Are you ready to unleash creativity?

This repository of artistic tips, tutorials and inspiration is designed to help you achieve just that. Along with the Banner Archives, we hope this serves as your one-stop-shop for all your artistic needs here @ HC!

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Articles to aid your design

Preparing to design your own banner? Wondering how to create that masterpiece you envisioned?

Fret not! Art-maestro or budding banner painter, let this mini-guide jumpstart your journey!


Paint - Non soluble, avoid enamel variants

Brushes - Get different sizes for covering large swathes down to the nitty gritty

Cloth - Procure from Chinatown Complex (textile haven)

Chalk - Transferring design onto cloth. Use dark colors.

Masking tape - Secure cloth onto flat, vertical surface for chalking

Computer & Projector - Display digital image for chalking


Maximum Dimensions: 30m²

Teacher's endorsement + approval form

1) Start by sewing your cloth together as it comes in 1m wide strips. You would probably want to get the shop to sew for you for convenience.

2) Once your cloth is ready, set up your projector such that your design is projected on a flat, vertical surface (classroom walls suffice)

3) Use your tape to stick your banner cloth onto the wall. Make sure it is straight!

4) Divide your digital image into fixed segments with proportions(1m: 1 segment) by using guides. Note that this has to be done in proportion to your banner size and varies. Scaling is extremely important!

5) Start chalking! Shift your banner cloth along the wall and repeat until the entire design is chalked onto the cloth, taking scale into account. Slight misalignment can be corrected during painting itself.

6) Now you can start painting! Move your chalked banner over to the BPA and get ready for hours of fun filled painting. Make sure that you follow the guidelines and be considerate if others are using the area as well! Lay the area with newspapers, use recycled cardboard as your palettes and get down to work!

7) If necessary, mix paint for the colours that you may need, but ensure you mix a moderate quantity. Paint if left exposed to air will harden, so make sure you also cover your paint tins! Also wash brushes after painting!

8) Once you’re satisfied with your masterpiece, cut equidistant small holes along the top edge of the banner and reinforce the opening with duct tape. This would be where your rope will thread through to hang on the railings!

9) Check with your teacher regarding administrative details and be ready to present your banner to the school during morning bridge announcement!

Before one cooks, one must understand the ingredients. Likewise, before we embark on our banner adventures, we must understand the basic principles and elements of design.

Colour schemes are important as they can affect the mood that a banner is trying to portray! In addition, it is important to know which colours blend or contrast with others in order to create a more balanced and harmonious design.

In terms of affecting the mood, there are two broad-based colour schemes: a warm or cool colour palette. A warm colour palette tends towards reds. A cool one, conversely, contains hues of blues. Have a look at the chart below!

A warm palette is more upbeat - it signifies warmth, passion and energy. An all time favourite for festival - themed banners.
A cool palette, on the other hand, is more calm and subtle, even introspective. An SL banner could work well with this.

An example would be our Senior Promenade banner and Teachers’ Day banner! As shown, the Senior Promenade banner contains many hues of blue, violet and yellow green as opposed to the reds and yellows of the Teachers’ Day banner. See the difference below!

In addition, it would be useful to have knowledge of complementary and analogous colours. With reference to the color wheel below, complementary colours are colours that are directly opposite each other.

They are the most contrasting of colour pairs, which can help in various ways such as making your text more visible against a background! Analogous colours, however, are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. They can hence blend in with one another, creating nuanced yet visible variations in hue.

For example, blue and orange are directly opposite one another on the colour wheel. Hence, they contrast each other and reinforce each other’s brightness (instead of overpowering one another). A cool article illustrates how this is commonly used in movie posters - have a look: http://www.slashfilm.com/orangeblue-contrast-in-movie-posters/

Banners are essentially pictures. That means that in order for it to convey its message clearly, it has to be clear and coherent. In order to achieve this coherence, it is important for one to know some basic elements of composition.

Composition is the logical organization of different elements inside a design. With good composition, a design will appear harmonious, balanced, and pleasing to the eye. A bad composition, however, may leave the viewer confused.

The use of rhythm is one of the key elements of composition. To achieve rhythm in a design, a certain shape, object, or even colour can be repeatedly used throughout the design. When such objects or areas of colour are arranged in a purposeful manner to create a pattern, it attracts the viewer’s eye and maintains one’s attention.

Focus is yet another important part of composition. It involves creating a focal point, allowing the viewer to concentrate on a certain important section of the design. This can be achieved through different ways.
We can consider using the rule of thirds! The rule of thirds is a commonly used term in photography, often used to compose a scene that appears balanced. However, it also creates focal points. Let’s have a look at this picture below!

These horizontal and vertical lines you see running across the pictures are drawn at the thirds in the length and height of the photo. As a result, they intersect, creating focal points. Can you see how aligning the face of the Statue of Liberty to the intersection immediately draws our eye to it? In short, to emphasize on the key areas of your design, it can be useful to align it according to the rule of thirds!

At last, we move on to our final element of design - space and volume! In essence, this dictates whether your design is a flat, 2D pattern or a more realistic 3D scene. By representing the elements in your design differently, it can manipulate the perceived space and depth, producing things from sticker-like shapes and symbols to objects that seem to “pop” right out of the banner! Here are some broad examples to illustrate some various effects!

Minimalist or cartoonish style
The usage of flat areas of colours help to create a 2D effect. Simple, clear, and bold. Use different colours and shapes to make it interesting!

2D with shadows and lighting
Despite having flat areas of colour throughout the majority of the banner, the use of shadows and highlights help to give it volumetric form. This is generally popular with the school population, and is rather easy to paint!

Not for the faint of hearted. One will need to use lighting, atmospheric effects, and perspective to create a highly realistic design.
It will take a lot of time to paint due to the large amounts of details and gradients. It would be best to composite photographs and images from Google to create such designs, instead of drawing it by hand!

There are many ways to make a design work. However, be aware that there are equally many ways to ruin a design. During the conceptualization process, you will find the above tips extremely handy to help conceive the ultimate masterpiece. However, it is also important to scour the web for other elements of the design as this list is definitely not exhaustive.

Without prior experience, creating a unique banner design might seem daunting to some. But do not fear, we have broken up the process into a series of simple, easy-to-follow steps below. Enjoy!

Take out a sheet of paper and a pen. Doing good? Now, consider these basic details such as the name of the event, date, venue and time. Is it an SL project for the needy? Or is it publicity for a new play?
In addition, it would also be good to note if there is a logo required (your CCA logo, perhaps?) and any other important sponsors or symbols.
Write these key details down in a summarized form.

Once you have noted the above information, you can begin thinking about what you want your banner to look like!
Grab another piece of blank paper. Using a pencil, delineate the boundaries and dimensions of your banner as accurately as possible. Within this space, quickly draw out a simple layout of how you want the elements of your banner to be arranged.
For the sake of convenience, you may use simple boxes, circles and writing to block out the basic composition. You should get something like this!

Not satisfied?

Perhaps it could be due to how your banner is composed.
Sketch out a few more layouts with your elements arranged in different configurations. If in doubt, ask a friend or refer to our previous tutorial on elements of design for some help.
When you finally get a composition that you are happy with, move on to the next step!

Need inspiration for designs? Check out our Inspire tab for some sources to get those creative juices flowing!

There are many ways to approach design, but we'll be covering the two basic ones.


For the traditional approach, sketch out your design lightly in soft pencil. Don’t be afraid to use a ruler or pictorial references to help you! You should end up with something like this:

Next, you will have to ink your work. It ensures that the digitized version is clean and easier to chalk from! Simply grab a pen (preferably a gel pen) and trace your lines REALLY CAREFULLY.
When you are done, give it a moment to dry and then erase off the pencil marks without tearing the paper.
You should be left with a clean set of linework, fresh and ready for scanning!

Finally, use a scanner to scan in your design preferably at 300dpi! The greater the dpi, the greater the resolution. However, a trade-off for this would be a larger file size. Once it is saved as a JPEG in your computer, you are essentially done. Hooray!


Firstly, search for the images you would like to use on the web. Google is your best friend! Next, using a photo-editing application, load up your images and crop them to the required sections needed! Apart from Photoshop, there are a few free applications out there on the web used for photo editing.
My top 2 recommendations are included below:

- GIMP, an open-source photo editor. Many functions, but takes a while to learn
- Pixlr.com, an online photo editor. Easier to use, and contains the basic functions needed.

The lasso tool and eraser tool come in really handy for this job. Make sure you erase the edges of your desired “cutout” carefully. After that, arrange them according to the composition you created just a while ago! Finally, add in any required text with custom fonts if you desire.

Here is an example from one of our Citygate prototype designs from MAF 2013:

The above image was created by combining a cropped image of a woman and another image of a forest. This can quickly help you to block out the main components in your design, or even serve as a reference for painting in the final product.

There are, of course, different approaches to creating banner designs, and everyone has their unique style. However, we hope that it is simple enough to follow. Do not forget: be brave and daring in your designs! Dare to be different, and try out new things.
Though the painting process may prove to be challenging, who knows? Your banner might become one of the best banners out there in the history of the Central Plaza!

Typography in design involves the manipulation of typefaces to create a unique look for text. One should always consider readability and aesthetics when designing the art of the particular text!
The information here is adapted from: https://designshack.net/articles/graphics/8-rules-for-creating-effective-typography/

Even spacing in between letters should be observed to ensure uniformity and comfort in reading. This is especially important when the words used are large, such as in headings and in focal areas. Additionally, spacings in between letters can be manipulated to emphasis certain words.

Left align is used by the masses by default, and is seen commonly in articles and paragraphs. Right align is rather uncommon as it provides a rather unnatural read. Central align is most commonly seen on graphic designs where a line of text is placed in the center of the design.
One should avoid mixing alignments as it makes the reader confused.

Use smaller sized words to de-emphasise words that are not so important and use large sizes to screamed out the words that are. The trick is to get the viewer to read the important parts as soon as they see the headline, almost at a glance.
With a variety of sizes, the text can be arranged in an interesting manner.

Different fonts convey different meanings. It is good to do some home work on what each styles represents. For instance, thick fonts with hard edges tend to look more masculine and manly while curvy, thin fonts appear feminine and girly. They each can be used to appeal to their specific target audiences.

The supporting font (for example, sub-headings) should not draw attention away from the primary font (headings). The primary font should always have more emphasis. Some tips to complement the secondary font with the primary one:

  1. Use different thickness and stroke weight
  2. Vary styles (Serif vs Sans Serif)
  3. Use contrasting fonts

Do keep in mind that the contrasts should avoid causing visual confusion!

Keep a lookout for inspiration especially in advertisments and on the web! Never restrict yourself and do not be afraid to be creative with your font style.


Simple and succint -- step-by-step GIFs aid your banner painting escapades

Straight Lines


Curved Lines

Solid Areas


Get inspired

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