Craft a Graduation Poster to Celebrate for a Lifetime

Congrats, Grads! (And grad families.) You've worked so hard to get here and we want to help you celebrate your special moment. Whether you’re throwing a grad bash, or simply want to gift your grad with a forever memento, boy do we have a ton in store for you!

Today, we’re chatting all things graduation posters, starting with what they are, how to make them in PicMonkey, and what to include in them.

Let's do the thing.

What is a graduation poster?

Customize this template to celebrate!

With graduation comes family, friends, partners, mentors, and teachers. We know so many have informed this moment and it truly does take a village to get here. So give yourself a solid pat on the back from us to you.

If you're wondering the best way to honor your efforts, we've got just the thing: a party! And what better way to host a snazzy party than with a decorative graduation poster?

Graduation posters are posters designed to sport your portrait, degree, tassels, or other tokens of your accomplishments through visual representation. They're easily customizable to host school colors, mascots, or quotes that represent your academic experience.

So far at PicMonkey, we've explored graduation announcements and senior yearbook ad design ideas. Now throwing graduation posters into the mix, keeping these three resources in your corner will do you well, as you can repurpose assets from those for this!

Similar to regular posters or flyers, graduation posters should be sized a few different ways. Here are the deets.

A4 posters (8.5" x 11"): 2550 x 3300 px

Small posters: (11" x 17"): 3300 x 5100 px

Medium posters (18" x 24"): 2550 x 3300 px

Large posters (24" x 36"): 3000 x 4500 px

If numbers weren’t your forte in school, don’t sweat! These sizes are simply a rule of thumb. In PicMonkey, however, your sizing options will automatically convert inches to pixels (you’re welcome).

For a lil cheat sheet on popular photo sizes, peep this page for your sizing pleasure.

Start with a blank canvas

Know that if you start from scratch with a blank canvas, you can type any of these specs into the Create custom toolbar. Or, you can scroll to Print Sizes and find the right dimensions.

You can also scroll or search (CTRL or Command + F) "poster" or "flyer" for the right specs. Simply click to open.

Once you're inside the tool, consider adding the following:

  1. Image of the graduate (use the Photos & Video tab)

  2. Text with important celebration details (use the Text tab)

  3. Background textures or effects (use the Textures and Effects tabs)

  4. School-related graphics (use the Graphics tab)

  5. Colored accents (use the Change color tab)

Simply take your design step by step to customize in a way that suits you. You can get as granular or general as you like using all options on the lefthand menu. It's intuitive, we promise!

Start with an artist-crafted template

If you start from a ready-made template, you'll want PicMonkey's Resize and Smart Resize assets at the ready. You can either click Edits > Resize to type your specs into the Width and Height boxes, or you can use Smart Resize (available to Pros) to adjust your design in just one-click.

Smart Resize is also your one-stop-shop asset for turning your grad poster into a Facebook post, Instagram post, website banner, or whatever other digital needs you have. You can do that all in once without a stressful thought.

Templates you may peruse before customizing your design include:

Of course, using graduation templates are most likely to get you where you want to be faster. However, PicMonkey's poster and flyer templates may give you unique design ideas for your grad poster, too.

Whether you end up using the template for inspo or to customize, all options are here for the taking. It's simply our job to make your life easier (and hopefully more fun).

Top 5 graduation poster design ideas

You might already be thinking about how to craft your graduation poster, so we want to stir the creative pot a bit with the following design tips.

Let's set the scene. Maybe you're hosting people at your house, outside, or at a nice venue. The graduation poster rests on a classy sign stand so people know where to go and who they're celebrating.

What's your ideal vision?

1. Black and white with gold all over

Customize this template to celebrate!

Have a favorite professional photo laying around? Whether from sports, school pictures, fine arts, or family shoots, consider using a personality-infused photo to show off to your loved ones.

Edit with PicMonkey's several black and white edits that live in the Effects tab. Adjust Intensity and Fade to your heart's content. As for the text, be sure the colors (and fonts) are legible and complementary.

To customize text with a texture, simply highlight the text box, then click Textures to fill the text with Glitter or Foil. Sweet!

2. Model shot

Customize this template to celebrate!

They grow up so fast, don't they? Remember when we mentioned repurposing announcements as your grad poster (or vice versa)? Now's the time!

Make cohesive designs with Smart Resize; turn this poster into an invitation, then enlarge it to keep it forever. Can't you just see this masterpiece hanging in Dad's office for many moons to come?

3. Big and bold headlines

Customize this template to celebrate!

Consider your headline (because this is big news, after all). Visual hierarchy guides the reader and big text makes a statement.

Design-wise, dark backgrounds and white text read well together.

Will your text highlight:

  • The year?

  • The graduate's name?

  • The school's name?

  • A phrase like, "Let's celebrate?"

There's no wrong answer here. Simply map out your text accordingly with enough space for finer details below. Smaller text details may include:

  • Date (day, month, year), time, location

  • Student's name

  • Well wishes

  • Sentimental phrases like "Let's see Brad off into his next chapter"

  • Summarized accomplishments

We'll chat about these details a bit later in more detail.

Of course, you don't have to go out of your way to take photo shoots for these posters, unless you want to. Any photo that feels relevant to the graduate's persona or academic experience is perfect.

If you don't want to use a photo of the graduate, substitute the background for an image of the school, nature, or a stock photo that captures the moment.

To peruse those options in PicMonkey, simply click the Photos & Video tab, type keywords into the search bar, then click to drop onto the canvas!

4. Go horizontal instead

Customize this template to celebrate!

Not into the vertical look? No sweat! Simply flip your canvas specs. So, instead of a 2550 x 3300 px, you can simply reverse those sizes—3300 x 2550 px—for a horizontal look.

The faded or blurred background look is also a great choice to make the graduate pop. To play with blurs and fades in PicMonkey, visit the Effects tab for Soften, Orton, Focal Blur (as shown above), or Bokeh (from the Textures tab).

5. Sport the cap and gown

Customize this template to celebrate!

If you're celebrating a bit after the graduation ceremony, you can get an epic action shot of your graduate and sport it for your grad poster.

Notice how the colors in this photo absolutely pop. Use PicMonkey's divine touchup tools to correct any blemishes, add makeup accents, or crop out accidental photo-bombers.

8 last-minute quick tips for epic graduation posters

Customize this template to celebrate!

Beyond the aforementioned design ideas, you can also turns yours into a collage. This way, you can sport multiple faces of your graduate using various editing styles (like the one above).

Or, you can use different images like one of the school, one of the graduate, and an image of them in sports. To go about this layout, simply click Collage, select your favorite, then drag and drop the cells to suit your liking. Select Photos & Video > Add photo & video to upload your own.

Some other quick design tips for a quality graduation poster? You got it!

1. Have a brainstorm sesh

Write out your most important info in a journal first before you begin making the graduation poster in PicMonkey. This will help you clarify how much text goes on the canvas and where to place it as you go.

2. Emphasize the graduate's name

Don’t forget to make the graduate’s name the star of the show. First or first and last names are great to include on your poster. Place the name in the center of the canvas with bold, underlined, or italic text. Or, use the Shadow & Outline button instead to grab people’s attention.  For a comprehensive tutorial on getting trendy, outlined looks, also check out: Behind the Design: Get the Trendy Outline Sketch Look.

3. Include the celebration time and date

Display the most important information for your celebratory event in whatever creative way suits you. Consider visual hierarchy by listing the most important pieces of information from top to bottom. Lead viewers with your design.  

Note that all of this is merely suggestion, not required. If your poster rests outside a banquet hall room, it helps guide people to the right place.

Oftentimes, venues host multiple parties at once. No need for your attendees to be wandering the halls or winding up in the wrong place.

4. Include the graduation venue

The graduation venue is an important part of your graduation poster, as it lets folks know where to gather for the big day. Sometimes graduation ceremonies take place on campus, but other times, they might be somewhere in town. In retrospect, it'll be nice to remember where you held that memorable bash.

The venue should be presented clearly. Make sure it is not too small or too big for legibility. You want it to be easily seen, but you also don’t want it to take attention away from the name of the student.

5. Highlight your proudest moments

Your future is bright, and this poster should show it! Did you graduate in the top 10% of your class? Make the honor roll? Your loved ones want to know! You can say a lot in just a few words and let the rest speak volumes.

Depending on which canvas you choose, make a list of important extracurriculars, awards, and recognitions. Were you president of the student government, or the head theater lead? Don't be shy! It's your time to shine, so toot your own horn like the best of 'em!

6. Showcase a stellar photo

Graduation pictures are a piece of art! You can repurpose senior yearbook photos or stage a shoot in nature. Whatever you choose, make sure the image is in high-res for you to show your smile to all.

Hey, you might even frame and repurpose your photos for dinner centerpieces later. Many choose to also keep graduation posters, so you’ll want it to be as high quality as possible so you can enjoy it for many years to come.

7. Include a sentimental quote

Dazzle your loved ones with inspiring and motivational quotes that you feel go well with your academic journey. You can peruse PicMonkey’s stunning quote templates for some inspo.

If you're not feeling particularly drawn to a professional passage, don't force it. Consider using a quote from a teacher, coach, or mentor who helped you along the way.

8. Download and share

Once you've completed your poster, there are also multiple ways to download your design. Simply click Download, select your preferred file type, then click Download again.

Save to your desktop, then upload it straight to social, or click the Share button to upload it for all to see. If uploading to Facebook or Twitter, tag the graduate so everyone can celebrate them at once!

You’ll also receive a shareable link to your finished design and you will be able to forever access it within Hub, our awesome (and immortal) cloud storage.

Of course, it’s best to select High-quality when you download. Now you're set!

That's it, graduates! There's nothing quite like the ripple effect of momentous milestones like this one. Ride the wave of congratulations and enjoy each step of the journey. Let others praise you for your success; you deserve it! 

Ready to make a life-long memory? Hop into PicMonkey and get started! One step at a time, your poster's on its way. Happy designing!

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Paige Frisone

Paige is a Colorado-based Certified LifeLine® Practitioner, writing coach, and psychosomatic poet. She geeks out about the neuroscience of emotions and the impact of the subconscious mind on waking life. In her free time, she grooves to dancey beats outdoors while befriending local mountains.