I was pleasantly surprised when I started using Poster Designer. With its sleek interface and intuitive features, this application impressed me from the start. Poster Designer ($30 for personal use, $50 for business use; free demo with watermarking) isn't perfect, as it lacks some of the more refined features and elegance of Microsoft's pricier Publisher, but it's easy to use and, sometimes, a bit more fun.
Poster Designer, which was formerly known as Poster Forge, is designed to allow ordinary people (read: those without any design expertise) to create posters, banners, and signs easily. And it succeeds: when you launch the application, it presents you with a selection of templates that allow you to create a range of posters, from wanted signs to motivational posters and kid-friendly signs. Poster Designer makes it easy to create a sign or a funny, mock-motivational poster in just a few minutes. (The free demo version allows you to create as many posters as you'd like, but places a watermark on any that you print.)
If you want to create something of your own design, you can eschew the templates in favor of a blank canvas. Poster Designer's neat and attractive interface makes it easy to insert text, images, shapes, backgrounds, and more. Poster Designer is much more visually appealing and easier to use than rival product Poster, an $18 application.
But fine-tuning your design in certain ways can be a challenge. For example, when I tried to change the size of some, but not all, of the text in a text field, Poster Designer wouldn't allow it. And it continually pushed some of my text off the screen, rather than wrapping it to the next line automatically, as Microsoft Publisher would have done.
Poster Designer costs $30 for home use, and it will appeal to parents, teachers, and any folks looking to have a bit of fun or design a few posters. But a business license costs $50, which seems like a lot to pay for a program that lacks some business-friendly options, such as the ability to create pamphlets and more. Microsoft Publisher includes those options, but costs just about $100. If you can find an extra $50 in your budget, upgrading to Publisher will be worth it to your business.
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