Wanted posters are a staple of the western genre. If you have ever seen anything set in the Old West, you have certainly seen a wanted poster. Nowadays, you are not likely to see traditional wanted posters, except for the purpose of humor. Traditionally, wanted posters would have had a reward for the death or capture of whoever the poster depicted.

Of course, there are still wanted poster templates available online, for people who may wish to use them for their own purposes. Whether for humor, promotion, or any other reason, these templates still exist for anyone to use.

Wanted Western Poster

Old Wanted Western Poster

Most Wanted Western Poster

Wanted Vintage Western Poster

Pirate Wanted Poster

Printable Pirate Wanted Poster

Wanted Reward Poster

Funny Wanted Reward Poster

Western Wanted Reward Poster

Vintage Wanted Poster

Vintage Western Wanted Poster

Vintage Cowboy Wanted Poster

Wild West Wanted Poster

Blank Wild West Wanted Poster

Wild West Most Wanted Poster

What are Wanted Posters?

As the name implies, these posters depict the likenesses of wanted criminals at large so that people would be aware of what they looked like. In the Old West, there would also be a cash bounty listed for the sake of bounty hunters, based on what crimes the criminal committed. Particularly notorious criminals could very notorious, and would have proportional bounties placed on them. This was originally meant as an incentive for both bounty hunters, and even ordinary people, to chase the criminal down and bring him to justice.

Of course, the traditional wanted poster no longer really sees much use, as central authorities are generally powerful enough to enforce laws and punish criminals without having to resort to private citizens doing it for them. Central authority tends to weaken on frontiers, as individual settlements are few and far between, making it difficult to enforce laws, hence creating a need for individuals to pursue their own justice.

As a side note, modern law enforcement agencies do have a similar system, albeit simply to give people warnings concerning criminals at large. Nowadays, these wanted posters’ purpose is to warn people by providing photos of what criminals look like so people know to stay away, or if criminals are sighted, people can inform the authorities if the criminals are sighted. All in all, wanted posters can still be a useful tool to help law enforcement fight crime.

Interesting Ways to Use this Wanted Posters

However, most people in the modern world are not likely to see a wanted poster as it was intended to be used. However, the image is a popular one, and likely to be recognized on sight. The image of the wanted poster portraying a wanted outlaw has more or less seeped into the popular consciousness. In a way, that image has become something of a cliché. As such, the image of the wanted poster is still one that is occasionally seen even now.

Of course, the image of the wanted poster, like many other symbols of the past, has been appropriated by the modern world, and adapted for contemporary use. Some of the uses the modern world has been able to find for this image include:

  • Humor – It would not be out of the ordinary for people to use this image for humorous purposes. Being that the image of the wanted poster is, by now, a cliché, it is hardly surprising that many could find it possible to mock that image. Were a person to be made the subject of a wanted poster now, if anything, it it could be possible that he is simply the butt of a joke.
  • Promotion – It is also possible to use this image as a means of promotion, especially if the thing being promoted has an Old West theme. For example, if one were to have an Old West-themed party, a wanted poster would be a very imaginative way of framing the subject of the party.
  • Fiction – Of course, wanted posters may also be used in fiction. Whether in film, television, roleplay, or any other purpose, a wanted poster could also help to spice up a set and make it feel more authentic. Little details like these can add to the veracity of the fictional reality that the creators are trying to sell.

The popularity of this image probably speaks for itself. This image, although out of date, is one that still resonates in the minds of most people. That gives it a longevity beyond its original purpose, so that future generations can still find uses even for what seems to be an outdated concept. And if this image can still find some use, it is arguable as to how dead it is supposed to be.

One Piece Wanted Poster

Retro One Piece Wanted Poster

 

Blank One Piece Wanted Poster

Old Wanted Poster

Old Western Wanted Poster

Blank Wanted Poster

Blank Most Wanted Poster

Blank Western Wanted Poster

Wanted Poster Invitation

Wanted Poster Party Invitation

Western Wanted Poster Invitation

Wanted Poster Birthday Invitation

Personalized Wanted Poster

Custom Personalised Wanted Poster

Personalized Western Wanted Poster

Cowboy Wanted Poste

Cowboy Most Wanted Poster

Cowboy Party Wanted Poster

Do It Yourself Wanted Posters

As one can see based on wanted posters he has seen in the media, there are some obvious qualities that wanted posters have that make them so iconic. One could argue that the image of wanted posters is an instantly recognizable one, possibly to the point of cliché. But if it is such as distinctive image, then one might also argue that there is something in the image that automatically makes it recognizable. Some of these qualities include:

  • Prominence of the Subject – That the subject of the poster is visibly front and center is self-evident. Originally, this may have been to give the person’s appearance more attention, as it would have been the most obvious part of the poster. Now, the subject is still prominent, and unavoidably so. However, this creates a powerful, distinctive image, as the person’s appearance is so obvious as to be inseparable from the image as a whole. The person’s image gives the whole image context, in a way.
  • Details – On a traditional poster, this would have included the details of the victim’s crimes and what he did to merit his bounty. Now, given that the poster is no longer something that really identifies criminals, the details can be filled in with whatever is wanted. If the poster is advertising something, then the particulars can be placed there to give some explanation for what is being advertised.
  • Cash Bounty – This is also not quite as useful, considering that cash bounties are not really a reality any longer. However, this is an important part of the whole image, and one that can still serve a purpose. However, for the most part, the cash bounty’s only purpose now might just be for humor. A joke may derive in part from a person’s given bounty, which can be suitably high or low as the joke requires.
  • Aged Aesthetic – Many posters continue to apply the same aged, faded look the authentic paper would have possessed. Of course, there is no need to apply the look any longer, as modern paper has different qualities, nor are they as exposed to the elements as an authentic poster would have been. But for the sake of veracity, many posters available now feature the same faded aesthetic. It would apparently not quite be the same if the paper were not to look quite as faded.

Types of Wanted Posters

It might be strange to refer to there being types, but since the modern world has taken the image of the wanted poster for its own, it has naturally adapted that image for its own use. As such, some types of wanted poster include:

  • Identification Posters – For the sake of flavor, some people may take the poster and use it as a template for one’s own identification. This may be for one of many reasons: the person may have simply liked the image, or perhaps wanted to use personalize the template and make it unique and personal. In any case, these templates would be a useful tool to make a memorable means to remember someone.
  • Advertising Posters – Similar to promotion, some artists may use this popular image as a means of stirring up attention to something of theirs. For example, an artist of some stripe or another could use the image of a wanted poster to frame their own image. That might make for an instantly recognizable image. It would also serve to put the artist front and center of his own product, so as to better associate him with his work.
  • Decor Posters – One may also elect to simply use the posters as décor. Of course, being that you can create your own posters, you are still free to customize each poster however you like so that it reflects your own preferences. This leaves you free to make the posters as true to life, or as humorous as you please, according to your own preferences.

For an outdated concept, Old West wanted posters are still alive and well. If anything, this image may well be immortal, considering that even centuries after the original wanted posters were a reality, they still exist. They may not exist in quite the same way, but they still do. The modern world may have taken and adapted this idea for its own, but the original idea can still be seen in modern interpretations. If anything, these wanted posters belong both in the past and present, as the fingerprints of both time periods may be seen on them.

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