I'm designing a poster for a lecture about hostage negotiation. It's a dark, glitchy design, with lots of information on it.

I think the title looks OK but I can't seem to balance the rest of the information right. It just feels too busy. Does anybody have suggestions for this design? I'm not asking to design a poster for me, just small sugestions so I can make this better. It's just feels a little off and it's bugging me.

Link to high definition picture


Thank you!

1 Answer 1


The centered text isn't the problem. (although it could be argued that putting everything centered is a bit bland)

Alignment influences balance

It's the speakers' names and credentials. You've aligned the speakers' names, but not the credentials. This makes the first speaker look positioned slightly left of center, and the second speaker slightly right and triangular.

Text density influences balance

This imbalance is amplified by having two lines for versus one line. For one line of text you just have the internal whitespace. For two lines you have the internal whitespace plus the line spacing. You can alleviate this by using a small line space (which you have) and by using a bolder font (which you haven't):

enter image description here

(exagerrated example. This is too bold, making the righthand lines slightly too heavy)

Order influences how much we notice balance

All of this is made more noticeable because you put the speakers before the title; making the imbalance the topmost part of each content block.

I am not entirely sure why this is the case, but we tend to interpret ◤ shaped text block more stable than ◣ shaped ones. I think it's due to a combination of (western) reading being LRT and TTB, as well as 'soft' materials (think: tattered banner, weeping willow) being able to form those shapes draped down, but they can't stand upright.

Anyway. Flipping the speaker info and the seminar title makes a big difference. As a bonus, it creates a slightly nicer information hierarchy in both reading order and text size.

SUBJECT -> speaker -> credentials

enter image description here

There still is some imbalance by having names left and right, and because of the font density. But its effect are largely mitigated.

I noticed that your margins are not quite the same. I don't mean between the conference title, I mean on the sides of the seminar blocks. You'd want the H, N and T to line up on the left, as well as the N, D and 0 on the right, to line up nicely.

Keep in mind the letter spacing of the names; A N N is spaced very wide.

  • I took note of the things you said and modified the design: picture. It feels much better now, indeed! I'm not really sure with "college de valk, dv1...". Is it weird that I aligned it to the right? It feels more like a block this way. Thank you very much! I have never learned about design theory. Modifying the design following these rules made it look much better. Almost magic! :)
    – Wouter C
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 14:25
  • Having that text be right-aligned doesn't look weird, however it could create slight confusion as it looks more like the lecture titles. It's not bad, but perhaps increase the spacing between the second lecture and date/location a bit. Just like there's more space between the conference title and the first lecture. Consider using Auditorium instead of Aula to be more consistent with the rest of the text, unless the room is actually named "aula zeger van hee" instead of aula "zeger van hee". Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 16:23
  • Thanks for the suggestion again! This helped :) picture
    – Wouter C
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 18:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.