The design of wanted posters in the Old West are iconic. A bold “WANTED” at the top with the picture of a cowboy with a moustache often come to mind.
Although the Wild West was well over a 100 years ago, it’s the wanted posters that have lasted the test of time. Let’s explore what made them so iconic and how you can design your own:
No Old West wanted poster would look authentic without a yellowish tinge. The background must emulate old parchment paper and it should appear wrinkled and creased.
This can be done by simply finding or creating a layout that looks like old parchment paper, or by taking a printed poster and treating the paper with mixed yellow and brown dye to make it look old.
The font is extremely important if you want the poster to appear authentic. The letter presses used to print wanted posters used different fonts than what we use today.
For example, a wanted poster with Calibri or Arial printed across the top would look fake.
Instead, try to choose a font that would look right at home on a printing press. To make sure you are on the right track, look into the Slab Serif font to see what sort of font should be used in order to create the right feel for the poster.
Pictures weren’t always on Wanted posters, although most of us probably picture them on there. Throughout most of the 1800s, Wanted posters simply listed a written description of the outlaw and left the rest up to law enforcement to sort out.
It wasn’t until the turn of the century that images became a staple of wanted posters with the increased use of photography. Because of this, you might want to give some thought as to whether or not you even want to include a photo.
However, if you decide to use a photo, it has to be in black and white (of course).