What should I consider when designing a billboard?

8 Essential Things to Consider In Your Billboard Design

Designing a roadside billboard for a massive audience seems like an uphill task but with a little bit of mind mapping and a slight touch of creative magic, it can become as easy as ABC.

One big difference between a billboard and other outdoor advertisements like postcards and brochures is the size. It requires scaling of your design elements ― the logo, images, copy etc. etc. ― accordingly. It also entails rigorously mulling over the billboard’s location, its material, and many other factors to streamline the “actual” design process.

Without doing the mind lifting, the heavy groundwork, the billboard is highly unlikely to serve its primary purpose ― building brand recognition.  

In this article, we’re going to tell you everything there is to consider for designing a billboard that generates tons of leads and brings your hard work to fruition.

Billboard Designing: Factors to Consider

  1. Budget
  2. Location
  3. Scale
  4. Colors and Graphics
  5. Contrast
  6. Typography
  7. Printing
  8. Originality
  1. Budget

Most people harbor this misconception that billboards are a costly investment ― with little possibility of profitable returns.

You will be surprised to know that despite the rising popularity of digital advertisements, billboards still remain, to this day, one of the most effective and affordable marketing tools.

Out of the 3.7 billion pounds spent on outdoor advertisements, roughly 62% is attributed to billboards. A study also found out that 48% billboards within the line of sight of a driver are read.

Business owners sometimes neglect their importance. They think they cost a fortune. However, our findings suggest that to be a misunderstanding on their part.

  • Traditional billboards or paper billboards, unlike digital ones, don’t have to share slots with other brands and can represent your business unfettered, for several months.
  • Digital billboards aren’t energy efficient. They require a lot of energy to keep them powered up. Paper, on the other hand, can be easily recycled. And then there’s also the question of portraying a socially conscious image of your brand.

Some of the factors that affect the cost of billboard advertising are enlisted below.

  • Location: The costs are higher in busier areas of the city, such as highways and commercial areas.
  • Size: The bigger the billboard, the costlier it will be. Due to the fact that it will occupy more land.
  • Lighting: If you’re interested in keeping your billboard alight throughout the night, you will have to dish out extra.
  • Visibility: Buying land for your signage in a visible, conspicuous are will also cost you more.
  • Competition: An area with many billboards around will have steeper prices than an area with only a few

2. Location

The visibility of your billboard takes precedence over everything else. You want it to be seen ― to be prominent. If it stands shy or concealed, it’s going to affect your ability to generate sales.

Here are some things to factor in when assessing visibility.

  • Direction

Drivers are pacing by it at incredibly swift speeds. They will hardly have a few seconds to notice your billboard. If it is aligned poorly, visible only through peripheral vision or not peering directly, it’s going to fail miserably at grabbing attention.

Make sure, at all costs, it is facing directly towards the observer and blatantly obvious to the onrushing traffic.

  • Height

The right height is also extremely important. Planting your billboard at a skyscraper is only going to attract eagles and vultures and the likes. Make sure that it is at a height that promotes maximum readability. A maximum impact height of 1-3 meters is advised in most cases.

  • Interference

One other thing that will kill the vibe of your billboard is interference. A hanging bush or an intruding bridge blocking your artwork is a recipe for disaster.

Make sure that any sort of buildings, trees or bushes don’t come in the way.

  • Traffic Count

This is a no-brainer. To have a clear idea of the traffic your billboard is going to entertain, head on over to the Department of Traffic and study interactive maps and traffic profiles to get a rough traffic count.

  • Demographics

Having a profound understanding of your target audience is the first step of every marketing strategy.

It’s all about getting to know their needs and the language that tempts their senses.

Who are they? Are they Millenials or conservative priests? What’s their age, their gender? Are they married or in a complicated relationship? Anything and everything can prove helpful in refining your brand’s message in the final design ― and also on finalizing the location.

Let’s suppose that you’re the proud owner of a football store. Planting billboards near football grounds and other sports venue are always going to make more sense than old homes.

What should I consider when designing a billboard?

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3. Scale

The size of the billboard can pose some challenges. But when you think about it: How is designing a billboard different from designing a, let’s say, a standard business card? I mean, if you know how to design a stunning business card, all you have to do is scale things up and replicate your design strategy for a billboard, right?

Forget about the size. It’s of secondary significance. The scale, on the other hand, should be your primary concern. Your billboard needs to be visible, clearly legible, even from a distant location, for maximum impact. Keep this in mind while accounting for scale.

What should I consider when designing a billboard?

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4. Colors and Graphics

Don’t hesitate to go massive with colors and graphics. Be bold, prominent and strikingly visible. Color is of utmost importance. It can make or break the design. Here’s what you need to consider while choosing it.

As far as images go, one is enough. Too many images will overwhelm and distract the audience from your company’s message. You don’t want that.

The selection of images and colors also depends on the location. For instance, if your billboard is placed amidst a bunch of lush green fields, then ask yourself, which color should contrast with their green to promote visibility?

Think about your choice of color and graphics according to your billboards physical surroundings. And never opt for a blue background. It’s bound to blend in with the blue sky and make the copy totally inconspicuous.

What should I consider when designing a billboard?

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5. Contrast

Contrast is a vital component of billboards. Pairing hues and choosing contrasts between limpid and vibrant colors is highly recommended.

Remember: there is no predetermined combination of colors for designs; you have to tinker and see which contrasts provide the best visibility and appearance.

Some popular contrasts used are enlisted below.

  • Standard Jet-black and White
  • Stark Yellow and Lustrous Black
  • Dark Green and White
  • Scarlet-red and White

Stick with the vibrant, lustrous and glittering colors. Never ever pick dull, bland, and mood-killing greys and blacks. High-contrast colors that really show when coupled with the background is what will give the message of your brand maximum exposure.

What should I consider when designing a billboard?

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6. Typography

Simplicity and typography go hand in glove. An erect, legible, non-italicized typeface is advised. A Sans Serif or a Times New Roman or something along the same lines will do.

And keep the font size humungous. Think in terms of visibility. Increase the font size with the increase in height from the ground and distance from your audience.

Now on to the number of words. Again, brevity is your best friend. The most powerful and impactful taglines or brand messages are no longer than 15 words. As a rule of thumb, don’t integrate more than 5 words in a single line of text.

The length of the words matters too. If they are overly long, you will likely have to decrease their count. Just make sure there is adequate spacing between them, and they don’t seem cramped.

You can also embolden or italicize certain keywords to give them extra prominence. Be careful: Italicized words can cause confusion from a distance; steer clear from their overuse.

Remember: your aim is to not just create a contrast between the background and the images and the copy, but also with the surroundings.

What should I consider when designing a billboard?

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7. Printing

The medium will drive major design choices. Is your billboard going to be printed on a vinyl banner or printed or corrugated plastic?

Depending upon the location, the choice of material will also vary. Some materials are more suited for outdoor postage while some for indoors.

Before treading on the tricky terrain of billboard designing, be perfectly clear about the print material. Also, find a printer that has cutting-edge equipment and a formidable reputation to ensure your design comes out all neat and shiny.

Trust me, figuring out these vital details beforehand will save you from a world of struggle.

What should I consider when designing a billboard?

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8. Originality

You can adhere to every aforementioned rule. Choose the right colors, the perfect contrast, but if your billboard is a clone, a boring mess, something out of a cliché designer book, is it ever going to stand out? Absolutely not!

You must dare to think outside the box. Using the above pointers as your foundation, craft an original and visually provocative masterpiece.  

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting creating something complex. In the case of billboards, you just have a couple of seconds to captivate your audience. If they don’t get the point of your billboard, the message of your brand in that limited timeframe, what’s the point?

You have to craft something simplistically ingenious. A catchy tagline, a witty image, anything that bursts forth a couple of laughs or arouses curiosity ― not a contrived or stolen idea by any means.

Original thought doesn’t just pay the bills; it makes you a millionaire.

 

Silly Mistakes to Avoid in Your Billboard Design

Now that we’ve factored in everything, let’s shed some light on some funny and awful mistakes most designers make, to further nudge you in the right direction.

  • Cramping

A great designer knows how to refine his thoughts. Most designers have this itch to stuff an excess of images and graphics into the final design. Address! Social media and website links! And other god awful and extravagant information.  Hell, some even include pictures of their business.

The biggest reason why overcrowding your design is ill-advised is confusion. Too much text and other design elements make viewers scratch their heads. They overwhelm and confound them.

Instead of treading on this erroneous path, work on one focal point you want your viewership to remember. Is it your logo? Is it our company motto? Or something entirely else? Make sure the orbit of your signage revolves around it to make it prominent.  

  • Grammatical Errors

You’ve done everything right. Catered to every fine detail. Your billboard is up there and ready to make its mark. And then after it all, you notice a glaring grammatical error or a misspelling. And then it dawns on you that such minor negligence has flushed your hard work down the toilet.

Even if customers find your ad compelling and visually riveting, such typos can make you appear unprofessional, unkempt and downright careless.

This is why hiring a professional company like Print Peppermint is highly recommended to steer clear of any untoward embarrassment.

  • Design Mistakes

Everything, from the images to the typography, should serve to complement each other. Otherwise, you run the risk of portraying a disorganized and distorted image of your brand.

Achieving design cohesiveness is a challenging task. If you’re not sure you can pull it off, invest in a professional design company to ensure the message of your business is consistent and focused.

One other design mistake that often slips through the cracks is inaccurate scaling. Are the images and graphics murky or pixelated? Perfect scalability may require a high-quality vector or an HD photo.

  • Missing a call to action

Every advertisement is incomplete without an effective call-to-action.

In the case of business signage, what prompt action do you need your target customers to take? Do you want them to call you? Contact you through email?

Sure, most billboards are designed solely for the sake of brand exposure. But, sometimes it’s wise to kill two birds with a single stone.

  • Being Impatient

Sometimes outdoor advertisements fail to pay dividends right away. This leads to compounded frustration, which, in turn, leads to making wrong decisions and sinking of time and investment.

Give your signage the time to lure in customers. Don’t doubt your abilities. You’ve spent hours working, thinking, planning. You need to give your hard work some time.

Conclusion

Billboards aren’t unlike other sign advertisements. It’s just their placement that makes them deserving of special attention. From scale to typography, you have to cater to every aspect to ensure they stand out and make a statement worthy of your hard work. You can benefit from our Billboard Design Services and our expert designers will guide you through the whole process to make an excellent billboard design.

The factors to consider before designing this massive design project may differ, but the design strategy isn’t likely to shift a lot. The evaluation of the target audience, the choice of design elements and other groundwork will require the same old “brickwork” as is required in other marketing projects.

Austin Terrill

Austin is the founder and CEO of Print Peppermint. He loves art, graphic design, printing, music, recording gear, synthesizers, and ice cream. He lives in Berlin with his wife and two children.

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