Exercise: Too Much or not Enough Information

Look around locally and identify a coming event – it could be a jumble sale, a local gig, concert or play, an exhibition or sporting fixture – and design two posters to promote it.

Make the first poster full of details and descriptions about the event, when and where it’s taking place, what’s going on, how long it lasts, how much it costs and what to expect. Include all the details that you think your audience might need.

For the second poster apply Occam’s Razor to pare back the information to a bare minimum – be extreme: how little information can you get away with and how few words can you use? Challenge yourself to be as simple as possible, but don’t forget the essentials or the poster won’t do the job it is intended for.

The poster is advertising a jazz concert due to take place in the next village to mine, next Saturday at 6pm. The group is called ELIZA. There is no charge but a contribution would be appreciated. The venue is very famous as it is where Marel Pagnol’s film Jean de Florette was filmed. This fact has nothing to do with the present concert but I added some of this information to the first poster. I also added information about the group. I invented this as I could not find any information about them.

This is the poster:

Concet Poster 1
Concet Poster 1


I then stripped out all but what I felt was the absolute minimum of information required. I also made the poster in B&W to increase the idea of minimalism.

Concert Poster 2



I think I have fulfilled the brief but I wonder if the second poster is not a little ‘dry’ and lacking in information about the very famous church where the concert will take place?

I asked the opinion of two friends which I really need to take on board:

Jo: an artist

  • Poster 1 is on the way to being a pamphlet with lots of bits of information and doesn’t quite gang as a whole for me yet.
  • Poster 2 is too simple – it looks a wee bit amateurish and like something I may do with my limited IT skills, 
  • Neither really reflect your v accomplished sense of design. Perfection lies somewhere between the two ( of course)

Bev: a dancer 

  • You have certainly filled the brief for “overloaded” and so much content diminishes the intent and attention to important information. The eyes don’t know where to go next. When you say you know nothing about graphic art, you certainly know your own impressions when you read posters. You must have come to some impressions on the ones that have been posted. THe first is overloaded with information and varying graphics. What saves it, if one can say that, is the white background.
  • The second poster also fills the second brief very well. It is pure (the black and white) The lovely different shapes of letters, each suiting their information. The middle and lower area has the softening lines of the instrument font sizes and shapes very suitable. all the needed information. Everyone knows the village, its history.  For those non locals who would in their travels come upon the poster, I suppose saying 13 century church of St Barthélemy. to start adding history etc begins the same problem experienced in the first poster.  It is a really strong poster.

….The second image is certainly easier to read – however with three different fonts used at altering sizes you’ve still some way to go to make this fully minimalist. What are the fonts of minimalist design? Usually sans-serif and very clean. How about the imagery? Once again, perhaps only block shapes. You will cover more type throughout the course but you may like to read here about ‘purposeful hierarchy’ and avoid using clip-art in your work – your illustrator skills are superior!

Just like within a lot of natural orders, a strong and purposeful hierarchy is a pretty powerful tool. Within the realm of design, hierarchy concerns the arrangement of visual elements in order to signify importance. So, the more important elements are made to hold the most attention through scale, colour, type etc. and the least important elements are made to hold less attention.

An element that hierarchy is most evidently used in is typography, so let’s look at an example of hierarchy using some type. In the included example, have a look at the way the first invitation is laid out, all the type is given the same size and weight, making all the information hard to gather in a quick skim. The example to the right, however, has had a little bit of hierarchy introduced to the type. Even with just the smallest adjustments to the colour, weight and size of certain elements, the information becomes way easier to digest and make sense of.

Keeping the ‘purposeful hierarchy’ and block shapes into consideration I have re-worked the poster 2: