Effective LIFE communication tools include those that are obligatory, such as the project website or information board, and others that are more dependent on the project’s particular dissemination requirements. The latter group of communication tools include project posters.
The LIFE factsheet about posters is a useful starting point for project staff interested in designing a successful poster. Many LIFE Nature projects have produced simple and beautiful posters presenting large photographs of the species, plants and landscapes of their area of interest. Poland’s BISON-LAND project (LIFE06 NAT/PL/000105) offers an example of good practice for this type of poster design.
Good practice aspects of this poster calendar include:
The decision to choose a large photograph works well since it dominates the poster and attracts viewers’ attention to the project topic. The image selected includes more than one interest point and this encourages viewers to examine the poster in more detail. Firstly, the viewer sees the Bison’s impressive head from a frontal profile and then secondly, attention is drawn to the much smaller bird flying alongside. The bird provides a sense of scale and also indicates the Bison’s “gentle giant” characteristics, which in turn help engender readers’ appeal for the species and support for LIFE project work.
Furthermore, the photograph is surrounded by a dark green background which makes it stand out and increases the dramatic nature of the image. The dark green background, appearing rather unobtrusive and sober, does not detract attention from the photograph above it. Similarly, the light green text font colours provide an effective visual contrast to the darker poster background. Colour choices are an important aspect of poster design and tips about this subject are included in the LIFE poster factsheet.
Thinking about the poster from a viewer’s perspective is also important during poster design. Take a step back and consider what are the main messages and memories created by your poster. For example, the main messages portrayed by the Bison Land poster might include: 'Wonderful picture!’ ‘Kraina Zubra and LIFE’, ‘it is an environmental project’ ‘it's a calendar as well’, beautiful colours!' ‘there are a lot of people involved in the project’. These messages could combine to suggest that 'The bison is appealing, important and protected in Poland'. As such, the LIFE poster succeeds in its communication objectives.
Other LIFE projects have developed specific informative posters which, in addition to photographs, also present relevant text, facts and figures. These types of posters will be discussed in another issue of this regular feature on good practice LIFE project communication tools.
European Bison conservation in the Bialowieza Forest, Poland