How to Design a Geometric Poster in Photoshop

How to create a geometric poster in photoshop

How to create a geometric poster in photoshop

Last week I came across a great set of geometric posters. Soon, I thought of documenting the process of creating a similar poster and share this tutorial with the readers of Pixelonomics.  The implementations of this tutorial are far beyond than just creating a poster. Also, it is easier to create a similar poster in Illustrator if you are familiar with its interface and working. The reason for using photoshop as a tool here is just to assist the fellow users. On that note, we should attempt a similar tutorial for illustrator very soon.

If you have missed out on our other tutorials, you may want to check the tutorial on Social Media Retro Poster and design a Countdown using Photoshop.

Let’s get started with our poster. The first thing that needs our attention is the size of our poster. Considering it is a poster, there are good chances that we will eventually print it. Side note: if we are working on anything that has to go for print, it must have a resolution of 300dpi. If you would like to know more about creating files for printing, please leave a comment about the same and we shall soon do a couple of posts on the same.

Final Result

Here is a preview of what we are trying to create.

Final geometric poster

Final geometric poster

Setting up the Photoshop file

1. Create a new file (Ctrl + N). In the New file dialog box, set the Width and Height units to pixels (if it isn’t already). We’re creating an A4 size file; set the width to 2480 and the height to 3508 pixels. We’re creating a graphic for print, as mentioned before, so set the Resolution to 300 pixels/inch.

Setup photoshop file

Setup photoshop file

2. Choose a color (#f7a901)and use the paint bucket tool (or Alt + Backspace) to fill in the base color to Background layer.

Add base color

Add base color

Adding the main Graphic

3. Using the horizontal type tool (T), type any word you like. I chose to write a number 139, using the Chalet-Tokyo font in 450px size, color (#ede9cc) and aligned them, like the graphic below.

Type a word

Type a word

4. Select the text layers in the layer panel (ctrl + click layers that need to be selected), right click them and choose Rasterize Type. This will convert text layers from vector to raster and help us with their fine-tuning.

Rasterize type

Rasterize type

5. Words may need a bit of fine-tuning to fit the layout and form a better graphic. Here is a quick list of editing done using Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) that was required to fine-tune “139” as per the graphic alignment.

  • The height of 1 was decreased a bit and its tip was slant-cut.
  • The tip of 3 is decreased to create a visual spacing between 1 and 3. Also, the neck of 3 is adjusted to align itself to the tail of 9.
  • The tail of 9 is extended and its end is curved to lock itself close to 3.
Editing & fine-tuning the type

Editing & fine-tuning the type

6. Reselect the text layers as described in 4th step and merge them using Layer > Merge  (Ctrl + E). Name the merged layer Main Graphic.

Rename the merged layer

Rename the merged layer

Next, we need to add depths and shadows, both outside and inside.

Adding outside depth

7. To create depth, we need to duplicate the Main Graphic layer. Press Alt + push the Right key on your keyboard. Now without pressing Alt, press the down key. This layer would automatically be named Main Graphic copy. In the layers panel, drag this new layer below the Main Graphic layer.

8. Again, press Alt + push the right key. Without pressing Alt, press the down key. Repeat this process several times to have a considerable amount of depth. Select the layer just below Main Graphic (Top but one layer) and holding shift key, select the layer just above the Background Layer. Merge them as described in 6th step. Name this layer Outer Depth.

Name this layer Outer Depth

Name this layer Outer Depth

9. Make sure Outer Depth is selected. Go to Layer > Layer Style > Color Overlay. Choose color: # 392c02.

Color overlay

Color overlay

10. If you see your poster at 100% view, some of the edges will look jagged. Let’s quickly clean these edges. Using Polygonal Lasso Tool (L), select the edges and press the delete key. Repeat the process for all the edges that require cleaning. Voila! You just added a solid depth to your graphic.

Clean the edges

Clean the edges

Adding outer shadow

11. Holding Shift + Alt key, drag the graphic diagonally down-right to double the depth. Name this layer Outer Shadow and in the layers panel, drag it below the layer Outer Depth. Use color overlay to change the color of this layer to # b47c01. Looks good, doesn’t it?

Creating thick edges to highlight inner depth and shadow

12. In the layers panel, right-click Main Graphic and Duplicate layer. Let’s name it Thick Edges.

Name it Thick Edges

Name it Thick Edges

13. Create a marquee selection around the shape by Ctrl + clicking on Thick Edges layer’s thumbnail in the Layers Panel. Select > Modify > Contract (Alt + S + M + C) to contract the selection by 40 pixels. You may vary the number of pixels, depending on how thick you want the edges to appear.

Contract selection

Contract selection

14. Press delete to remove the selected area. Select > Deselect (Ctrl + D) to deselect the selection.

15. At 100% view, some of the inside edges will look ill-defined. Using pen-tool (P), define the edges. Repeat the same for all ill-defined edges. Ctrl-select these new layers and merge them. Press Ctrl + E to merge the new layer with Thick Edges. This is the area that will highlight the inner depth and shadow.

Ill-defined edges

Ill-defined edges

Adding inner depth and shadow

16. Press Alt + push the right key. Without pressing Alt, press the down key. Color overlay it to # 392c02. Repeat this process about six times. Ctrl-select all the layers above Thick Edges and merge them. Clean the edges as described in 10th step. Name it Inner Depth.

Name this layer Inner Depth

Name this layer Inner Depth

17. Again, holding Shift + Alt key, drag the graphic diagonally down-right to double the depth. Name this layer Inner Shadow and in the layers panel, drag it below the layer Inner Depth. Color overlay it to # 9c9d8d.

Name this layer Inner Shadow

Name this layer Inner Shadow

18. Marquee select the Main Graphic. Shift + Ctrl + I to invert the selection. Select Inner Depth and press delete. Repeat it with Inner Shadow and deselect the selection.

19. Move the Thick Edges layer to top of layers panel and see the magic.

20. Add your logo, a headline or a message and have fun with this Geometric poster!

Here is the final result!

Hope you like it! Adapt it to your artwork, style and share it with us.

Final geometric poster

Final geometric poster

Show us what you made!

Did you try this tutorial? What are your variations and artworks derived from this tutorial? Share your work on the Pixelonomics Flickr group and contribute to this active community.

Download the Photoshop file used in this tutorial (ZIP, 665 kb)

  • Abhijeet Mukherjee

    Great stuff! Even photoshop noobs like me can try the steps out and make it work. Thanks!

  • Ashutosh Malguri

    awesome tut ! It would be interesting to see a webdesign/site mockup with photoshop here.. :)

  • Anonymous

    I am not a photoshop guy, but this definitely made me download a trial and want to try it. Concise, clear and good informative stuff. Keep up the work Himanshu. There are 100s of blogs on ruby or rails tutorials but very little on photoshop or other design modules.

    Also like Ashutosh had commented, a mockup would be great if you can share with us.

  • Nidhi

    A nice tutorial, informative and helpful.
    However, a word on the difficulty level would have helped :)

  • meeta

    Nice post

  • Bhavnatewari

    super cool!

  • cigar reviews

    Illustrator and then the texturing and grading in Photoshop. It’s my basic workflow.” Below is Damien’s poster for The Escapists’ Gentleman’s Club EP, …

  • jvwhite

    Thanks for sharing these tip. This can help me a lot on designing my banner.

  • E Mahnot


  • Design Mohamed Arafet

    why you use RGB color mode for a poster ?  a Poster is going to be printed in offset so it’s CMYK Mode color to use.
    thank you fot the tutorial.

  • Israpil Nalgiev

    easy to follow tutorial, just finished my poster :D

  • Anonymous

    @a440ee408a75480f8097d6475c5b67ee:disqus Good point! Yes, it must be in CMYK if it must be printed. Alternatively, you can change the mode/settings to CMYK later too.

    @google-a9c54890bd48eefd90467e12f140193f:disqus How about showing+sharing with us on what you’ve made. Would love to see. Would you like to see more tuts here? Do give us some ideas…

  • From_Singapore

    Awesome!!! Thanks for the posts!

  • Ace

    How to create the outer depth? Please explain!
    Im a mac user. Alt+Right keyboard key doesnt seem to work..
    Please help me with this!

    • pixelonomics

      Alt (option in mac) combined with arrow key basically duplicates the layer and pushes it by 1 px in the arrow’s direction.

      Hope it resolves the process for you!

  • Rein John Falcon

    I can’t download the font. Where can I download it?

  • Coolio

    These styles of typography must always do in smart objects style for quick editing and much more professional look. Great Tut btw.

  • Neha Sharma

    Awesome tutorial!

  • MARY

    i cant make the outside depth part, PLEASE HELP ME

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