Create A Vintage Style Poster

October 4, 2010
Posted By: Jonden Jackson

In this tutorial you will be creating a very tasty and Vintage Style 11×17 print ready poster. So put on some lo-fi and let’s get started.

First we will want to download the source files, simply click Download to download the .zip file.


Below is an image of what we will be creating


1. Well to start off, lets look at the basic print aspects associated with this poster job. Posters are often, or commonly, 11″x17″ …so we ought to set our canvas parameters for this size. However, lets give it at least a .25″ inch bleed, so add a .125″ buffer to each side of the poster. Of course, we also want to work at 300 DPI. Now, mass printers often run all their prints in CMYK, but it is relatively difficult to work in CMYK layers, so we’ll work in RGB till we have a finished design, then convert to CMYK.


2. Now that you have your canvas (which may be white, depending on your preference settings), lets pick a color. I’m going to go with a random one, a raw pea or dirty lime green color. not the most comforting of colors, but why not. let’s be edgy and grotesque.

Step 2

3. Next up, a healthy gradient running a nice, ghastly blue-grey birthed from the warning signs of an oncoming storm into a particularly vile green color of choice. Let’s use a gradient fill that is just the blue color going into a transparency of that blue color rather than the white transparency photoshop automatically supplies you with in most cases.

Step 3

4. Lets grab a photo of choice, in this case, the one supplied which i shot randomly one day.. it has some decent color about it.. go ahead and drop it in there. Now the file i provided you with, I added a bit of black to the top of it to make up for some empty space it created. Now, if you just dropped it in there, what would be the point of the background colors we mustered up? well, go ahead and set that photo layer to “hard light” in the blending mode drop-down menu.

Step 4

5. Now as you can see in the two screen shots above, a good bit of the color is blacked out in a portion of the photo.. create two layers, and shade in some more black color space. the first layer, set the blending more to soft light, and leave a good amount of the blue color visible overhead of the plant. for the second layer, set that to normal, and halo the black in a good bit more. This way we create a bit of depth and “spotlight” to the image.

Step 5

6. Here we feed the poster a bit of texture. The texture you’re provided with is an edited version of a photo i took of bubbles in a bathtub believe it or not. This texture can similarly be achieved with spray paint as well. Anyhow, set this layer in appropriately and place its blending mode in “screen.” Now, you may want to erase, burn, or mask out any areas that you feel are a bit over the top for aesthetic stake.. or you may want to add more in with the cloning tool.

Step 6

7. Now, with using the same blending mode, Screen, drop the other scenic photo into the upper negative black space of the poster.

Step 7

8. In this stage, we drop in a layer of bland yellow and set the blending mode to “color” for the desired monochromatic effect, but we’ll need to mask out with a moderate and opaque brush setting to allow some of the base color to come through as seen in the screenshot.

Step 8

9. For the added vintage look, a reddish brown layer set to “lighten” will be used to replace the darker areas of black.

Step 9

10. To give the upper portion added glow and highlight, we’ll put in a a gradient layer of orange to black, and set that to “screen” to allow the orange fade

Step 10

11. We’re getting close to completion, and with that being said, lets work in some additional design and color traits. Using the circular marquee tool, create a rather large circular area to which we brush in some light colors. Play with the opacity of the brush a bit to gently work in the highlights and hues. Also play with the blending modes to get it where you want it to be.

Step 11

12. Here I threw in a border, the logos, and some text. Again, play around a bit with masking, blending modes, and layer order to achieve the placement and look you want to obtain.

Step 12

13. Last but not least, take the last texture provided, and set the blending mode to “color burn” and let it sit on top of the layers to give it a more worn, and paper-styled / weathered photograph appeal. Now you have yourself a fancy, vintage style’d poster with a modern kick!

Step 13

  1. Steve Mullen

    Posted on Oct 4th, 2010 at 9:53

    Nice work man! Love the outcome on this.

  2. Logan Dickerson

    Posted on Oct 19th, 2010 at 9:53

    Really love it! Looks great. Makes me think of some of the poster work by Jeff of GoMedia.

    May I ask why Sons of Nero’s logo is also on the poster?

  3. Devin Miller

    Posted on Oct 29th, 2010 at 9:53

    Wow. Nice explanation. Wish I could whip something like that out – but it still seems like magic to me. You designers sure have some tricks to your trade.

    Cool to see the process.

  4. Jonden Jackson

    Posted on Oct 29th, 2010 at 9:53

    @Devin Thank you, I can also say the same of Content writing for the web. That is pure magic to me!

    @Logan This was a creation / tutorial from Aaron Marsh of Sons of Nero, we have been teaming up with the Sons guys lately for projects and this was one of them. More special appearances from him in the blog to come I am sure.

  5. Prakash

    Posted on Dec 1st, 2010 at 9:53

    Amazing designs. I really love these designs of vintage style posters which are such creative & effective.

    Glad to see your design process.