5 Pro Tips for an Effective Billboard Design - Graphic Design Best Practices

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by Graphicszoo 15+ days ago 5 mins read

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Time and again, we have emphasized on the influential existence of traditional marketing despite the surge of online marketing in the last few years. And advertising through outdoor billboards is certainly one of the most prominent ways of executing traditional marketing.

This brings us to our topic of discussion for the day that is, tips on creating professional billboard design for effective outdoor marketing.

But, before we begin with the tips on creating effective billboard designs let us look at some really exciting facts about billboard advertising that shows why you need to work diligently on the design of your billboard.

- The cost to manage billboard advertising is nearly 80% less than the cost of television advertising.

71% of consumers look at the messages on roadside billboards.

- The average CPM (Cost Per Mille or Cost Per Thousand) for billboard advertising is $5.22 making it less cost-prohibitive than online ads whose prices continue to grow.

- Close to 30% of customers who see a billboard ad visit the store for purchase.

- More than 90% of people see an Out-Of-Home ad every week.

- Currently, there are around 370k active billboards in the US out of which roughly 7800 are digital billboards.

Now that we have made it super clear why you need to focus on creating engaging and memorable billboard design for your products and services, let us look at how you can go about doing it.


Ensure clarity of view

billboard design tips and ideas

With the billboard display, you get just a few seconds to communicate with your audience as they drive by. So, it is needless to even mention that your billboard must be clear with its messaging.

Creating an effective billboard design is mainly about making it readable.  Even the best design is worthless if it is not legible from a distance.  It is only after legibility has been mastered that creativity can follow.

In order to have a clear and legible billboard, here’s what you can do with its design elements:

     - Use larger texts. Experts suggest using bold, non-serif fonts for the text.

     - Stick to one message by keeping the text short and simple.

     - Use contrasting colors for text and background.

     - Avoid cluttering your billboard design with images. One high-impact graphic will do more work than several.

Ensure compliance with the area

billboard design tips and ideas

One very interesting thing about billboard design and advertising is that it gives you the opportunity to be as creative as you want to be using the area where you’d be placing it.

What we mean by this is that you can always use the billboard design to acknowledge precisely what your target audience is up to by using the geography and demography of the area.

For example, you can figure out the majority of the population which lives in the area where you’d be placing your billboard and use that to create a design that directly speaks with them. This could be done by using a local personality or adding humor to your design text or tailoring your billboard design based on where the audience may be driving.  

Remember those milestone billboards placed on highways to tell those who are driving by that how far the next food court is? Because they know that the messaging on the billboard is about taking a break from the long drive, using relatable graphics becomes easier.

All these things help a lot in making your billboard design visually memorable.

Ensure including the CTA

billboard design tips

You cannot just do it without using appropriate CTA in your ads regardless of the kind of medium you are using to communicate with your audience. After all, it is the trigger button for your target audience to become your loyal customers; a means to achieve your end objective.

Taking the same example from the previous point about the food court billboard on a highway, a clever CTA or slogan such as, “stretch your legs in 2 miles” can really help your billboard design to stand out and get you a good crowd gathering at the food court.

You can list a phone number to call, a website to visit, or an app to download, but you need to offer the next step.

And since we have already explained it in the first point that the messaging must be short and simple, you need to ensure how you would want to display your CTA on the billboard. You cannot have the entire space cluttered with texts.

You, therefore, have to decide which of the texts are important to be used in a bold and highlighted manner. A call to action text is certainly the end objective, so it is important for sure.

Ensure consistency in design

billboard design tips

The one thing which differentiates a regular product from a well-known brand is ‘Consistency’. This is what you, too, will have to ensure for your billboard design, as it is a part of your branding strategy.

Using some fixed elements in your designs can help your audience to recall your ad immediately; no matter where they see it. This means, using your logo on the billboard, use of your brand colors in some way, using the same font types for the text, etc.

It is easy to look at a billboard and think of it as a clean slate for another marketing plan. But you need to ensure that your billboard design, too, adds value to your overall marketing plan by fitting in your marketing puzzle.

You need to ensure that your billboard design matches your branding on other platforms, such as digital, newspapers, magazines, or TV, in some way or the other.

Having the continuity between your different advertising outlets is just as important as the advertisements themselves.

Ensure the design is managed by experts in the field

billboard design tips

Earlier we had provided you with some facts about billboard design and advertising, one of which was on its cost-effectiveness. So, if you feel that outsourcing your design services to an expert agency would burn your pockets, you need not worry at all.

A few extra hundred dollars spent on a professionally designed billboard should be worth considering design pitfalls that could hurt conversions from your ad, or worse, hurt the reputation of your business.

A professional graphic designer would know very well how to comply with and include all the necessary elements for a billboard design that we have discussed above. Starting from using the font types and size, the color palette, the visual graphics, etc.

To conclude…

Effective billboard design is clear and simple to comprehend, grabs the attention by using relatable graphics (with some humor maybe), and is consistent with its branding to create Top-of-the-Mind-Recall.

We hope these pro-tips will help you come up with an effective billboard design for your brand. If you require professional support for your work, GraphicsZoo has deep experience in providing billboard design services. Simply get in touch with your requirements at support@graphicszoo.com