How to Create an FBI Most Wanted Poster

By Gail Cohen
All FBI Most Wanted posters use the same format.

Unless you've received an AARP card, you probably don't recall dramatic rows of FBI Most Wanted posters covering post office walls across the nation. These days, post offices use their walls for fancy stamps and shipping containers, but the legend and lore of these iconic flyers remains. If you're looking to create a Most Wanted poster of your own, this article should get you close. Today's version features a signature blue banner across the top, but even J. Edgar Hoover might let you get away with good old black if you're doing this as a spoof.

Open a standard 8.5-by-11-inch page in a page layout or word processing program.

Drag a 7-by-1-inch text box across the top of the sheet. Fill the box with 100 percent process blue, then type "FBI TEN MOST WANTED FUGITIVE" in all capitals, breaking the text between the words "MOST" and "WANTED" to create two lines of text. Find the closest font family on your menu to the one used by the FBI. Wide Latin was used for the sample.

Begin a new line of capitalized type beneath the blue banner to list allegations. Use up to four centered lines of type to describe what the accused has done to deserve this poster. Use the Times New Roman font for this paragraph.

Type the name of the fugitive in 24-point Times New Roman and center it accordingly. Insert a photo of the suspect into the document and place the image under the name.

List aliases in upper- and lowercase Times New Roman, then set up a two-column description grid that contains date and place of birth, height, weight, physical build, occupation, facial characteristics, sex, nationality, scars and remarks.

Add a CAUTION section next. In five lines of text, describe dates and places where the suspect allegedly committed his crimes.

Add a call to action. Feel free to borrow the FBI's official language for authenticity: "IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS PERSON, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL FBI OFFICE." (Add a different contact if desired.)

Post a reward. Use the word REWARD as a centered subhead, then list terms and conditions set in Times New Roman. You may wish to date the poster to keep the content current. Your custom-made FBI poster makes an ideal party decoration or, with text revisions, an event invitation.

About the Author

Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.