What in your opinion makes a poster or brochure effective in arguing its point? So say a poster is trying to argue that the death penalty is immoral, how would the poster convince you if you were for the death penalty? What techniques might it use?
If you wish to change people's opinion about the death penalty, find pictures of executions that have gone wrong. There are, for instances, cases in which some people were "electrocuted," but not right away. Consequently, they suffered. Also, find the statistics on people who haven't deserved to die and were unjustly convicted. [There are some]
Well ... my son, who is a graphic designer, might say key components to an effective poster are the typeface, the balance between white space and images, and the quality of the image(s). He might say to make an individual point, one or two overwhelming pointed images would do the best for effectiveness. He would definitely say that correct grammar is critical to making the point since viewers are distracted from the message by inadequately expressed messages.
Advertising today is all about a slogan, an image, or a catch-phrase, that has the potential to "go viral." Think about it. We have become consumers of visual media and catch-phrases. Your brochure or poster is essentially a piece of advertisement against the death penalty. The right picture could do it. Or, the right statistic. For that matter, just the right one-liner could also be effective.
With the advancement of technology, mass communication, and the speed with which we now receive our communication, media and advertising has become smarter. It says more in fewer words (or no words, if possible).
Eye-catching graphics, art and/or photos positioned in an interesting manner combined with equally catchy text will boost the power of any poster or brochure. Proper choices of fonts and background color are also important ingredients in creating impact.
To me, a poster or brochure is most effective if it is in full color with glossy illustrations and pictures. This draws me in, but that is not enough. It should be clear what is being advertised. There should be enough detail that I have a solid understanding of the product, but not so much that the brochure or poster looks busy or crowded. There should also be contact information and a clear way to get more information about the product or service offered.
I don't think that any poster can change a person's mind on this issue. It's too complicated of an issue to have opinions swayed by one poster. For techniques, though, I think that you fall back on classic rhetorical things. You appeal to pathos, you appeal to logos. In this case, you go for visuals whose appeals to pathos and/or logos are easily understood in a brief glance.
I agree that a poster needs to evoke an emotional, visceral reaction. In this case, a graph could do that by drawing attention to the enormous disparity in executions by race and class. But to really draw attention to the issue, you might want to include something a little more visually arresting, like maybe an image of an actual facility used for execution, might be in order. Something that humanizes the people being executed.
For any poster to be effective, there has got to be something to catch the attention of the targeted audience. If no one stops to look at it, then the message will never be received. Just off the top of my head, a large picture of a sobbing girl in black and white with a brief caption underneath would catch my attention. With my attention grabbed, you have the opportunity to relay your message to the audience.
The poster by itself probably wouldn't convince many people, but if it complemented a presentation it could be an effective tool.
If you're using it to go along with a presentation, it's important that you make it easy for all of your audience see and read. That means that you don't want to overload it with information. Everything on the poster should be visible to the person farthest away. Even in a small room, like a classroom, this can be challenge.
The poster MUST have a visual that is not primarily text, such as a picture, a graph, or a even a chart with a few, but not many, words. If all you do is write text all over your poster, it won't accomplish anything.
For a death penalty poster, you might include a chart about the demographics of prisoners who are executed. This would address the issue of whether the death penalty is administered fairly. How about a picture of the family of a prisoner who was executed and then later found to be innocent?