Held on 15 October, Spirit Day is an opportunity for people across the world to show their support for LGBT youth and take a stand against bullying.
You can show your support by wearing purple, and taking a purple selfie! Upload your photo to Twitter or Instagram and tag your post with #spiritday and #envato. It’s as simple as that to show your support!
In celebration of Spirit Day we’ve put together this tutorial for you to create a cool typographic poster ready for printing and putting up in your home or office, to remind your friends and colleagues to take their own selfies of support as well. You can also download two versions of the completed poster to refer to and use! Simply download the attachment for this tutorial.
To create your own poster from scratch, you'll need access to Adobe InDesign, and the tutorial is suitable for beginner-to-intermediate users of the software. #SpiritDay!
1. Prepare Your Poster
If you have a long message to get across, typographic poster designs are a fantastic way of making a lot of information look attractive, punchy and memorable.
We’ll be setting up the poster at A3 size, which is a standard print size, easy for printing off on an office printer. But if you’d prefer a different size, you can simply scale up or down the final poster design when you come to export it as a PDF (see final step of the tutorial).
Get InDesign opened up, and choose Document from the Create New menu in the Welcome window. Or go to File > New > Document.
In the New Document window that opens, set the Intent to Print.
Keep the Number of Pages as just 1, and uncheck the Facing Pages box.
From the Page Size drop-down menu choose A3 (or set the Width to 297 mm and Height to 420 mm).
Increase the Margins on all sides to 25 mm, and then set the Bleed (click More Options if you can’t see the Bleed and Slug settings) to 3 mm on all sides.
Click OK to create your new document.
The best way to approach a typographic poster is to divide your page into rows, which allows you to structure your text content.
The full text for our poster will have about 30 words, which will need to be divided relatively evenly across the page.
To create a grid of rows, first make sure your rulers are visible (View > Show Rulers). From the top ruler, click and drag down a horizontal guide to Y position 51.4 mm.
To make sure your guide is perfectly placed, you can select the guide with your mouse, and type in the Y position value at the top left of the workspace.
Repeat the process from the previous step, dragging down more guides from the top ruler to the following Y positions:
- 70 mm
- 96 mm
- 122 mm
- 153.6 mm
- 183.5 mm
- 205 mm
- 245.3 mm
- 274 mm
- 301.5 mm
- 321.5 mm
- 337 mm
- 358.1 mm
Eventually, you’ll have a striped page, with 13 guides marking out irregular sized rows.
2. Put Together an Eclectic Font Book
How can you make typographic posters look hip and modern, not cluttered and outdated? The key lies in your choice of typefaces.
A varied mix of font styles, from classic serifs to novelty scripts, looks great paired together, particularly when you anchor the typography with solid, modern sans serifs.
For this poster, we’ll be using the fonts listed below. For future typographic projects, try and find a variety of fonts that fit within similar categories to create that perfect eclectic look.
Download and Install the following free fonts (you may find some, like Adobe Caslon Pro, are already installed in your InDesign font list):
Thin Sans Serif
Novelty and Glyphs
3. The Spirit Day Colors
Before you begin to typeset your poster, you can create a purple color palette, which you can use across the design.
Return to InDesign and your document. Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches).
Select the default [Black] swatch, and then choose New Color Swatch from the panel’s drop-down menu (accessible at the top-right corner of the panel).
Uncheck the Name with Color Value box and rename the swatch as Spirit Day Purple. Keep the Type as Process and the Mode as CMYK.
Set the CMYK values to C=81 M=99 Y=25 K=16, and click Add and then OK.
Repeat the process, creating a second new CMYK swatch, with the values C=86 M=100 Y=31 K=26. Name the swatch Spirit Day Dark Purple.
Click Add and OK, to return to the Swatches panel.
4. Build Up Typography on Your Poster
The best way to approach a typographic design is to start at the top and work your way down. Take your text in sections and design one section at a time.
So, our first phrase is ‘Take a Stand Against Bullying’. We can add this as one whole design at the top of the page.
Go to the Tools panel at the left side of the workspace and select the Type Tool (T).
Zoom in on the top-left corner of the page, and drag your type cursor onto the page to create a text frame about 108 mm in Width and 59 mm in Height. Sit the bottom of the text frame on the second guide down the page (at 70 mm).
Type ‘Take a’ and, from the Character Formatting Controls panel running along the top of the workspace, set the Font to Antonio Regular, Size 145 pt, All Caps and reduce the Tracking (space between the characters) to -30.
Place your cursor to the left of the final ‘a’ and reduce the Kerning to -60 to pull the ‘a’ in closer to ‘Take’.
Set the Font Color to Spirit Day Purple, either from the Swatches panel or from the controls panel at the top of the workspace. Reduce the Tint of the color to 65% by pulling the Tint slider to the left.
To the right of ‘Take’, create a new text frame using the Type Tool (T) and position it in the top-right corner of the page.
Type ‘Stand’ and set the Font to Nexa Rust Sans Black, Size 100 pt, Tracking to 30 and Font Color to Spirit Day Purple with an 85% Tint.
Make sure the baseline of the text sits on the top guide, at 51.4 mm.
Beneath ‘Take a’, create another text frame, and type ‘Against’ into the frame. Set the Font to Picadilly Regular, Size 66 pt, All Caps, Tracking -10 and Color to Spirit Day Purple with a 65% Tint.
In the remaining space, below ‘Stand’, create another text frame and type ‘Bullying’. Let the text fill the space by setting the text in a tall, thin font like Densia Sans Regular. Set the Font Size to 121 pt, All Caps, and the Color to Spirit Day Purple, Tint 75%.
Cap off the first phrase of your poster with a line, underlining the standout word of the phrase, ‘Stand’.
Choose the Line Tool (\), and, holding Shift, drag from left to right onto the page, under the word ‘Stand’.
Open the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke) and, with the line selected, increase the Weight of the stroke to 1.5 mm and choose Dashed (3 and 2) as the Stroke Type. Set the Color of the line to Spirit Day Purple, Tint 70%.
Now you have a completed first section on your poster. Great work!
We’re going to continue building up the typography in manageable chunks like this. This will also help the reader to digest the information in easy-to-read sections. We’re also going to help the reader by pulling out particularly important words in large sizes and darker purples.
Let’s keep going, and put together the next section down, which is going to read ‘and Take a Selfie’.
Below ‘Against’ take the Type Tool (T) and create a square text frame to the left side of the page.
Type in an ampersand, ‘&’, and set the Font to Adobe Caslon Pro Italic, Size 210 pt. Caslon has a lovely, decorative ampersand which is going to bring a bit of interest to the poster.
Set the Font Color of the ampersand to Spirit Day Purple, 75% Tint.
Move over to the right side of the page, adjacent to the ampersand.
Create a larger text frame that’s about 92 mm in Height and 133 m in Width. Type ‘Selfie’ and set the Font to Pacifico Regular, Size 149 pt, and Color to Spirit Day Purple, Tint 95%.
Place the baseline of the word ‘Selfie’ on the guide that sits at 153.6 mm.
Fill in the gap between ‘&’ and ‘Selfie’ with ‘take a’, set in Adobe Caslon Pro Italic, Size 66 pt, in Spirit Day Purple 60%, as shown below.
And below that, create another text frame. Open up the Glyphs panel (Window > Type & Tables > Glyphs) and, setting your type cursor in the text frame, set the Font to Nexa Rust Extras. Choose the right-pointing hand from the selection of glyphs in the panel, and double-click to insert. Increase the Font Size to 200 pt and change the Color to Spirit Day Purple 70%.
Fantastic! That’s another section done.
Move down the page. The next phrase will be ‘in your Purple Outfit’.
Group ‘in your’ together and set them in Lovato Light, Size 54 pt. Pull the Spirit Day Purple Tint down to 80%.
Set ‘Purple’ below ‘in your’ in a bolder Font, League Spartan Bold, All Caps, and set the Size to 51 pt. Increase the Spirit Day Purple Tint to 90% to make it stand out and look stronger.
Set ‘Outfit’ to the right of the page, in a large fuzzy Font like Alpha Echo, Size 142 pt, All Caps, and make the text tighter by reducing the Tracking to -40. Set the Color to Spirit Day Purple, Tint 75%.
Continue to move down the page. Create a large square text frame, and set the Font to Veneer Extras, Size 340 pt. Have your Glyphs panel open (Window > Type & Tables > Glyphs) and choose the left-pointing arrow from the selection of glyphs available. Set the Color to Spirit Day Purple, Tint 70%.
To rotate the text frame so the arrow points upwards, take your Selection Tool (V, Escape) and select the frame. Then Control-Click (Mac OS) or Right-Click (Windows) > Transform > Rotate 90 Degrees CCW.
Position so the arrow fits snugly to the left of the page, within the margin.
To the right of the arrow, create another text frame and type ‘Upload’. Set the Font to Digital Dream, Size 80 pt, and increase the Tracking to 20. Set the Color to Spirit Day Purple, Tint 85%.
Complete this section of the poster with ‘your photo’ set in Great Vibes, Size 110 pt; ‘to’ set in Nexa Rust Sans Black, Size 65 pt; ‘Twitter’ set in Picadilly Bold, Size 33 pt (and rotated CW); and finally a cute little bird glyph picked from the Veneer Extra selection and sized at 148 pt.
Set the Color of all the text to Spirit Day Purple, and vary the Tint a little to give a bit of variety.
The final section of the text instruction on the poster will read ‘or Instagram with #spiritday #envato’. We’ll continue to use the guides we placed earlier as guides for placing the section of text.
Set ‘or’ at small size and in Adobe Caslon Pro Italic. Set ‘Instagram’ in Lobster Regular, Size 89 pt, and Color to Spirit Day Purple, Tint 85%.
Place a cloud glyph taken from Veneer Extras, at Size 95 pt, in a small text frame above ‘Instagram’.
Set ‘with’ in Densia Sans, Size 51 pt, Tracking 70, All Caps, and rotated 90 Degrees CW, and position it in the center of the page.
To the right of ‘with’, set ‘#spiritday’ and ‘#envato’ in Cabin SemiBold and play around with the sizes to get them to fit snugly in the available space to the right side of the page. Make the color nice and strong, Spirit Day Purple, Tint 95%.
The main part of your poster is finished, great work. All that’s left to do is create a main ‘Spirit Day’ title for the poster, which we’ve made room for at the bottom of the page.
Take the Line Tool (\) and, holding Shift, drag across the page to create a line 246 mm in Length. Sit the line on the 337 mm guide.
Expand the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke) and adjust the Weight of the stroke to 2 mm and the Type to Dotted. Set the Color of the stroke, from the Swatches panel, to Spirit Day Purple, Tint 85%.
The Spirit Day branding is clean and modern, so a simple serif font is going to look great for the main ‘Spirit Day’ heading.
First up, take the Type Tool (T) and create a square text frame, positioning it below the dotted line in the bottom-left corner of the page. Type ‘#’ and set the Font to Cabin SemiBold, Size 115 pt, and set the Color to Spirit Day Dark Purple. Don’t apply a Tint this time—keep the color strong.
Select the hashtag symbol text frame and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste.
Move the pasted text frame to the right of the hashtag, and pull across to extend its width.
Adjust the text to read ‘SpiritDay’, and set the text in All Caps. Increase the Tracking to 70. Allow the edge of the ‘Y’ to sit against the right-hand margin.
Ensure the baseline of the text is sitting on the bottom margin.
Add a little subtitle above the ‘#SPIRITDAY’ main heading, that reads ‘Show your Support on October 15th’. Set the text in Cabin, All Caps, Size 30 pt, Tracking 30 and Color to Spirit Day Purple, Tint 60%.
Flank either side of the subheading with little left- and right-pointing arrow glyphs taken from the Veneer Extras selection in the Glyphs panel.
5. Export Your Poster for Print
Congratulations! Your Spirit Day poster is finished, and it’s looking great. Now all you have to do is export it to a print-ready format, ready for printing professionally or printing at home or in the office.
First up, File > Save As your poster to make sure you have a saved copy of your InDesign file.
Then go to File > Export. In the Export window give the file a name, such as ‘Spirit Day Poster for Print’, and choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format drop-down menu. Click Save.
In the Export to Adobe PDF window that opens, choose [Press Quality] from the Adobe PDF Preset drop-down menu.
From the Marks and Bleeds menu option (accessible from the left-hand side of the window), either leave these options blank if you’re going to be printing your poster at home or at the office, or select Crop Marks and Bleed Marks, as well as Use Document Bleed Settings, if you want to send your poster for professional printing.
Click Export to create your print-ready PDF file.
Here you can see I’ve also created a version of the poster with a purple background—you can get your hands on a purple version too by downloading the InDesign file attached to this tutorial.
Awesome work guys! Your typographic poster is finished and ready for printing, and it’s going to be a great way of getting people involved in Spirit Day on 15 October.
In this tutorial we’ve covered a number of useful skills for creating typographic poster designs. Here are just a few of the key skills you’ve picked up, which you can make good use of for future projects:
- How to split a poster layout into rows, ready for sectioning up large pieces of text into manageable chunks
- How to choose a varied selection of typefaces to create a cool, eclectic type look
- How to apply a simple two-color palette and vary the result with tints to create a uniform, minimal design
- How to export your poster designs ready for in-house or professional printing
Give yourself a big clap on the back! Feel free to share your own Spirit Day or other typographic poster designs in the comments below. We’d love to see them!