool to place shapes at angles that retreat into space – adding dimensionally. In addition to numerous tips you can follow along with this advanced Vector Premium tutorial to learn a solid poster design workflow.
This creative poster design tutorial by Von Glichka is from 2008, but the overall artistic process is timeless. His thorough concept sketching with layered vellum approach is awesome. Having your artwork refined in analog before jumping into digital can improve your workflow. This Poster in Illustrator is made with a very similar process to his current work and it’s was created for Adobe. For those of you that were in love with Freehand, you may get a little misty-eyed reading this.
This tutorial is inspired by Sheppard Fairey’s famous political poster series for the Obama campaign in the US. We’ll be showing you how to create this style of poster design. We’ll start with basic image editing techniques in Photoshop to get our guide layers setup, and then we’ll jump into Illustrator. You don’t need any fancy equipment to follow this workflow.
In this tutorial, Fabio Sasso shows you how to create an art deco inspired poster design with references from US TV and film studio branding of the 40′s and 50′s. Learn how Fabio uses CS5′s Perspective Grid tool to set up the building in this design. Discover the fonts he chooses and how he takes all the vector elements into Photoshop to color and texture.
Chris Spooner shows how to create a trendy, geometric poster design. In this beginner tutorial you’ll learn how to crete three dimensional cubes in Illustrator, color with gradients, and position with perfect alignment into a repeating pattern. Some Photoshop textures, color casts, and highlights finish off this poster design.
This Vector Premium tutorial is based on a client project Neal McCullough created. In it you’ll learn how to add a little Art Deco glamour to your illustrated poster designs by making subtle use of the Gradient and Transparency palettes in Illustrator CS4, as well as introducing an aged paper feel with clever use of texture resource files. This tutorial mostly uses bold retro shapes to compose the illustration, gradients are used quite a bit and a few areas have added pizzaz added with reflections, the use of blends, and various transparencies.
Strong, simple shapes make up this colorful poster design by Danilo Rodrigues. This symmetrical artwork uses numerous 3-D shapes created with Illustrator’s 3D Extrude and Bevel. The vector elements are then taken into Photoshop where photography and texture is added to unify the design and bring together this Retro-Futuristic inspired poster.
Gordon Reid shows us how to create a retro flavored poster, inspired by a 50′s and 60′s aesthetic. Walk step-by-step through the process of preparing stock images for compositing, lighting, coloring and texturing the design. The vector part of this tutorial is mostly in the creation of various complementary design elements, as well as a triangular based grid.
In this tutorial Simona Pfreundner shows the inspired Adobe Illustrator artist how to create a retro style poster design. Learn how to create shapes by using the Pathfinder tools, by joining paths, and by applying graphic patterns. Also learn to take advantage of the Appearance Palette and have some fun with applying multiple strokes to objects.
Dave from GoMedia shows us how to create a gig poster using numerous stock elements and a crafty workflow. This tutorial has great results, requires no drawing skills, and is aimed at beginners. Learn how to roughly and quickly put together photo elements in Photoshop, which you then use Auto Trace in Illustrator to clean up. Add some trendy lines to scratchy elements, and other tips to compose this poster design.
Veteran designer Tom Whalen has a thorough approach to creating posters in Adobe Illustrator. He shows us how he starts with strong initial sketching and vision, and then uses numerous Illustrator tools to speed through his workflow. Tom shares some of his favorite tips in this tutorial. You’ll learn how to use Adobe Illustrator’s powerful editing capabilities to help you create dynamic, evolving works of your own in this advanced Vector Premium tutorial.
Ben The Illustrator shows us how to create one of his trademark poster designs saturated with bright colors. He covers the big poster design steps quickly here: showing his sketch, the basic use of the Pen Tool to create most of the shapes and houses, then he jumps into showing us some of the most powerful tools in Illustrator CS5. He shows the usefulness of the Variable Stroke-Width tool, improved dashed-line functions, new shape-building tools, and the functionality of the most exciting new perspective tools.
The period between the end of the 19th century and World War II is considered the golden age of the ocean liner. We’ll be starting with a basic sketch of an ocean liner Tijs Koelemeijer drew up, and use this as the basis to creating a classic poster design. The main tools you’ll get to know in this tutorial are the Pathfinder and the Transform Effect, as you walk through the process of creating a vintage poster design in Illustrator CS4.
In this tutorial, Simona Pfreundner explains how to create an illustrated poster design and how to set up our own crop marks in a few easy steps. This tutorial is aimed at the beginning Adobe Illustrator user. Jump in and learn to make this organic poster design.
Take a stroll through this poster design tutorial by Chris Spooner where he takes inspiration from the ZX Spectrum computer of the 80′s. Learn to create linear, rainbow-colored typography in Illustrator, and then finalize the poster design with watercolor brushes, layer effects, blending modes, and more in Photoshop.
Simon C Page explains how to create an Op-Art poster design with a style reminiscent of classic 1950s book covers. He shows how to use some tricks in Illustrator to set up the radiating square design, then how to create a basic script in Illustrator to color each of the hundreds of squares randomly – saving hours of time. The final poster design is laid out in InDesign CS5.
Learn how Zip Design creates a psychedelic-style gig poster design using Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. The poster design’s theme is based on a wild mix of cosmic imagery, strong patterns, egyptian art and has a P-Funk inspired feel. Learn step by step how to create the main elements of this design, from the use of stock, to font choice, custom drawn elements, and how to make it blend to fit the funky theme. You’ll also learn to use spot colors, including metallic Pantone colors, and how to set up a spot varnish to give the poster design a shiny finish.
Tim Boesel shows us how to take mostly GoMedia Arsenal stock elements and blend them into a stylish grunge feeling poster. You can of course design your own elements, or draw your own illustrations, and use these inspiring techniques as a jumping off point for your own poster design.
Von Glichka takes us through this Rock & Roll Hall of Fame poster design. Learn exacting methods for drawing tribal artwork, flames, and then vecotrizing, laying out the elements, as well as creating and adding texture.
In this tutorial Simona Pfreundner shows how to create a vinyl record with blends and opacity masks. Also learn how to create some funky pulsing elements, grunge typography, and put it together into a unique poster design.
Joseph Alessio shows how to create a fun toy airplane poster design suitable to adorn a young boy’s room. Much of this tutorial is made by creating shapes with the Pen and Pencil tools, then the Gradient tools to color. Learn to create a fun retro remote-control airplane illustration, then compose it into a poster design. While this tutorial uses the Pen tool quite a bit, it’s still a tutorial well suited for beginning Illustrator users.
Follow Chris Spooner as he creates a fun cartoon style poster, as a tribute to the character Sloth from the iconic tween movie “The Goonies.” He combines a quick character doodle, done right in Illustrator, with the Roughen Effect used to give the linework it’s sketchy hand-drawn feel. Some blocky text, a muted color palette, and some mixed in texture give this poster design it’s retro feel.
Poster Design Inspiration
If the above tutorials aren’t enough to satisfy your poster design needs, then check out the poster design inspiration below and be sure to read through our Creative Session on Poster Design here on Vectortuts+.
- Interview: Film Poster Art with Tyler Stout
- 50+ High-impact Illustrated Vector Posters
- Inspiration: 80+ Amazing WWII Allied Propaganda Posters
- Inspiration: 40 Typographic Posters
- 26 Inspirational Vector Posters from Creattica
- Interview with Tom Whalen of StrongStuff
- Milton Glaser on Using Design to Make Ideas New
- Fantastic Sci-Fi and Fantasy Movie Poster Inspiration, 1925 to 2010