UFC Event Posters

October 15, 2009

The UFC has just released their latest event poster for UFC 105 , and it’s inspired MMAPayout.com to delve a little more deeply into the creation of effective marketing tools such as the event poster.

I’ve attached several of them for events from the past few months (credit MMAmania.com):

UFC 91:


UFC 94:


UFC 100:


UFC 101:


UFC 105:


Payout Perspective:

The bad posters that seem to plague lower level MMA shows across North American largely fail to consider the following principles that the UFC almost always adheres to:

1. The UFC logo is very prominent: it’s nearly always in the middle of the poster, and highly visible.

In putting the UFC logo front and center, the UFC is emphasizing its own brand above everything else. Why? It’s important to the company to expand the brand, and their baseline, so that regardless of who’s fighting, they can draw numbers on the PPV.

It’s equally important for small scale promoters to build their brand. The name of your organization and its logo have to be visible on the poster. 

2. Plain backgrounds: almost always a white or a black.

There’s a tendency to use fancy colours on some promotional posters, but white and black are almost always the most effective backgrounds because they don’t take the attention away from the more important aspects of the message.

3. Organization: there might be a lot going on in some of these posters, but it’s always organized in a fashion that’s easily digestible.

They can fit five or six fighters onto one poster because they use space efficiently and in a way that makes sense to the viewer (the 105 poster is a great example).

4. Information: the purpose of a poster is to promote the event, and thus the consumer needs the relevant information of where, when, and how to watch/attend in order to fulfill that purpose. The UFC always tells its viewers where, when, and how in an easy format.

Moreover, the information is always relevant. If there’s too much information or, more accurately, too much miscellaneous information, the message gets lost.

5. Consistency: the UFC always has a consistent feel or look to its posters that aids in the brand building process.

There’s a constant association that never leaves the mind fo the consumer. The fan knows what to expect and can easily recognize a UFC poster because it more often than not contains the same set of ingredients. That’s important to any brand.

6 Responses to “UFC Event Posters”

  1. Jonathan Snowden on October 15th, 2009 7:16 AM

    The Penn-St. Pierre poster is the only piece of merchandise I’ve ever purchased at a UFC show. I had to make my way into the arena proper to find it-just fantastic.

  2. Kevin Vickers on October 15th, 2009 8:15 AM

    Great article! I have been in talks with a couple of friends recently about how bad some of the smaller event posters and fliers look and how that’s what inspired me to start doing them myself. They are just horrible. Even as a full time designer with a passion for the sport, I have had to do multiple study pieces just to get the idea of what’s needed and how to bring it about, what’s important to the fan as well as the client. And since I’ve started doing these, I’ve progressively been getting better, but there is certainly a method to their madness, as there is most design. They take thought and understanding. Professional designers should be doing this. Take time to research your client and their needs, as well as guide your client in the proper direction, as they’re not designers (though they often try to be). It’s a balancing act that many professional designers know. Also, there are fundamental design properties that need to be incorporated and often missed because the designer is a ‘friend-who-knows-Photoshop’ and not a trained professional. Obviously their budget is an issue, something the UFC has the resources to do, to invest thought and great talent into their designs, but there are designers out there that are talented, full time designers who would be willing to sacrifice a limb to break into the business. They’re out there, trust me.

  3. Joseph on October 15th, 2009 11:12 AM

    You should analyze PRIDE, SENGOKU, and DREAM posters. Now THOSE, are fantastic posters.

  4. NameNotRequired on October 15th, 2009 3:21 PM

    Joseph said it best. Nobody puts out better promotional material than japanese organizations. Even dumpy shows like Outsider put out a lot better quality than the UFC. The UFC seriously need to update their image to match their product because a decade of “face the pain” and the same poster with a permutation of fighters gets dull. Being the premier MMA league means they need to do their best everywhere at all times.

  5. Marc Geer on October 16th, 2009 9:45 AM

    The UFC 91 poster wasn’t my cup of tea(looks like two random guys standing at attention). But 94 is a pure work of art. I even had that as my desktop image at work for awhile. Just artfully done.

    My cousin is a graphic designer and she was apalled at the sight of both of the Affliction posters. Just way gaudy and way over done. Then again so are the t-shirts.

  6. David A on October 16th, 2009 9:48 AM

    I couldn’t agree more with the previous comments. The UFC posters while technically sound from a marketing stand point, are also very dated, and if we’re being honest, they look like a poster from a Low Level boxing show.

    Outside of the GSP vs. Penn poster, they are getting worse as time goes on. UFC 105 is the worst in recent memory. Just awful if we are being honest.

    But much like most successful companies, this will be a source of debate until the growth trend levels off.

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