Billboard Design: 6 Tips To Make a Statement

The internet is filled with marketers arguing about what’s the greatest platform to advertise on. While they argue, we’re here to remind you of one of the greatest ways to advertise offscreen. Allow us to point you in a direction that’s going to be cost-effective and yield great results – out-of-home advertising.

Out-of-home advertising still continues to hold its ground despite the fact that people spend most of their time engrossed in their mobiles or laptops. There’s something in OOH advertising that clicks with people. Out of all the outdoor advertising types, one of the greatest examples is billboard design.

Billboard design tends to literally stand alone in its element. There remains a temporary spotlight on it and this is what makes people notice it as opposed to the hundreds of random ads that pop on their mobile screens. 

Billboard design has been around for nearly 200 years. Before the arrival of the digital era, billboards played a great role in advertising. Although its format has evolved over time, this popular form of advertising has been a marketer’s most loyal companion. If done right it will be the best thing for your marketing strategy. 

How do you then do it right? We have put together a list of 6 simple tips that could help you on this front.

6 tips you can employ to design a statement billboard

1. Keep it simple

A billboard design is mostly featured on the highway or basically on the side of the road. Busy people on the move, don’t have time to digest a great deal of information. They will be driving past your advertisement so fast that there’s a chance that they might miss it if it’s too complicated. This is why it’s important to keep it as simple as possible. A maximum of 7 words is the goal.

A good design brief will certify that a design can be kept simple and to the point, achieving the purpose of the brand and successfully reaching its target audience.  

Also, be sure to communicate only one idea at a time. Save the rest of the good ideas for another day. You don’t want to exhaust them all in one go. 

Another way to make sure you keep it simple is by advertising in multiple locations. By doing so you won’t get carried away trying to push all your ideas into one billboard design. 

2. Make the message clear

Making the message clear will also help keep your design simple. Narrow down on a message that’s true to your brand and make it as creative as possible. 

You can even utilize an image to communicate your message better. It’ll speak louder than the words you say. 

The harmony of words and images can only be achieved by good research and being up-to-date with both design and marketing trends.

You don’t want to say something and use a totally different image or graphical element to contradict your message. 

3. Choose quality over quantity when it comes to images

Whether you want to use 1 image/graphic or more than 1, keep it to less than 3. It will ensure nothing will be missed by viewers. As we’ve established already, people don’t have the time to look long to grasp the message you’re trying to convey.

It will contribute to the quality of the billboard to have fewer images as opposed to a cluttered billboard with too many images. 

Don’t forget also to consider the backdrop and location of your billboard design when picking out your images/graphic elements. It should blend well with the background. 

If you want to add real images we recommend hiring a professional photographer and a good designer who can edit it as required. 

One nugget to keep in mind is to sway from controversial images. While trying to grab your audience’s attention, you don’t want to cause accidents! 

6. Incorporate a Call to Action

With the message clear and the images sorted, next up is the call to action. The call to action helps direct interested parties to respond to your ad. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to direct traffic your way. 

So all you need to do is to be very clear about how they can respond to your ad. One form of contact is more than enough on an ad of this scale. Again, simplicity is the overall key to a successful billboard design. 

4. Use the correct fonts

A billboard is often a large piece of advertising. You may think that the larger the work, the more noticeable the message is going to be. But did you know that the font you use can make a great impact on the readability of your message? It wouldn’t matter if you had given a great deal of thought to the copy, if it’s not readable then you’ve missed the mark. 

It’s very important to use legible and readable fonts in billboard designs. Despite your preferences try to stick to fonts like sans serif when going this big. They work well in this setting. 

5. Use High-Contrast Colors

After all of the above has been settled, you still can mess the whole thing up if you don’t give special attention to the colors you use. 

In the case of billboard designs, the best working colors are high-contrast colors. It’s a no-brainer why this logic makes sense. When viewed from a distance, each element on the billboard can look indistinguishable. What high-contrast colors do is allow a crisp transition for the eye from one element to another element. 

You can use colors like black and white or black and yellow. But it’s going to change according to your branding. We suggest you go for the most high-contrasting colors on your palette to ensure maximum attraction and clarity on your billboard design. 

However, try to be mindful of the message. Some colors might not resonate well with the overall message you’re communicating. 

6. Consider the Viewing Distance

It’s not going to matter if you put all this effort into making the perfect billboard design yet you forgot to check out the location where it’s going to be propped up. 

The reason why it’s so important to check the location is that you get to consider the viewing distance. How far off are people viewing this and how big do you plan on expanding the reach? Those are some very important factors to consider before you start designing. 

The standard billboard size is 14’x48’ with the recommended letter height being 24 inches for billboards that are 500 feet away from the point of viewing. If you want your billboard to be visible enough for viewers to actually read it, the letters should be at least 2 feet tall. 

Another factor to keep in mind when considering the viewing distance is the image resolution of the overall billboard. Image resolution is quite important with such large print work. The billboard could be at the perfect reading distance physically, but if the resolution is bad then people are going to judge your brand and its apparent lack of professionalism. Therefore stick to the recommended print size for billboards which is around 150 PPI at 100% size. 

Examples of good and bad billboard design

Some good designs that use the tips listed above: 

The above billboard uses colors well with the message being under 6 words. The image used is also suitable and sends the message across clearly. 

This is an excellent billboard design as it grabs the viewer’s attention with its location, its color, its message, and most importantly its purpose. 

These are some sorry excuses for billboards:

As you can see, even with the time to read the billboard design above, you don’t feel like even being bothered to read what they have to say. It’s very cluttered and the colors don’t work. You also can’t help but begin to wonder what the industry is based on the overall design. 

The above billboard design is not only tasteless but also borderline offensive. While it lacks a sense of professionalism the billboard angers viewers who see it and think this funeral parlor likes to joke about death. Not a good way to promote a brand, even if it’s a funeral parlor. This is not the kind of statement you need to make. 

What do we make of all of this?

As you can see, a billboard design is a great way to advertise. It helps steer consumer decisions in the right direction. 71% of consumers who drive past a billboard sign read it. If it’s then useful, informative, and humorous they will drive past remembering your brand. 

It seems simple but there’s much at stake. A bad billboard design can end up on social media where it will reach people in a negative sense. This has to be intentional advertising that’s relevant to a broad audience. It won’t just be adults who view your billboard. So, tread cautiously. Avoid controversy and stick to good, friendly, valuable content.

To do that, follow the tips above for your next billboard design project. It will ensure a good response from consumers, creating positive brand awareness. 

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