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Make Your Own WANTED Poster

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Fonts, Paper Textures, and Tutorials
Wanted Posters made by Jacci

These Wanted posters were made using primarily free software (plus some work in Photoshop), free fonts, free textures, and family photos.

© Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com

You can use an online tool or a specialty printer, or you can create your own unique customized WANTED poster using free fonts, free papers, and tutorials. Use these custom posters as gifts, party invitations, decorations, and greeting cards. Use your favorite desktop publishing software to design and print your Old West style WANTED poster. Or come up with a completely different style.

 

How to Make a Wanted Poster

These steps are the generic basics for an Old West style of poster. For detailed tutorials and all the resources you need, see the sections that follow.
  1. Use a paper texture that is old, faded, wrinkled, or torn.
  2. Add a photo. Turn a photo into a sepia print for that old, antique look.
  3. Add text. Type WANTED in a big bold slab serif Western font across the top of the poster.
  4. Add additional text such as the crime and any reward offered.
  5. Add a wood texture to the background if you want to make the poster appear to be plastered on the side of a building.

Free Papers and Wood Textures

You could print out your Wanted poster on some tan, brown, or gold parchment look paper. Or, get free textures. A few to look at: If you want to put your poster up on the side of a building, you can get free wood plank textures for a background. A few to look at:
  • Flat Wood Textures at Mayang's Textures includes the wooden plank in the background of the example Wanted poster on the left.
  • Sue's Wood Pattern Textures Set (About.com Graphics Software) for Photoshop includes the pattern seen in the background of the Wanted poster on the right.

Mug Shots

You don't have to use sepia-toned photographs or ugly mug shots if you don't want to but they can add a fun touch. Candid or posed photos are fine.
  • These tips for making your own mug shots (police booking photos) can apply to your Wanted poster as well.
  • Sepia Toned Photos (about.com) includes tutorials for Photoshop and 9 other programs.
  • Throw some props into the photo. Put the person behind bars. Add big black and white stripes across their clothing. For a birthday-themed poster add a silly party hat or scatter star-shaped confetti that looks like little Sheriff's badges.

Free Western Fonts

Slab serif fonts create the typical Old West Wanted poster look. Commercial fonts you may already have installed that work well for a Western look include Wanted, Playbill, Rockwell, Mesquite, and Ponderosa. Additionally, I've rounded up a handful of free slab serif fonts that I think work especially well. The example posters, above, use Perdido and Nashville.
Grab some free Slab Serif Western Fonts for WANTED Posters.

Tutorials

Make It Online

Upload a photo then choose the other features you want and these online tools will create your Wanted poster for you.
  • Glassgiant includes suggestions for lots of fun crimes such as cattle rustlin' or public intoxication or heart stealin' or flip-flopping or caffeine addiction.
  • Tuxpi has a lot of different photo effects including Wanted poster.

Example Wanted Posters

The examples, above, were created in Serif PagePlus Starter Edition and Adobe Photoshop using the free fonts and textures described above. The first poster could be a fun invitation to a party honoring a certain person (or a couple in the case of an anniversary). The second poster (yes, that's me) includes the following crime and reward:
Wanted for Felony Font Abuse
Reward: The satisfaction of aiding in the eradication of bad kerning, font overload, use of Comic Sans, & other crimes against good design.
Posters and Fliers - Poster Design Tutorials and Examples
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