Guide to designing Indian Political Posters

Are some misinformed people telling you that IT, Retail and Property are the new explosive growth industries? Do not pay any attention to them. In fact, if the industry I am going to be talking about has its way, you will not be able to pay attention to anything else.

Indian Political Posters.

There are more DMK, AIADMK, BJP and Congress posters than trees in Chennai. Further, it is estimated that in the next 5 years, political posters will cover the entire surface of India with a kilometer thick layer of bamboo poles, plastic sheets, lies, bombast and questionable graphic design. So if you even have half a neuron dedicated to the pursuit of common sense, you will stop wasting your time reading blogs and gain what is arguably the most in-demand skill in India today – Political Poster Design using Adobe Photoshop CS3. And look no further. As a consultant, I normally do not offer tutorial services for free, but I offer this course free in the hope that many of you, my astute readers, will learn, apply, become famous and consider giving me some guru dakshina in the form of numbered swiss accounts.

I had, a long while ago, touched briefly upon the creative design process that is required to produce masterpieces in this emerging field. This post, however, is the full guide.

Step 1: The Context

Most political posters are designed to welcome The Man. The Man is the Big Boss who arrives in town to address a rally and choke traffic for many hours.

Step 2: The Canvas

Depending on which political party one is designing for, an appropriate canvas must be chosen.

For the Dravidian Moronocracy,

pp1.jpg

a subtle gradient of black, yellow and red will be suitable.

For the Shifty Seculocracy and the Hindutva Holycrapocracy,

pp2.jpg

Nothing other than a reaffirming tricolour background will do.

Step 3: The Organizers

Every political poster has minuscule sized photos of local party functionaries who are in charge of welcoming The Man. Keep them in the bottom half of the canvas, and use fonts with contrasting colors and shadow effects for their names. Do not forget to mention their designations.

pp3.jpg

Step 4: The Man

The most important part of the poster is The Man. The Big Boss. The raison d’etre of the poster. It is critical to capture the essence of his greatness through the use of various poses. Here are some ideas that are considered safe bets

  • Great Communicator – holding cellphone
  • Great Visionary – showing directions, pointing fingers. This should be the largest component of the entire poster.
  • Always a winner – showing “V” with fingers
  • Thought Leader and Literary genius- pondering with pen. This works especially well when used in conjunction with a slight transparency/low opacity effect.
  • Man of power – Oh. Yes. The Tiger.

So, here is what the poster will look like once we use the “Great Visionary” pose.

pp4.jpg

Ah. But something is missing, isn’t it? The Man is simply not standing out. So we apply…

pp5.jpg

The Glow.

Let’s now use the rest of The Man’s poses to bring our poster closer to completion.

pp6.jpg

Are we done yet? Of course not. No political poster is complete without the addition of images of

  • Unrelated famous people
  • Unrelated dead people

In our case, we will use the following two.

pp7.jpg

Ok. The dead guy (on the left of The Man) is not exactly Dravidian, but he is Branch Dravidian.

Which finally brings us to the final component of political poster design,

Step 5: The Text

Use random grandients with gay (or straight) abandon and use powerful language that conveys the true greatness of The Man. Do not forget to welcome him and most importantly, do not forget his educational qualifications.

The final Dravidian Moronocracy version

pp81.jpg

The final Shifty Seculocracy version. Note the addition of the dismembered tricolour gradiented hand and the image of Vatsyayana on the left of The Man. Why him, you wonder? He was an ancient expert on various kinds of Congress.

pp91.jpg

And the final Hindutva Holycrapocracy version,

pp101.jpg

Note the addition of the Vaali-killer on the left and the Indus Valley dude. This party’s revisionist History textbooks would like us to believe that he was Hindu as well.

And that will bring us to the end of the poster design process. Now go cut down an entire banana plantation and place them along the entire route from the airport to Marina Beach and welcome your leader.

ps: Thanks to younger brother for taking the photos and my wife for creative design inputs on the look and feel of the posters.

And to those who are bound to ask – “How do I find the time to do this?”, the answer is here

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160 replies

  1. well now I can officially call you thalaiva! the poster sez it all…..

    I still cant believe that you got dressed up for the pic, for your utter devotion to bloggable content and determination to go the extra mile in narcissism I hereby crown you the emperor of ‘jalsapuram’.
    Ashok: Would you believe that I had dressed up in a veshti to go to a Aruna Sairam concert and decided to take a 5 minute photo session detour with my brother to do this? It wasn’t all that elaborately planned

  2. bwahahahaha. Any poster with vadivelu has my vote!

  3. I feel that the pen and the cellphone in the pictures distract and mislead the viewer. Clearly what the Great Political Leader is really doing is staring soulfully towards the heavens, and is filled with spiritual power.

    This does not, of course, apply to the Dravidian Moronocracy poster.

  4. loo.su.mani still lol’ing

    one of these days am gonna choke myself laughing this hard and all medical bills will be jimbly directed to KA, 420, jalsa street, jilpa oor, gilma nadu :)

  5. What a stunning production! Reproduction is not desirable for Mr. MLA , BADASS, only that everyone should come with him…., it is merely a temperory recreation. See more once the epidemic of plantain cultivation results in a banana republic! :-D

  6. Everybody,
    Thank you :)

    A,
    The cellphone is a recurring theme in Chennai posters. It seems to convey a sense of always being busy at work in service of the nation and a sense of authorizing transfers of undisclosed sums of money to numbered accounts in Geneva

    Greatbong,
    Honoured to have received accolades from the great man himself :) I am a fan of your blog.

  7. Yet another nice from from Krishblog. Cool stuff..

    One small item missing…Designations….

    Past and present designations of Matter Mani, Loo Su Mani, Pay Mani…Like..

    Loo Su Mani… MC, Ex-PI (Pulal Inmate)
    Pay Mani… Ex MC, MJ (Madurai Jail)
    Matter Mani.. MP, Ex-MC, Ex-PI, Ex-MJ, Member AIJCC (All India Jailed Criminals Comminaate)

  8. Of course, even if you are as typically Krishna-varnam as all of our Thalaignyar selvams, you will become a fair skinned, even rosy-cheeked messiah in the posters.

    When our hot land went through Ramachandra Raajyam, his posters always showed him striding at a fast clip, teeth agleam, steel Rolex OUTSIDE, clamping down his barrel cuffs.

    All his thohudhi vaetpaLar-s from Aranthangi to Zam Bazar via Sathanur and Manamadurai quickly followed suit and wore their steel HMTs (to be quickly replaced by RADOs once the dough began rolling in) outside as well. They sadly eschewed the fur cap while a lot of them enthusiastically wore the shades and shawls.

    I am severely disappointed by the lady vetpaLars of today, as none of them seem to want to copy the cloaked style of Dr. Amma Puratchi thalaivi.

    Of the support cast, I am intrigued by the vaazhthu madal composers. The excruciatingly florid and cringe inducing stuff rendered by a bright eyed teenager with a fanatic gleam in his(or her) eye fascinates me no end.

    Not just the doggerel, but the poets themselves. Why the need to imbue someone they don’t know from a steaming pile of night-soil with such god-like qualities?

    I suppose it is easy to be cynical and say they are in it for the same reason as everyone else in that gathering, however I have often gotten the feeling their motives somehow transcend the common

  9. Absolutely amazing. When I go into politics, I will hire you as my official poster maker.

  10. Ha ha, you actually dressed up in an appropriately spiffy outfit to get ‘your message out’, so to speak! Your unwavering dedication to color co-ordination is something to be envied indeed. I mean, the poster perfectly matches the zari in your angavastram! Now that to me, speak volumes about a political candidate.

  11. Dude, you should totally print these out and post them around the neighborhood to see what will happen. Combine it with a flash mob event and you’ll have all of Chennai buzzing. :D

  12. Wazzzzzzzzzzzzzome! Truleee Awezzzome!

  13. LOL!!! This is hilarious!!! A request…pls don’t post these hilarious posts in the beginning of the week. One is supposed to be grumpy Mon-to-Thurs,with beginnings of a smile fag end of Friday. :) Folks at work must be wondering why I’m smiling like a git.

  14. Thalaiva!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. excellent!! your blog is great and as chennai lover away from the city, i enjoy reading your content… good work.

  16. Dhooolma!!
    A future politician is getting ready with his
    nice photos and postures.
    Shortly cheenaites can see your posters in Mount Road and Gemini Flyover.
    Dr. Matter Mani is simply superb along with Loosu mani and Pay Mani.
    BTW what is S.S in Matter Manis Qualification?

  17. Too good Krish. It is indeed a buzzing industry. And the posing trends these days are improving with cellphones (to show tech savvyness), briefcases, laptops (to appear professional) and even guns (phew).

  18. I really did think you got dressed up just for this!

  19. How many job offers have you got already! Loosu Mani takes the cake :)

  20. Brevity is the soul of wit . So

    Commendable but

    Tiger faced is a bore

    facial expression of ashok is incomplete

    The artist should have had the shawl thing in all the photos to give authenticity of status

  21. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha….. i agree with amrita… why don u jus try printing these out and stickin them around your area… lol.. i wud vot for you for sure ;)

  22. awesome work…hilarious..ha ha

  23. Tremendous hard work and creativity!!!

    I could perceive a maverick politician getting ready!!

    U can even have ur katchi’s name as Anaithindhiya aesapatta IT makkal kalagam..

  24. I think you have the perfect header image! This is so funny, I spilt coffee all over my work desk!

  25. Dude this is some seriously funny! But the way your rock renditions were awesome.. just three clips eh?

  26. Hahaha! Thank you! Just what I needed to see today :)

  27. Maplai,

    This too much, three much.

    Cheers…….Jam

  28. :) :-) I can’t add anything to this; it’s too great.

  29. Oh, I can add – Aruna Sairam concert? she is the best!!

  30. Aiya, Thalaiva,
    Rathathim rathame,
    Yen vote unnake.

  31. Thanga thalaivaaaaa!

    This one ought to rank among the 10 greatest blog posts of all time. Fantastic work!

    Since it is in the nature of these events to bestow titles upon The Man, I hereby confer upon you, the title of Gajabuja Jalsa Mani.

    Vaazhga un thondu!

    ~r

  32. Dude,

    I have known people to lay some ground work for a blog post, but man oh man! you just took the cake, the pastries and assorted bakery items along with ya!!

    That was hardcore effort, but well spent effort as I might say!

    Because you have opened my eyes to a wonderful new career in political poster creation!

    Come Monday, I quit my job, and embark on a new career path! Woo hoo!!

    Thanks a bunch,

    Bullshee

    SIMBLY AWESOME SHIT MAN!

  33. Thaaaalaiva Vazhagai………..

    Idha Padha Podhuma Innova Konjam Venumaaa

  34. Super!

    Thanks for the morning laughs!

    Somehow I was reminded of Mohan singer role(Payanangal etc.) movie posters – maybe it’s the soulful pose with the pen.

  35. If u ever decide to really enter into politics, my vote is for u!!!! :)

  36. Totally bowled over…but where is the all important, critical ‘V’ sign I say :)! Also, should have included the pic where you are givin a torn cloth..err…shawl to a poor man…aka ur brother :))!! mannn!! awesome stuff!!

  37. Thalaivarae…kouthuteenga!

  38. Your blogs are all awesome. Please continue to be prolific. The clever use of BAD ASS as a degree for thalaivar Matter Mani is very good.

  39. I’m forwarding this blog post to all the people in my contact list. That’s the only way to show how truly you made me laugh my butt off.

  40. The dadabudality of your imagination and creativity is well reflected in this post.
    Ashok – take a bow :-)

  41. Guahahaha… aha… ahahahhahhhahhahhaaaaa.

    And also, hahahhahhaaaahahahha…

  42. Heard that one of these political parties is starting a blog wing. They asked me for an eligible candidate..
    Enna Blog ani Thalaivar ayidureengala??

    btwn, this post deserves a special appreciation!!Great work!!

  43. Hahaha, awesome post…!

    Then again, that goes without saying :)

  44. as always, words fail me! in the spirit of your post, i say “thailavarukku oru ‘O’ podunga!”

    ps: blog madness infected wife and sibling too? the poor dears!

  45. I think the word holycrapocracy needs special mention!!

  46. Dumbstruck sir; Branch Dravidian and Vadivelu stole the show, not to mention The Man. But why pen? Is there a deep symbolism that I am missing completely?

  47. LOL! Super creative! Hear, hear, all future poster makers!

  48. You are outdoing yourself with every post ! Roftl ! you can soon expect followers at your door calling you ” blog ulagathin thanga thalaiva ” carrying posters and banners designed by you of course !

  49. Haha :)

    I’ve been seeing so much of this around town !
    Good stuff!

  50. Worth all the attention it is getting. Well and truly funny.

  51. ROTFL! Simply superb. Wonder why I haven’t been through your blog so long!!!

  52. kudos! very nice! :-)

  53. தல, கலக்கிட்ட போ! தலைவர் வாழ்க!

    தமிழில் போஸ்டர் இல்லையா? ஆங்கிலத்தில மட்டும் தானா? ஒரு தமிழ் போஸ்டர் இல்லையா?

    தமிழ் போஸ்டர் செய்வதற்கு சில குறிப்புகள்
    1. தமிழ் என் பேச்சு. தமிழ் என் மூச்சு. என ஒரு ஓரத்தில் எழுதுங்கள்
    2. இளைய தமிழன் என்று தங்களது பெயர் முன் போட்டுக்கொள்ளுங்கள்.

  54. onga postikku oru “O” pottu than aganum.
    :) Awesome read ! I was laughing out loud and have been furiously forwarding it since ! Really good stuff ….kudos, thalaiva…kudos.

  55. Krish,

    Absolutely hillarious. I am actually laughing loud in front of my laptop and people at home are staring at me :)

    One more poster depicting the future generation would’ve been great

    Good luck

  56. Everbody,
    Thank you.

    mbchandar,
    I suppose the use of literal english translations makes these things seem all the more ridiculous. Tamizh would make it too real :)

    Rajendran,
    No particular symbolism for the pen. I just see it being used often in posters here. And oh, nice you got the David Koresh thing :)

  57. Hey recently stumbled on your blog and me loving it!!!
    Spent a good couple of hours of client chargeable time reading through your blog! Be back for more jalsa and jilpa!!

  58. At this rate, you will be soon outdoing Kamal in terms of versatality. And that day will come…

  59. My gaad baas! Died laughing! Neengo yengeyo poi, vandhu, plane pudichu thirumbi poiteengo!

  60. I promise to post a comment- just as soon as I stop laughing!

    Please come. Please come…?

    Wot dedication to blog, blogger, blogging et al saar.

    The Canvas colours guide – awesome. I’d like few more details pleaasee;

    1. Poster sizes
    2. No fat maala round the neck? Floral garland with shiny round badge like attachments on it.
    3. No namaste gesture- hands folded pose at all? Of course I realise he (you?) have to hold phone, pen,(laptop?), angavstram, point in direction etc. but please some light on this too.

  61. General elections are round the corner thanks to Prakash Karat. People like you can make them less stressfull.

  62. Yappa.. You seem to be putting in more efforts at blogging, than most of us do at work! :D

    What I love most about the poster is ur expressiveness.. Amazing!! :)

    Just one point.. Wont it enhance the political correctness of the poster to add some patta-peyar in front of the leader’s name? The usual stuff “Tamilnaattu thangam.. lamp-post kambam” etc

  63. Mate…Fantastic. Absolutely loved reading it… :)

  64. sir…..
    awesome post sir!!!!!all these things make me laugh daily on my way to college….

  65. KA,

    Besh Besh

    I’ve read all your posts……You are Fantastic….Keep up the great work.

  66. Just loved reading your article…….awesome brains man……. keep up the good work!!!!!! :)

  67. sir ur post is tooooooooooooooooooo good these hav been my laughing factors on my way to colls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  68. the comment is reposted cos…this dint let me do any other work than re-readin it!!!!!!

  69. Hi Krish,
    Awesome! Mindblowing! Heights of Creativity!

    I got hooked to your blog from our In House Innovation blog and from then on its become my unwritten rule to visit this regularly – and I religiously do so :-)

  70. அண்ணா வணக்கமுங்க

  71. Sooper – fantastic – awsome – bale! Thanga thalivar Krish – vaalga vaalga!!

  72. man o man….tht was one hell of a laffter riot u gave me…be re-re-re-re-reading it for god knows how many times….!!

    psst: can you just temme how da hell cud you manage to keep such a straight face while posing b4 the camera when you had this post on the back of ur mind…!!!!!

  73. Loo.su mani and Dr. Matter Mani LOL .. dude you are like too funny and I wonder how you can even think about such wonderful expressions.

    I give it to you man, you rock. I am going to take the liberty to blog roll ya. It is all worth it I think !

  74. Though my blood does not come from Tamil Nadu and I lived the first 27 years of my life in other parts, yet since I was born in this Madras (I would prefer to call it that) and now that I have lived here for another 22 years, I have believed this place belongs to me more than it does to most of the other inhabitants.
    But I have been watching with dismay the decay of the old charm that made this city so unique.
    Now after reading your blog – well it looks like there is still some hope after all!!
    Thank you for your devotion to the city and the culture.

  75. Hahahahahahahhahaha…..
    wait.
    hooohahahahaha…

    Brilliant.

  76. was in a right-royally foulf mood till i opened this link my friend sent me..have been hooked ever since…and also grinning :)
    dhool machi…kalakittenga!!ennoda vote ongalukku dhaan..
    also claps for your wife and brother for helping bring to us this amazingly finished literary product…
    oh and i must add…aruna sairam’s vocal chords kick solid ass!!!!

  77. This is really hilarous! I’m going to share this with a bunch of people.

  78. Another 3 posts will make it a century. Here I am making it 98 and closely watching the comments segment.
    This post is definitely a killer!
    Kudos to you!!

  79. Deivame ! Neenga engayo poiteenga !

  80. Awesome!!! creativity, guess I could forward this to my non-tamil speaking friends.

    You are ready to contest, Goahead and check it out.

  81. dude, this stuff is kick-ass. i’m karthik’s (oops, ghanshyam nair’s) cousin from pune and into advertising. your poster wins a grand prix in the outdoor category (sub category: most use of colour with undesirable models). i freaked out on it. seriously.

  82. Awesome post, though I have my reservations whether you are capable of discharging the functions of a humble servant of the public. (You dont have a big enough belly).

  83. Loved it. Beautifully done.

  84. Thalaiva,

    Simply speechless. Kalakkitta pa. ROTFL when I came across Koresh n Vadivelu. Same for Indus valley guy. Dude, you rock.

  85. hi ashok
    Eppedi, Eppavume ippadithana ille ippadithan epavumeva. Super. Keep kalakking.

  86. simply awesome piece of poster art

  87. omg, you are insane.
    now i have to mop my guts off the floor

  88. Every time I feel a little down , I come and look at this post and laugh till I cry. Dr.Matter Mani,BADASS – you are zimbly the best !!!

  89. Damn cool :-)

  90. Hey buddy which Party did u tell u are in…I just forgot ;-)

    Awesome work

  91. Too good!!!Appreciate the efforts you have put in costumes to drive home the stark reality of how cash rich parties have become…

  92. Brilliant! You now need to follow this up with a new series of (a) our leader in a suit (international leader) (b) our leader in t-shirt, white pants and sneaks (youth leader (c) Our leader in jungle fatigues (eelam leader) (d) Our leader in veshti (puratchar thalaivar) (e) our leader in safari suit (delhi leader) (f) our leader with lap-top (IT leader) (g) etc etc

  93. hilarious….
    engal vote ungallukke!

  94. Well there’s still one major component missing, the communist bandhocracy.

  95. ROTFL.. can’t stop laughing

  96. Well, this is the 123rd comment and I am laughing as much as all the others. How lovely that you have both that sense of humour AND the tech skills to design the poster step by step.

    I just LOVED it, and I have “inflicted” it on a lot of my friends.

    ….Thank you!

  97. LOL..That was hilarious.. and a real entertaning piece :)
    Talk of Indian clichés!
    Loved it :)

  98. visiting from Bangalore

    very entertaining spoof on
    a. political posters b. adobe photoshop!

    but you left out the flower on the holycrapocracy poster :-(

    First time I have forwarded a link to others. that says it all.

  99. is coool.. he is branch davidian btw.. unless u intended to make a pun of the name..

  100. I just cant add anything to what others said except ‘Brilliant’! :)

    I have added a link to this post in my blog!

    http://shivnarayan.wordpress.com/2008/08/21/youve-gotta-see-this-the-bible-to-create-indian-political-posters/

  101. ROFL !! genius

  102. Blade party!! :) but loved readin it… :P

  103. hahahaha

    this is not only hilarious, it is yet another example of the cliche about how the two countries are sho sho shimilar.

    in pakistan, we follow almost the exact same format, but the Man unfortunately does not have the flamboyance of his Indian counterpart. he is almost inevitably looking straight at the camera. and he HAS to be dwarfed by the party leader – Nawaz Sharif, Altaf Hussain etc. sometimes, they put up pictures of the Man being kissed by the leader.

    unless you are in the PPP, where you have so many dead Bhuttos that need to be accommodated on the poster that the Man is generally insignificant.

    come have a look over at my blog, you might enjoy the pictures our BIGGEST MAN ever has distributed for our eternal veneration.

    but whatta superb post man! too good, a-one, first class, ik dum OK!

  104. krish ashok vazhga ,
    onething u left the kumbudu pose man , i mean govinda vannakam

  105. Very interesting and innovative. So much of patience and enthu! too good….

  106. lol… should have been the “just out of jail and busy at work look” not just busy at work :)

  107. Hey…this is super stuff!! Shashi hasn’t seen this…he’ll enjoy it…Didn’t know this whaco side to you when we met at sober family occassions! Haven’t seen the other stuff yet, but this poster business is just hilarious…keep it coming. See you around.

  108. eppadi thaan matter-matteraa vuttunde irukkeLo … awesome till the last …. varuga varuga “please come please come” .. ayyyyyyuuuu saar your genius supero super … the cameraman and makeover artiste awesome :)

  109. Hey Krish,
    Awesome tutorial for designers… Except, Indus Valley “Dude” is too much… The word “dude” is for high class right??? :P
    Expecting more from you… :)

    Praveen

  110. Let me have complete details to open Swiss account on your name….. very useful….

  111. so true india needs a lotta graphic designers. actually designers more than graphic designers. it’s not just Photoshop. but the sense of making it functionally more effective, not just colorfully/visually. Design is still an unknown thing in India, we all think that it’s all about drawing stuff. But there are more things than what meets the eye
    -Content designer

  112. wow., really cool and informative… its a nice way to start the booming carrier :)

  113. this is like awesomatic…. super fantastic…. :) :)

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