How to Create a Simple Retro Style Poster

Have you ever seen those retro style posters and wondered how to create them yourself? If so this tutorial will show you some easy ways to achieve a cool effect using the retro style. Even if you aren’t interested in this effect you should still check out the tutorial to get some good tips to use in other projects.

Here is the result after completing the entire tutorial:

Step 1: Create Gradient and Add Text

I will make my document 504X652px and choose these colors:

Foreground: #74684b

Background: #a18b55

Next in a new layer, I will choose my gradient tool hold down shift and drag
from top to bottom on the canvas

And I am left with this:

Once that is complete create a new layer above that and use the text tool to
type some text that fits across the entire canvas. I will use FuturaBlack BT
which I have in a font pack, but you can grab any font that has some flat edges
on the top and bottom.

I typed out “Stumble” in all caps:

Next I am going to change each letter of the font to some retro style colors:

Here are the color numbers typed out so you can copy and paste them as well:

Starting from the letter “S” and going right here are the colors:

#acfcb38, #4b2e26, #fa5535, #ead82c, #37ab72, #ab3838, and #2c85ea

Step 2: Adding the retro
lines to the font

Using the square rectangle shape tool I am going to create a new layer and make
long rectangles that are the same width as the flat parts of the text on each

An easy way to do this is to use guides from photoshop rulers. You can hit
ctrl+r on your keyboard to bring up the guide tool. click on the ruler to the
left and drag a guide out. Drag one on each side of the flat part of your letter.

Now I will make my shape in that using the same color as the letter

Do that with the rest of the letters and make some of the lines go down as well.

Here is what mine looks like now

Now I want to make some of the retro lines go different direction rather than up
or down so I will create new layers and add lines going to the right like this:

Then I will delete the rest of the line I previous made that connects to the very
top of the canvas using my rectangle marquee tool:

As you can see in the next screencap I moved some of the retro lines I made to
different places in my layer palette to be under and over some of the other retro

All I did to get this effect was grab a layer in my palette and move it up or
down until I got the desired result.

For added effect I went through and added shadows under some of the lines to give
it some depth as they went over other lines.

For this step I just clicked on the layer that I wanted to have a shadow and created
a layer underneath it. Then used my rectangle shape tool to create a black box
underneath and moved it a few pixels to give the shadow effect.

Step 3: Adding the rest
of the font

In this step I will add the rest of the font to the canvas. Since the site I
am making this for is called stumbleondesigns I will place the text like so:

Then add the retro lines on this text as well

And then I will add designs over the right retro line of the “on” text and rotate
it 180 degrees clockwise.

Step 4: Add Crinkle Paper
and Stickers

Download this picture of crinkle paper:

I downloaded this myself from a free stock photo site called Stock.XCHNG

Open it and drag it in your canvas and size it down to fit.

Then I will use the magic wand tool to select the white area around the crinkle
paper to delete it.

Make sure the tool is set on new selection and a tolerance of 20.

Click on any of the white space around it with the magic wand and it should make a
selection around all the white space.

Hit delete and all the white space should be gone!

After doing that I resized the crinkle paper a bit to cover more of the canvas.

Next make it black and white by using the keyboard shortcut ctrl+shift+u. Set
it to overlay and there you go the poster looks nice and retro now.

Step 5: Adding the stickers
and bringing it all together

First I will add a hippie girl sticker to the document. So here is the image I
will use:

Open the hippie girl picture and copy her out without the white space using
the magic wand tool yet again using the same settings and paste her in!

I will size her down and place her:

I want to make her look more cartoonish so duplicate her and hide the previous
layer and on the visible layer go to filter>>blur>>smart blur and use these

Unhide the previous layer, move it above the blurred layer and set its blending
mode to soft light and she should look more cartoonish.

Now that is complete so merge those 2 layers together and add these blending
options to the image

Now for the sticker effect, I want to give it a look of the sticker curling off
of the poster.

Merge the layer down with an empty layer so its editable without the blending
options and zoom in to your image.

Before the next step make a backup of this layer by duplicating it.

Using my pen tool I will make a selection around part of the top of her head

Right click and choose “Make selection” then hit ctrl+x to cut it and ctrl+v to
paste the selection back in.

On the new cut out layer hit ctrl+t on your keyboard to transform it, right click
on it and choose “rotate 180 degrees”

After that fit it back over her head to fit

Now create a new layer above that. While holding down ctrl click on the icon
beside the previous layer we cut out to make a selection around it.

Fill the new layer with the color white.

Still zoomed in and with the selection in that shape, grab about a 35px soft brush
set to 57% opacity and paint the top and bottom edge of the cut out.

Keep trying until you get it, once you get the hang of it its easy.

See how it gives that curled effect when you leave some white showing in between?

Next it needs a shadow underneath since there would be one if the sticker was
curled like that. So create a new layer below that one and make sure the selection
is still made around the layer and fill it with black.

Then go to filter>>blur>>gaussian blur and use these settings:

I am going to do the same thing to the bottom of her as well.

In the next step is adding some text that says, “Groovy” with the color #11c1f3.

I want it to look like a thought bubble so I will create a new layer and get
a thought bubble shape out of my shape tools and cut off the part I need.

Put it at the bottom left of your groovy text and merge those together

Add the same whit stroke as around the girl picture and angle it to fit close
to her mouth.

After that I will add some of the sticker curl effect

The next step I will merge all of the layers together except for one copy of
the crinkle paper. Using the ctrl+click technique to make a selection around the
crinkle paper, I cut out the image I merged together. After that I used the burn
tool set to around 10% and burned some in the image to give it a more old feel.

Thanks for reading!

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