A well-designed, eye-catching poster can serve a variety of needs in a business, from showcasing new products to promoting company events and more.
By nature, a poster is intended to draw attention, and one of the best ways to do that is with a stunning and content-appropriate poster background.
Let’s explore some ways to use posters for your business and take a look at some of the striking background images you can use in your business posters with Venngage’s Poster Maker.
Click to jump ahead:
- How to use posters for business
- Business poster design tips
- Poster background ideas
- Poster background illustrations
- Poster background photos
- Poster background patterns
- Holiday poster backgrounds
- Poster background FAQ
How to use posters for business
Posters can be useful communication tools for just about any need your business has.
Want to promote a fun after-work event? Need to give employees information health or safety information? Looking to spread the word about a job opening in the company? For all of these uses (and many more) posters are the perfect solution.
Why use a poster as opposed to other types of visual communication tools? Here are a few aspects that set posters apart:
- They can be done in a large format — and they’re flexible. Posters can be as small as 8.5×11 inches and printed out on your office printer or they can run into huge sizes appropriate for trade shows and other events.
- They feel more permanent and important than other tools. Let’s face it, digital communication will never go away, so you still need visual assets for your website and social media, but creating a poster for your business makes whatever you’re promoting feel more elevated — and permanent.
- They’re cool. Is the poster you create for your job fair going to become a collectors item like a band’s tour poster? Probably not, but did you know the iconic We Can Do It/Rosie the Riveter poster was created for Westinghouse Electric and displayed in some of the company’s factories during World War II? That’s a lot to live up to, but my point is just because you’re making a poster for a corporate need, that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.
Business poster design tips
Now that your head is spinning with a hundred ways to use posters for your business, let’s talk about some design tips that will help take your business poster from good to great.
- Say as little as possible. Like any bit of visual communication you create for your business, it’s tempting to load up a poster with all sorts of text. Usually, this is a mistake unless there are legal or compliance reasons to have lots of lots of text. (The U.S. Department of Labor mandates certain notices be provided to employees or displayed in the workplace.)
- Be bold. You want your poster to catch people’s eye, so if the situation warrants, try to be a bit daring with your imagery or content. Having a great background image can help with that, of course.
- Try to be timely. This goes mostly for posters promoting specific events, but it’s also useful to rotate your business posters on a seasonal basis. This helps signal to your team (or customers) that you are actively thinking about the visual tools you’re using to communicate with them, and it keeps things from feeling stale.
- Keep design principles in mind. Just because you may have a little more space to work with than on, say, a flyer or postcard, that’s not an excuse to throw good design out the window. In fact, it’s just the opposite. A business poster is an opportunity to use the principles of visual hierarchy, white space and proximity to capture attention.
Poster background ideas
So, how do you go about selecting the perfect background for your business poster?
Sorry to say that depends, not just on the topic of the poster but your ideal look or aesthetic. There are several types of poster backgrounds you could use, including photos, illustrations, patterns or colors.
Typically, content will drive this decision. What do I mean by that?
I did say your text should be brief, but sometimes that’s not the goal of the poster. In cases like this, it’s often best to use a plain background that’s either a single color or a gradient or perhaps a subtle pattern.
A poster using this image was designed to raise awareness of breast cancer, and it’s essentially an infographic in poster form.
If it had a busier background, that would detract from the important messaging. In this case, the designer used a clever combination of a photograph and simple color scheme that allows the information to stand out.
Content can also lend itself to a bold background, one that dominates the entire visual, like this image used in a poster to promote a climate change event. In this case, there are only about 25 words on the entire poster, and they are placed in a way that takes advantage of the photo’s content.
In both cases, the content of the poster itself was the most important determining factor in selection of the background.
Poster background illustrations
Icons and illustrations can be ideal backgrounds for a business poster. You may think that’s only the case when the event or information is lighthearted, but I’ll show you why that’s not always true.
This image, of course, lends itself to fun (and spooky) imagery that’s ideal for Halloween, as seen in this poster. Obviously, this leans to the fun side of business posters, whether you’re promoting an event for your employees or the community.
But an illustration in this style can serve as the background to a poster that has a more serious purpose. The designer of this poster, for example, used the sketch-style image to promote a women’s rights event.
With Venngage for Business, it’s easy to create your own background illustration using icons, as the designer of this poster did to bring attention to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Simply by changing the heart icon to the blue that’s in Ukraine’s flag, the designer was quickly and easily able to make something custom for their needs.
This cool, vintage-looking heart illustration serves as the centerpiece for an infographic poster on heart health, but it could be used for other health-related purposes, during spooky season or even as an unexpected twist on a Valentine’s Day poster. (I’ll share more holiday poster backgrounds shortly.)
Poster background photos
My personal favorite type of poster background is a photo. Why?
I love the challenge of finding just the right photograph that will allow me to showcase my poster’s content in the best way. Sometimes that involves some trial and error, but it often leads me to unexpectedly cool designs that I might not otherwise have been able to create.
This image is the perfect example of what I’m talking about. The colors and orientation of the photo allow for a very eye-catching design (like in this climate change event poster) that feels very organic and planned but could only have come from this specific image.
Take advantage of shadows and colors in images to place the content for your poster. This image, for example, has dramatic shadows that are perfect for a small amount of text (in white) so that it’s highly legible (like in this poster).
A photographic poster background doesn’t have to mean the photo takes up the entire frame. This image, for example, could illustrate just one portion of your poster, as it does in this music event poster.
A dramatic photo can really help grab attention, as this image of a polar bear does. As in the above example, though, using a shaded box to contain your text can really help the photograph shine like it does in this global warming poster template.
Some photographs lend themselves both to a designer using negative space within the image and using shaded boxes to contain content (depending on what exactly you need to say). This image was used successfully in this career expo poster, for example, in which the designer used a circle shape and some icons to draw readers in.
Poster background patterns
Whether they’re used on their own or with illustrations or photos, patterns can also be used as backgrounds for business posters. Here are a few examples of patterns used with success for business posters.
The simple squiggles of this pattern could be used for just about any event, though it’s more appropriate for events that don’t have an overly dire purpose. In the case of this business conference event poster, the pattern was incorporated into a stylized illustration and accompanied by high-contrast colors to great effect.
When using patterns in your poster backgrounds, it’s important to be mindful of how busy they are. If the pattern is busy as this one is, try to limit your other decorative elements. That way, your poster won’t overwhelm the reader. In this warehouse sale poster, for example, the designer uses a simple color palette and limited text.
This modern pattern could be used for just about any purpose, from promoting a high-energy event to sharing facts about important topics. This poster uses it, along with a photo and iconic shapes, to publicize a stress management event, which highlights its versatility.
Holiday poster backgrounds
We’ve talked a bit about the importance of using business posters in a timely way, and one of the best ways to do that is to think about holidays or seasons. Let’s take a look at some holiday and seasonal poster backgrounds that may be right for your needs.
This image is perfect for any Halloween event your business is hosting or sponsoring in the community. Use this Halloween poster template to get started.
Take a whimsical spin on Halloween with this cheerful ghost poster background that you can see in action in this Halloween party poster template.
For many businesses, Thanksgiving is a time to give back to the community, and this playful poster background illustration can anchor any poster about a seasonal Thanksgiving event.
In the case of this fundraising poster template, the scarecrow image is used to promote a children’s benefit, but it’s appropriate throughout the fall season.
Use this image as your poster background for any fall season events, including those related to Thanksgiving or even back-to-school. In this case, it’s an ideal backdrop for a Thanksgiving sale poster.
Seems like the Christmas shopping season starts as soon as kids head out to trick-or-treat, so seasonal holiday imagery around Christmas is a must for most businesses. This image of a sack filled with presents is ideal for Christmas sales, which is why it has a place of prominence in this Christmas holiday sale poster template.
Of course, retail isn’t the only reason to have some Christmas imagery in your back pocket. Consider this cute illustration of candy canes, which can be used for a variety of reasons, including advertising an office holiday party or other seasonal holiday event in your community. Of course, it works as a holiday sale poster background, too.
New Year’s Eve is usually a time to get dressed up, drink a glass (or two) of champagne and ring in a new year; that’s often accompanied by fireworks, toasts and general merriment. Use this background image for your New Year’s Eve events and new year posters, like this one.
This image of string lights is perfect as the background for a New Year’s celebration poster, like this one, though it could also serve double-duty for any celebration.
Few things say Valentine’s Day quite like roses, such as those shown in this poster background image. Use this Valentine’s sale poster template for your business needs.
Go with a heart motif if you’re not feeling floral by using this cool illustration in a bokeh effect. Use it to promote a sale, as this flyer does, or let your employees and customers know about some other Valentine’s Day event you’ve got on the horizon.
Poster background FAQ
How can I design a poster?
Using Venngage for Business, you can easily select an image, illustration or pattern to serve as your background and drag-and-drop text elements to promote your event or get your message out. Start from scratch or use one of the templates above.
How can I set a picture as a background image in a poster?
An image can serve as the background to a poster in a variety of ways. It can take up the entire frame and have text placed over it, whether directly or in a shaded box. Or the image can cover only part of the frame, and you can use a shaded box (or a white one) to house text and other elements.
How can I download background images?
If you’re using a royalty-free image site, the easiest way to download background images is to hit the download button, as that will ensure you get the full-resolution image. But you can also right-click using a computer and save the image, though always make sure you have the right to use images, particularly for business purposes.
Where can I get free backgrounds?
There are many free resources for background images for business posters, including Unsplash, Pixabay and Pexels. Venngage integrates directly with Unsplash, so you can access thousands of free background images directly from our visual editor. You can also create your own poster background in Venngage by combining patterns, icons and more.
Posters are indispensable communication tools, and having strong background artwork can make them even more impactful
Whether you print them in-house or send them off-site to professionals, posters are critical for communicating with your employees, customers and community. And with a stable of quality background images, you can easily make your own in just a few minutes.
Browse Venngage’s selection of poster templates and get a head start on a beautiful design today.