Pimp My Posters!

Last fall, several of us in Anderson School District One shared how we are using D.I.Y. book posters to promote reading at our schools (https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/now-thats-what-i/). Our district blessed us with the purchase of three PosterMakers – one for every five schools in the district to share – which print posters sized 18×24 and 24×36. We’ve taken full advantage of this awesome machine to create pimped-out posters that make our library pop.

The D.I.Y. book poster possibilities are endless – posters featuring your school’s reading incentive program, specific genres, the Top Ten circulated titles, special events like Teen Read Week, used as part of bigger displays, or even incorporating QR codes with links to book/Y.A. movie trailers. The best part of creating your own book posters is you are able to promote books actually in your library collection.

So how does this work? It’s easier than you think! Monique German, a middle school librarian at Powdersville Middle, uses the Comic Life app for hers. She uses the free background app on the iPad or searches for backgrounds on Flickr with Creative Commons licensing, then adds book jackets and comic-inspired titles.  The app allows you to create both vertical and horizontal comics which can be saved as JPEG image files or as PDFs to send and share.  For her favorite poster she found a black and white photo on Morguefile for the background, added the books, and put in a powerful red and yellow comic font that could say “POW” or “BOOM” but instead says “Disabled, Not Weak.”  It gets the message across.

Tamara Cox, middle school librarian at Palmetto Middle, and Jen Chesney, high school librarian at Powdersville High School, use good ol’ PowerPoint for their posters. Says Chesney, “The beauty of PowerPoint is you can layer text on top of book covers on top of backgrounds and manipulate as needed. You can also use the Design feature to change the poster Orientation to Landscape or Portrait to suit your needs. My go-to Font site is Urban Fonts (www.urbanfonts.com) which provides tons of cool free fonts that can really make your posters pop – like I used the knock-off Star Wars font, Star Jedi, for my “Seek the Unknown” Teen Read Week poster.” If you create a poster in PowerPoint, simply save it as a PDF, then it should print exactly as it appears on the PDF.

For advanced graphic peeps, PhotoShop is the bomb. Kristen Hearne, Instructional Technologist with ASD1 uses PhotoShop to create high-resolution graphics that can easily be made into large posters.  If you are an educator, you can get a great discount on the PhotoShop software, and Hearne uses the website http://www.psd-dude.com to find easy to follow tutorials and free downloads of backgrounds and vector images that can be used with PhotoShop.  It is always great to add cool new fonts to your posters, and Hearne uses the free font site Da-Font (http://www.dafont.com ).  All of the posters you create in Photoshop will be saved as jpegs so anything you download will stick, even when opened on a different computer.

If you’ve made posters of your own, please share links in the comments! Also, feel free to ask questions you may have about making posters.

Link for Middle School Book Posters

Link for High School Book Posters

Jen Chesney: @thejenchesney http://www.tumbler.com/blog/thejenchesney

Tamara Cox: @coxtl http://e-literatelibrarian.blogspot.com

Monique German: @bibliogerman http://thisshelfreserved.blogspot.com/

Kristen Hearne: @KHearne http://thelibrarianinthemiddle.blogspot.com/