Billboard Design Rules that the Pros Sometimes
By Selena McIntyre
Have you ever had an ad designed by a professional that was
completely terrible and did not produce any results? If so, you’re not alone.
We recently had a client purchase several billboards, but when
the vinyl’s (she ordered through someone else) were put up she was extremely unhappy at the quality and
design of the add She thought that we did not install the vinyls correctly, but actually the vinyls were
designed to look old, torn, and imperfect. The creative did not follow any of the rules and it was very hard
to believe that this artwork came from a large national company.
Unfortunately, this happens on a regular basis so that's why I
think it's important for every marketing person and or business owner to know the basic rules of billboard
Rule #1 - Effective billboards are
short, sweet, simple and to the point. Passing motorists are limited to the time they can see your billboard
and they can't safely read very much. They also cannot read small copy (less than one foot tall) when
"flying" by the sign.
Rule #2 - All billboard words
should be at least one foot and 6 inches tall in order to be legible from the road. If your sign is close to
the road, please do not ignore this rule, it still applies. Also if your sign is further away (higher than
average) from normal, your copy should be bigger than this.
Rule #3 - All graphics need to be
large enough to be seen at fast speeds and far distances. I generally try to make graphics as tall as the
billboard with an exception to directional information.
Rule #4 - Use contrasting colors
like yellow and black or red and white. Do not use colors that are similar to each other like blue and purple
or orange and red because it will be hard to see two different colors from a
Rule #5 - Make sure your ads appeal
to your target market. Use colors, graphics and words that they will be interested in. Make sure your target
market can understand your ad also.
Rule #6 - All effective ads must
have a smooth flow. When someone looks at your ad you want them to see one thing first, then another item
second, and so on. You don't want them to get lost in your ad and not know which way to look next. If this
happens, they will stop looking at your ad!
Rule #7 - Getting attention is the
most important thing your ad needs to do so it won't be overlooked. You can get attention in several ways,
but the best advice I can give you is to be creative and do something out of the
Rule #8 - Once your ad has captured
attention, your next step is to create an interest in your product or service. Your main goal here is to make
your product stand apart from your competition. Use benefits to tell your target market what's in it for
them; do not bore them with the facts. For example, instead of saying "product xyz reduces fine lines" say
"xyz will make your skin look 10 years younger."
Rule #9 - Create a desire for your
product. Give your audience a small taste of your product or service. But don't give away too much
information because the goal of your ad should be to get people to request more
Rule #10 - Call to Action - Don't
leave your audience hanging; tell them what to do next. For example, "Call Now", or "Visit our
Hopefully this article will teach you how to tell the good
designs from the not-so-good designs so your ads will stand out in a crowd.
Selena McIntyre has been a Creative Designer for BPS Outdoor Media since
1999. She has a Marketing Degree and several years of customer service experience. Selena has studied art most of her life and continues to do so
now. She designs most of BPS’s billboards and has written several articles about the outdoor advertising
industry. To see some of her work please visit http://www.bpsoutdoor.com/blog/
This article is provided as a courtesy from www.OutdoorBillboard.com
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