1. Design & Illustration

How to Design a Stand-Up Comedy Poster in InDesign

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Read Time: 15 min
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What You'll Be Creating

Learn how to make your own stand-up comedy poster in this Adobe InDesign tutorial. You can customize it in any way you want. Create the perfect comedy tour poster, ready for print or use online. 

What You'll Learn

  • How to design a standup comedy poster in Adobe InDesign
  • How to export your comedy show poster for print
  • How to display your standup comedy poster in a realistic mockup

What You'll Need

These are the assets used in this design tutorial. You're welcome to use them as well, or you can use any alternative resources of your choice. We will primarily design our stand-up comedy poster in Adobe InDesign. However, we will also use Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop as supplementary resources.

How to Design a Comedy Show Poster

Step 1

First, let's talk about what your comedy show poster should include.

Are you designing a comedy tour poster for multiple shows? Or maybe you're working on a standup comedy poster for a single event. The needs of the design are similar in both cases:

  • If it's a single act, it's a great idea to include a photograph of your talent. This can have a stronger connection with your audience, if they're already familiar with the comedian. Think of it like recognizing someone you know—seeing them would probably strike you faster than reading a name.
  • However, the talent's name should still have a significant presence.
  • Make sure the details are large and easy to digest. You may not have your audience's attention for long, so make sure all the essentials are up front and easy to read.

Check out the hierarchy in this example standup comedy poster. We see a photo to connect with, and then the main details are the largest. The supplemental content, like the ticket price, is smaller. 

comedy postercomedy postercomedy poster
Comedy Promo Set from Envato Elements

Step 2

Now, let's dig in to creating a comedy show poster of our own. We'll begin by creating a New Document in Adobe InDesign. You can do so by going to File > New.

We're designing a poster, so let's go with Tabloid size. You can find this sizing under the Print presets, or you can input 11 inches by 17 inches. Keep in mind that you could design at any alternative size that you prefer.

Let's also give our poster a 0.5 inch margin around all sides. We'll use this as a safety area, keeping all vital information inside this space.

Once you're happy with your document setup, click Create to create your document.

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Step 3

Next, let's open up our Layers panel. You can do so by going to Window > Layers. As in other members of the Adobe family, layers allow us to layer content on top of each other. We'll use this quite a bit in this walkthrough.

You can double-click on the name of the layer to rename it. I called mine "Background".

indesign layersindesign layersindesign layers

Step 4

Next, let's add some content to our Background layer. Select the Rectangle Tool. Then, change the Fill Color to a dark purple. Once you have the Fill Color selected, with the Rectangle Tool active, click and drag to draw a rectangle. We're looking to fill the entire background with a solid color.

Your work should look like this:

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Step 5

Now, let's make a new layer. You can do so at the bottom of the Layers panel. Click on the Create a New Layer icon at the bottom of the panel (it looks like a plus sign). We'll name this new layer "Abstract Shape".

This time, instead of using one of the Shape Tools, we'll use the Pen Tool to create a custom shape. Before we do so, let's select a new Fill Color. I went with a more muted, dark purple.

Then, using the Pen Tool, click to place points to create an abstract shape. Here's what my abstract shape looks like:

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Step 6

Time to create another New Layer. This time, I called my new layer "Circles". As you may have guessed, we're going to use the Shape Tools. This time, select the Ellipse Tool. It works the same way as the Rectangle Tool, so follow the same process. We're going to draw two circles, one on top of each other, in different Fill Colors.

Start out with a light yellow Fill Color, for your first ellipse. For the second circle, I used a purple Fill Color.

indesign circle toolindesign circle toolindesign circle tool

Step 7

Next, let's insert some imagery. I'm going to use this stock photograph from Envato Elements. You'll likely want to use a photo of your comedian or talent. However, if it's a catch-all event, like an open mic night, a stock photo could work well too.

Start by picking the Selection Tool. Then, click on the purple circle, so it's active and selected. Then, we can go to File > Place. InDesign will prompt us to select an image from our computer. Select your desired image, and then click OK

Resize the image to fit in the circle in whichever way you prefer. You can use the visible resize handles—just click and drag on them. Hold down Shift when you do so to keep the image's native proportions. 

As an extra tip, you can double-click to toggle between the ellipse itself and the contents inside it. 

Here's what my image looks like within this ellipse:

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Stock Photography from Envato Elements

Step 8

Now, let's take a look at a fun image I found on Envato Elements. It's this playful vector illustration of a stand-up comedian. While it's not exactly the vibe I wanted for this poster, I thought parts of it might be really fun to work with.

That's one of the great things about a resource like Envato Elements—it's more than  templates. It's a whole library of resources you can use in so many ways. As a designer, this can really help jumpstart my process. 

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Illustration from Envato Elements

Step 9

I opened this illustration in Adobe Illustrator since it's a vector illustration file. With the Selection Tool, I selected parts of the illustration that I didn't want to keep. Then, I deleted them with the Delete key on my keyboard. It's that simple.

editing in Adobe Illustratorediting in Adobe Illustratorediting in Adobe Illustrator
Edited illustration elements from Envato Elements

Step 10

Then, I took the elements I wanted to keep and tried repositioning them on a canvas that matches my poster. It helped me get a feel for how it might work. This included copying and pasting some elements too, so it would fit the space better. 

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Edited illustration elements from Envato Elements

Step 11

Once I was happy with my concept, I isolated each piece of the illustration in its own document. Then, I could save each piece of the illustration individually. Why do this? Then, I could import them each into InDesign separately. This would make moving and adjusting them in InDesign much easier. 

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Edited illustration elements from Envato Elements

Step 12

Then, I returned to Adobe InDesign. I created a New Layer, specifically for the illustrations I want to work with. I called my new layer "Illustrations".

Just like our photograph, these illustrations need to be placed into our work. Go to File > Place to place the illustrations into the design. I repeated this process three times, once for each illustrative element I wanted to use.

With the Selection Tool, I could easily select, drag, and resize these elements to fit my composition. Here's what I came up with: 

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Step 13

Now, let's move on to adding some text to our design. Select the Type Tool in the Tools Panel. With the Type Tool active, click and drag to create a text box—then, you can type in your copy. I typed out "Live Show". You could use any text you prefer.

But what about the font? Turn to the Character panel. You can find it by going to Window > Type & Tables > Character. In this panel, you can change all kinds of text elements, like the font, font size, tracking, and more. I used the Neon Light font from Envato Elements.

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Neon light font from Envato Elements

Step 14

But what's a neon sign font without some glow? Thankfully, InDesign has some easy effects we can use here. 

Select your text with the Selection Tool. Right-Click on PC or Control-Click on Mac. From the resulting menu, go to Effects > Outer Glow. This brings up the following menu.

You're welcome to copy these values. Or toggle Preview on, and you can experiment with it yourself! This toggle is really handy because you can see the result before you commit. I went with:

  • Mode: Screen, in a light yellow color that matches my text
  • Opacity: 78%
  • Technique: Softer
  • Size: 0.5 in
  • Noise: 0%
  • Spread: 6%

Once you're happy with how the effect looks, click OK to apply it.

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Step 15

Let's add some more copy to our standup comedy poster. In this case, I added text for a performer's name, and then I added a byline, where you could add some supplemental text. For example, this could be what the talent is known for or where audiences may have seen them before. If you're designing a comedy tour poster, you might want to have a reference to the tour or the tour's name, for example.

Add this text using the Type Tool, as we did earlier in the tutorial. This time, I used the sans serif font George from Envato Elements. It's a clean, complementary supplement.

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Sans serif font from Envato Elements

Step 16

What else should your stand-up comedy poster have? You definitely want to make sure to include information about the day, time, and location. Again, this might vary. If you're designing a comedy tour poster, you may want to include multiple dates. If you're designing for a single show, you may want to get more specific. Use the Type Tool to continue to add copy to your design. 

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Step 17

You can also include other elements that make it easier for the audience to get information about your show. In this case, let's add a QR code to our poster. InDesign makes it really simple.

Let's start with a white square. Select the Rectangle Tool, and set your Fill Color to white. Then, click and drag to draw a rectangle. To keep perfect square proportions, hold down Shift while you draw.

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Step 18

Next, go to Object > Generate QR code. InDesign can make a QR code for us, and it can contain a wide variety of information. In this case, let's make go with Type: Web Hyperlink. This way, when the viewer scans the code, it'll open up the venue website for them so they can easily buy tickets.

Type in your desired URL, and then click OK to proceed.

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Step 19

Now that InDesign has created our QR code for us, use the Selection Tool to move and resize it to fit within our white square. It behaves much like an image, so you can resize it in the same ways. Use the resize handles that show up when this content is selected.

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Step 20

Let's continue adding some supplemental content. Since we have a QR code that opens up the venue website, let's display that on the poster too. 

Start by creating a rectangle. Select the Rectangle Tool, and choose a lighter purple Fill Color. I used the same light purple that's already present in the design, so things would look cohesive. Click and drag to draw this rectangle.

indesign rectangle toolindesign rectangle toolindesign rectangle tool

Step 21

Then, using the Type Tool, add some copy to this space. I wanted a call to action to buy tickets and where the tickets could be purchased—the venue website.

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Step 22

Let's add some finishing touches to our design. Select the Line Tool in the Tools panel. Instead of changing up the Fill Color, set the Stroke Color to a light yellow color, like the one already in our composition. 

Then, with the Line Tool selected, click and drag to draw a line. 

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Step 23

However, the default line wasn't quite what I wanted. So let's open up the Stroke panel. You can find it by going to Window > Stroke. Here, we can change all kinds of attributes about our line. In this case, I changed the Stroke Width to 6pt and the Stroke Type to Dotted

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Step 24

Now, we can repeat this process with some other accent lines in our composition. The dots connect well to the other circular elements in our design. Check out the result!

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Step 25

What's next? If you want to print your poster, go to File > Export. You get a wide variety of options. One of the more popular ones is PDF for print. This presents you with a wide variety of options for outputting a high-quality PDF file of your design. Make sure to check with your printer for extra specifics—like bleed recommendations or any recommended crop marks. Click Export to export your high-res file. 

It's important to note that your working design file is normally an INDD file, in Adobe InDesign. This won't necessarily be a file you can easily view and share with others, like a PDF or JPG, especially online.

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Step 26

But you aren't stuck with PDF. There are lots of export options you can choose from. Another is Export JPEG. Let's give that one a look too. In this case, I opted to export a maximum-quality JPG file at 300 ppi, which would be a high-resolution image. Click Export to export your file. 

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Step 27

Here's a look at something you can do with that high-resolution JPG export. Let's take our poster and display it in a professional poster mockup template. This can be an awesome idea because you can get a look at what your finished poster will look like, before you commit to printing.

It's really easy to do too. Check out how this works. You just open the mockup in Adobe Photoshop, and take a look at the Layers panel (Window > Layers). Double-click on the layer labeled "POSTER HERE". This is a Smart Object. It'll open up a separate document where you can paste in any design you'd like to preview. 

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Poster mockup from Envato Elements

Step 28

And here's what it looks like. Cool, right? It's such a great way to preview your design work—you get a look at it in action before heading to the printer. There are plenty more poster mockups you can check out on Envato Elements.

poster mockupposter mockupposter mockup

Now You Know How to Design a Stand-Up Comedy Poster

And there you have it! You can use these techniques to make all kinds of different stand-up comedy poster designs—whether you're designing for a comedy tour poster series or a single show.

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Poster Mockup Template from Envato Elements

Check Out These Comedy Tour Poster Templates

Looking for a stand-up comedy poster template to help speed up your design process? Or maybe you're just looking for even more poster design inspiration. Check out these awesome poster designs from Envato Elements. One low price gets you unlimited access to all of these designs—plus illustrations, fonts, stock photos, and much more.

1. Show Poster Design Set (INDD)

performance posterperformance posterperformance poster

You get multiple poster designs in one download in this poster design set. It was designed with shows in mind, so use it for comedy acts, musicians, and much more. Easily edit these designs in Adobe InDesign.

2. Cut Out Standup Comedy Poster (AI, EPS, PSD)

comedian postercomedian postercomedian poster

Isn't this a fun comedy poster design? Not only do you get a poster design, completely ready to customize, but you get some really cool digital options too. Easily add your own photos and content in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

3. Standup Comedy Poster (PSD)

stand up comedy posterstand up comedy posterstand up comedy poster

Here's a really fun stand-up comedy poster. Jump in and add your own photography to make this one your own. Or, if you're running a more catch-all event, like an open mic night or comedy competition, you can use the included stock photography.

4. Multi-Act Comedy Poster (AI, EPS, PSD)

comedy group postercomedy group postercomedy group poster

Maybe your comedy show poster needs to focus on more than one act. A poster design like this one could be a perfect fit. It's a great way to showcase more than one photo. Consider a design like this one—it's completely customizable. 

5. Colorful Comedy Show Poster (AI, PSD)

comedy night postercomedy night postercomedy night poster

In some cases, you might not necessarily want to include a photo. This could work if your event doesn't focus on a single act. Comedy nights, invitations for open mic, and other events like that could work well with a design like this one. 

Learn More About Poster Design in Adobe InDesign

Love poster design and want to learn more? Check out these free tutorials, right here at Envato Tuts+.

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