Poster Pointers

Good street posters at intersection.

Good street posters at intersection.

Poster Pointers: Creating Effective Signs and Flyers

We don’t think we can stress the importance of getting the message out when you have lost your pet. There are a combination of techniques you could use; probably the most effective is fliers and posters in the area your pet may be in or going through.

Some poster pointers that may help make yours a little more successful:

  • Make them big – Fewer words in a bigger font may be easier for drivers to spot from a distance. Walk across the room after making handwritten posters – if you can’t read any part of it, make it bolder.
  • When using a computer to make your posters, remember that 72-point type is not really readable from a car. Nor is it the largest type size available to you. In your program’s menu bar, just highlight the number 72 and type in a larger number. Over 100 points is usually best. 72 points should be one of your smaller font sizes on a poster.
  • Make the description accurate but not too detailed. It is better to get too many calls that you can eliminate with more discussion than too few because someone thought “that could not be the pet you’re looking for because…” It may be dusk or dawn when they see a shy frightened animal, they may just catch a quick glimpse of it or only see it from a distance, or saw it a while ago before seeing your poster.
  • Don’t put any of your personal information. A reliable way to contact you, like a cell phone number, is plenty.
  • Make the Posters Colorful – One tip a client of mine used successfully was to put the posters on a colorful poster board frame. Others have used color photos of their missing pet. Others have printed their lost pet signs on brightly colored paper. One lady had her fliers made into huge banners.
  • A black and white copy may be an economical way to thoroughly cover a neighborhood you believe your pet may be in or around. Pass them out to folks almost door to door
  • You don’t need to choose one style; you can make several different ones to use in different areas.
  • Make the Animal Visible – Some posters have a photo of a small, blurry animal in the middle of a crowd. or sitting on a plaid sofa, or in the middle of a lawn. Although any photo is better than none, remember drivers only have two seconds to really see the poster. If you can “cut out” the animal from the background, enlarge the image and put it on the poster, so much the better. Most copy centers can help you with this.
  • Always carry extra fliers with you when you are out and about looking for your pet. Particularly when we are running behind a trailing dog, it is handy to be able to hand a flier to people and to leave at houses we pass. (Often we have had the track confirmed by someone who saw the animal we are trailing!). Often, we use it as an “icebreaker.” We give it to a homeowner when we introduce ourselves and ask to let the dog check the back yard, or for them to let us peek under the back deck and outbuildings with flashlights.
  • Once made, disseminate them! When I am driving to a lost pet search I always check the neighborhood as I am arriving and departing. If I don’t see any signs/posters when I am looking for them, I know there are not enough for someone who is not looking to notice them.
  • Small businesses and Convenience stores will often let you post a flyer on or near the door. Also, be sure to visit the local post offices with at least two copies…one for the bulletin board, and one to give to the postmaster so that the carriers can keep an eye out as well. After all, they cruise the area daily.
  • For dogs particularly, you probably want to cover a much bigger area than you may think. A small dog can cover a lot of ground in a hurry. A large dog looking to find his way home may cover many miles each day. Not necessarily in a straight line, it may be big loopy circles. So don’t think in terms of straight lines or roads that make sense to you. For example, a neighborhood that you drive many miles to get to may be right over the hill as the crow flies.
  • Recruit extra help if needed. One family we helped was aided by folks at a local church that helped post fliers after services. Co-workers, neighborhood kids, anyone who says “what can I do to help” is fair game to disseminate fliers.

Good Luck!