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Billboard Design Principles

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Billboard Design Principles

If you want your billboard to grab people’s attention, your choice of images or videos is paramount. While ad copy is also critical, as you can imagine a billboard with too much text and not enough visual design will be lacking. As they say, a picture says a thousand words. And the data backs this up. Depending on your vertical, 30-40% of people respond better to visuals than text in marketing materials. Why is that? For starters, people retain more of what they see visually, making it easier for your marketing efforts to have a lasting impact.

With this kind of visual power at your fingertips, it’s important to maximize the opportunity your billboard has with the right image and/or video. How do you choose the right content? And what makes that content right for this particular marketing material?

Let’s dive in and review a few best practices to help you in your efforts.

Keep It Simple

Similar to the importance of keeping it simple with your ad copy, your visual content needs to follow this same guideline. When this guideline isn’t followed, it can interfere with all the other good your billboard may be doing. A customer who sees a visually colluded billboard isn’t going to be able to take much from the experience other than the fact that they were most likely confused or possibly annoyed.

bad billboard design Good billboard design

Complex vs. Simple

The Use of Color

A great way to get your billboard to stand out amongst all the noise is to effectively use color. Depending on your brand and your color template, you can get out of the box here and really let your creativity shine. Color can have a direct impact on the psychology of your customers as they interact with your billboard. Don’t get too carried away with choosing colors that, according to some experts, invoke certain emotions from your customers. For example, some experts say blue invokes trust while red invokes excitement. The way customers interact with certain colors is often an individual experience (since everyone has had different experiences in the past with certain colors). Be consistent with your brand and allow your creativity to create a piece of marketing that can wow your passerby’s.

high contrast colors

Tell a Story

It’s important for your ad creative to do more than just tell your customers something. For example, it’s important they know your name and/or location, but you can accomplish that while telling a story about who you are and what you do. Or better yet, your billboard can tell your customers why you are doing what you are doing and why they should learn more. The best brands tell the story of their “why” far better than they list what they do – like listing all their features and benefits of why you should use their product or service. If your story is told in a compelling way, it’s more likely people will remember who you are and why they should be interested.

Homie billboards

Take for example this series of billboards by the company Homie. They keep it very simple, using white text on a solid green background with carefully placed images (for sale sign) on the second billboard. The way they are able to tell a story, both as individual billboards and when you put them together, helps potential customers understand the “why” behind Homie….save money when you use their service.