PSDFan Extra

Design a Retro Styled Poster

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1

Create a new document (600X700px).

Paste in this great old paper texture. Call this layer ‘paper texture’.

Step 2

Create a new layer called ‘gray area’. Now use your rectangular marquee tool to create a box 10px in from the top, left, and right edges of your canvas, and 250px in from the bottom edge. Fill your selection with dark gray (252525).

Step 3

Reduce the opacity of your gray area layer to 90%.

Then download this great Splatter Brush Set.

We want to erase the edges of our gray area using this grungy brush set. To do this in a non-destructive way though, go to layer>layer mask>reveal all. Select one of your splatter brush set, black brush and erase the edges of your gray area.

Step 4

Apply a pattern overlay to your gray area layer. I downloaded great set of patterns from

Reduce the patterns opacity to around 25% to give a subtle effect.

Step 5

Download this Free PSDFAN Sunburst Set

Apply the sunburst over your gray area. Then go to layer>layer mask>reveal all. Apply a radial gradient ranging from transparent to black, to erase the edges of your sunburst.

Then reduce this layers opacity to 15%.

Step 6

To try and add a little extra to your sunburst effect go to edit>transform>warp and warp as demonstrated below:

Step 7

Download this photo of clouds and paste it over the top area of your gray area.

Then go to image>adjustments>desaturate. Use a large, soft eraser brush to erase the edges and bottom of your image, until you have a subtle cloud overlaying your gray area.

Step 8

Now download this photo of a mountain range.

Cut it out using your lasso selection tool, and then paste the mountain range over the bottom of your gray area.

Then use a large, soft eraser to erase the edges of your mountain range.

Step 9

Now apply a red color overlay blending option to your mountain layer. (Vivid Light – 15% opacity).

Finally, reduce your mountains layer opacity to 50%.

Step 10

I decide that my cloud layer is looking too faint, so I increase it’s opacity to 30% and apply the same red color overlay effect (blend mode: vivid light, opacity: 10%).

Step 11

Now open a new document (100X500px). Create 4 vertical guides at 20, 40, 60 and 80px. Then fill each of the 5 available spaces with a different colored bar, creating a rainbow effect.

Step 12

Now return to your original poster and select/copy your paper texture layer. Paste it over your stripes in your other document, and change your paper textures blend mode to ‘multiply’. This should give your stripes a nice texture.

Step 13

Paste your colorful lines image into your main document. It should automatically be pasted central in your canvas. Then select the very bottom of your colored bars and go to edit>distort>perspective.

Draw in the corners of your selection, to bring your colored bars to a fine point. This should create a cool center piece for your design.

Step 14

Now create a new layer called ‘colored circles’. Create multiple circular selections, and fill each with a color-transparent linear gradient. Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ and reduce the opacity to 40%.

Step 15

Paste in a photo over the top of one of your circular gradients.

Go to image>adjustments>desaturate to grayscale the photo.

Then reduce the opacity of this layer to approx 30% and use a large, soft eraser brush to erase it’s edges.

Step 16

Add various other photos over your gray area and colored circles, each time desaturating the photo, reducing it’s opacity and erasing it’s edges:

Step 17

Add some text to the bottom half of your canvas:

Step 18

Now use your marquee selection tools to add some basic dividers between the lines of text:

Step 19

Finally, go to layer>add adjustment layer>gradient overlay and apply the gradient demonstrated below:

And We’re Done!

I really hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback!

Download Source File for this Tutorial

About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment


  1. Vladimir says:

    WOW, simply – but yet fantastic tut! Thanks

  2. Tom says:

    Thanks a lot Vladimir! I’m glad that you enjoyed the tutorial.

  3. Robert M says:

    I Love how the pencil point actually looks like one. Keep up the retro goodness. I can’t get enough of it.

  4. Melody says:

    I like the grunge upon the vibrant colors, makes me want to test some designs out, thanks!

  5. Miguel says:

    Not your best work, and the end result is not retro, the type and the images are not retro in any way. Usually really like the articles here, but this one is not up to par with a lot of the other stuff on here imo.

    Either way thanks for the cool stuff on here.

  6. great composition. Nice work.

  7. Firebubble says:

    Great tutorial, creates a really cool retro feel! This would also be great for beginners to learn some good techniques.

  8. Nasir Uddin says:

    Good tutorials

  9. Vim says:

    Wow great elements and styles used in the poster, i think this style can also be implemented into making websites, which would look really cool, thanks Tom

  10. Step 12 was interesting. I have never used textures to produce an authentic effect. Thanks

  11. iris says:

    what´s the typography´s name? tks

  12. very nice tutorial, thanx.

  13. very good elements and a cool stylish composition !!

  14. Wow, I am really impressed.

  15. luisxd says:

    just loved it

  16. An amazing creative composition! Great elements and styles have been used in the poster. Well done!

  17. Beautiful work, Tom, just great. The circle images were a very cool touch, and I love seeing the results of your blending options and color overlays. It’s like sitting in this wonderful design class– thanks a heap!!

  18. Gabriel says:

    Wow, really awesome tutorial for such a beautiful product! You dont happen to have that paper texture image in higher resolution do you? Thanks!

  19. Wow….that’s amazing creative composition i really loved it.Thanks for the comments.

  20. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. I cannot get the striped bar transformed into pencil shape. Am I missing something?
    I have tried both Twist, Warp and Perspective. How do you make it so that only the lower portion of the layer is twisted.

    • Tom says:

      Hi Sarah, you must select the area first that you wish to transform, otherwise you’ll be transforming your entire object/image. I hope this helps.

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