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How to Create a Suffragette-Inspired Poster in Adobe InDesign #100Years

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What You'll Be Creating

2018 marks a hundred years since women won the right to vote in Britain, due to the remarkable efforts of the suffragist movement. The suffragettes campaigned tirelessly for their democratic rights to be recognised by the British government, using posters and banners at demonstrations. 

This poster design takes the suffragettes’ simple and effective slogan ‘VOTES FOR WOMEN’ alongside their distinctive purple and green colors, giving it a modern, punk-inspired makeover. 

It’s easy to create using Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. Once you’ve created your poster, make sure to share it on social media using #100Years to spread awareness of this significant anniversary.

You can find more poster templates and inspiration over on Envato Elements and GraphicRiver.

What You’ll Need to Create Your Poster

We’ll create the main poster design in InDesign, and dip into Photoshop to edit the safety-pin graphic. You’ll also need to download the following fonts and images:

* These fonts are usually pre-installed on your Adobe software

Once you’ve installed the fonts onto your computer and saved the images to a safe place, you’re ready to get started.

1. How to Create Your Poster Document in InDesign

Step 1

Open up Adobe InDesign and go to File > New > Document. 

With the Intent set to Print (you can always export to an online-friendly format later), uncheck Facing Pages.

Set the Width of the page to 27 in and Height to 40 in, equivalent to a standard One Sheet poster size. Note that you can adapt the poster to any size you prefer.

Add a Bleed of 0.25 in to all sides, before clicking OK

new documentnew documentnew document

Step 2

Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and double-click on Layer 1 to rename it as Color.

Choose New Layer from the Layers panel’s drop-down menu (at top-right), and name this second layer Type

Create a further three new layers, called Safety Pin, Texture and finally Texture Two at the top of the pile.

new layersnew layersnew layers

Lock all the layers except the bottom layer, Color.

color layer color layer color layer

Step 3

Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and click on New Color Swatch in the panel’s menu. 

new swatchnew swatchnew swatch

Name the swatch Acid Yellow, set the Color Type to Process and Mode to CMYK. Set the levels below to C=10 M=0 Y=95 K=0.

Create four more new CMYK swatches with the following names and values:

  • Sand: C=15 M=17 Y=26 K=1
  • Heather: C=45 M=79 Y=29 K=15
  • Green: C=65 M=10 Y=72 K=1
  • Hot Pink: C=0 M=84 Y=35 K=0
hot pink swatchhot pink swatchhot pink swatch

2. How to Create a Union Jack Flag on Your Poster

Step 1

Working on the Color layer, switch to the Rectangle Tool (F) and drag across the whole page, extending the shape up to the edge of the bleed.

From the Swatches panel, set the Fill of the shape to Sand

sand fillsand fillsand fill

Step 2

Select the Pen Tool (P) and click onto the page to start creating a rough cross shape across the layout. 

pen toolpen toolpen tool
pen toolpen toolpen tool

Unite the line into a united shape. Don’t worry if the cross looks a bit wobbly; the imperfections will add to the punk effect of the design. 

color layercolor layercolor layer

Set the Fill of the cross shape to Heather

heather fillheather fillheather fill

Step 3

Use the Pen Tool (P) to create four separate shapes reaching from the corners of the page, to build up the Union Jack effect. 

pen toolpen toolpen tool

Set the Fill of these to Heather too. 

heather shapesheather shapesheather shapes

Step 4

Finally, use the Pen Tool to fill in the gaps with rough triangular shapes, setting the Fill of these to Green

green shapesgreen shapesgreen shapes

3. How to Format Punky Typography on Your Poster

Step 1

Lock the Color layer and unlock the Type layer above. 

Zoom into the top-left corner of the layout and use the Pen Tool (P) to create a rough rectangular shape. Set the Fill of the shape to Acid Yellow. 

type layertype layertype layer

Step 2

With the yellow shape selected, go to Object > Effects > Drop Shadow. 

Set the Opacity to 75%, Size to about 0.3 in, Spread to around 20%, and add about 7% Noise.

Then click OK to exit the window. 

drop shadowdrop shadowdrop shadow

Step 3

Use the Type Tool (T) to create a small text frame over the top of the shape. 

Type in ‘V’ and from either the top Controls panel or the Character panel (Window > Type & Tables > Character), set the Font to Avenir Black. 

Rotate the text frame slightly to match the angle of the yellow shape, creating a jaunty effect. 

avenir textavenir textavenir text

Step 4

You can now use this template of the yellow shape plus the text frame to build up the whole phrase ‘VOTES FOR WOMEN’ across the poster layout. 

Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste the yellow shape first, placing it to the right of the original shape.

Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select the corners of the yellow shape individually, dragging them to adjust the shape. 

yellow shapeyellow shapeyellow shape

Then create a text frame over the top, setting the Font to Avenir Black and the Font Color (from the Swatches panel) to Hot Pink. 

hot pink texthot pink texthot pink text

Continue to build up yellow shapes and text frames across the page, varying the Font (see the list of suggested font options at the top of the tutorial) and Font Color. 

acre fontacre fontacre font
acknowledgement fontacknowledgement fontacknowledgement font

The aim is to imitate the punk style of newspaper clippings, so make sure to vary the weight of the font (e.g. Bold, Italic), as well the font itself, to create an anarchic, eclectic look. 

times new romantimes new romantimes new roman

4. How to Add the Finishing Touches to Your Poster

Step 1

What punk poster is complete without a safety pin? 

To add this rebellious touch to your design, open up the safety pin image you downloaded earlier in Photoshop

Duplicate the Background layer, to preserve a copy of the original image, and switch off the visibility of the bottom layer. 

background layerbackground layerbackground layer

Step 2

Use the Lasso Tool (L) to loop off an area of the white background and the pin’s shadow. 

lasso toollasso toollasso tool

Click the Refine Edge button in the top Controls panel, and check Smart Radius, adjusting the slider below to tighten up the selection. 

refine edgerefine edgerefine edge

Click OK and then hit Delete on your keyboard to remove the section of background. 

deleted backgrounddeleted backgrounddeleted background

Move around the whole pin silhouette, selecting and refining sections of the background before deleting them. When all the background and shadow is removed, head up to File > Save As and save the image as a Photoshop (psd) file, which will preserve the transparent background. 

final no backgroundfinal no backgroundfinal no background

Step 3

Return to your InDesign poster and lock the Type layer. Unlock the Safety Pin layer above. 

Use the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) to create an image frame over the left side of the ‘F’ text frame. 

Go to File > Place, navigate to your safety pin PSD image and Open

Use the Pen Tool (P) to create a small shape over the top of the area of the pin where it overlaps the yellow square, and set the Fill of this to Acid Yellow to match. This gives the impression of the pin piercing the yellow shape.

safety pinsafety pinsafety pin

Step 4

With the pin’s image frame selected, go to Object > Effects > Drop Shadow.

Bring the Opacity down to about 70%, and set the Size to 0.1 in, Spread to 15% and Noise to around 15%. Then click OK to apply the shadow effect. 

multiply shadowmultiply shadowmultiply shadow

To make the area where the pin ‘pierces’ the yellow shape look more realistic, you can add a small shape around the base of the piercing using the Pen Tool (P), setting its Fill to [Black].


With the shape selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency and set the Mode to Multiply and Opacity to 25%. 


Click on Directional Feather in the window’s left-hand menu. Add a Feather Width of about 0.1 in to each side to soften the shadow effect. Then click OK.

directional featherdirectional featherdirectional feather

Step 5

Lock the Safety Pin layer and unlock the layer above, Texture.

Take the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) and create a frame across the whole page. File > Place, and choose the ‘Texture 10’ PNG file from the textures bundle you downloaded earlier. Allow the texture to fill the whole frame. 

rectangle frame toolrectangle frame toolrectangle frame tool

Select the image frame and go to Object > Effects > Transparency. Set the Mode to Overlay and bring the Opacity down to 65%. 


Step 6

Lock the texture layer and unlock the Texture Two layer above. Create an image frame across the whole page, go to File > Place and this time choose ‘Texture 17’ from the bundle, clicking Open and allowing it to fill the frame. 

texture overlaytexture overlaytexture overlay

For this image frame, go to Object > Effects > Transparency and set the Mode to Screen


Step 7

Your poster artwork is finished—great job! All that’s left to do now is to export it to a usable format. 

To do this, go to File > Export. For professional printing, choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format menu. If you want to share the poster on social media, as I’m going to do here, choose JPEG or PNG.


Name the file and click Save. For web-friendly images, set the Resolution to 72 ppi. Click Export to create your image file. 

export jpegexport jpegexport jpeg

Conclusion: Your Finished Poster

Your suffragette poster is finished and ready to share with others! 

With the 100-year anniversary of the suffrage movement taking place this year, now is the perfect time to share your poster and raise awareness of the monumental achievement of the suffragettes, and of course the ongoing efforts of feminists worldwide, to achieve equal pay and equal rights.

I hope you’ve picked up some handy new skills over the course of this tutorial, which you can apply to future poster design projects. 

You can find more poster templates and inspiration over on Envato Elements and GraphicRiver.

Want to share your suffragette punk posters with the Envato Tuts+ community? Drop an image of your poster in the comments below!

final posterfinal posterfinal poster
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