Drivers only have around five seconds to read and understand your billboard ad. The following guidelines will help you design the big, bold ad you need in order to make the right impression in the right amount of time.
1. Memorable Messaging
An entertaining campaign is a memorable campaign, but your main goal is always to be clear over clever. Complex visuals and wordplay, as well as industry jargon, may confuse your audience—especially when they only have a few seconds to absorb your ad. Use images, fonts, and tried-and-true design practices together to create a smart and unforgettable message.
2. Message Length
Short messaging is more memorable and effective when it comes to billboard ads. In fact, most drivers will stop reading after about five or six words. Your goal is to curate every single word in the ad to convey your core message. To make a big impact, take the time to plan, edit, and re-edit your message to be as concise as possible.
3. Image Selection
Billboards are fundamentally a visual experience, and less is more when it comes to choosing your hero image. Your best practice will be choosing one image or graphic element that grabs your audience’s attention and reinforces the core message of your ad. When your image and text are unified, your reader will get one immediate and clear message in a matter of seconds.
4. Color Choices
With digital billboards, you want to attract the attention of your audience without distracting them or making them work to read your ad. Choose background and font colors that are high contrast so your message is easy to read at any time of day. As a best practice, avoid bright white backgrounds, which can be especially distracting to drivers at night.
5. Font Size & Style Design
When it comes to fonts, don’t get fancy. Cursive lettering or script fonts are harder to read on the go, so keep your fonts big and bold. With serif or sans serif print, you’ll still have plenty of choices when you’re picking a font that matches your messaging and your brand. Whatever font you choose, it’s best practice to choose a single font within an ad. Change font size or font weights to create a hierarchy of information or variation within your message.
6. Contact Information
While it’s important for customers to know how to get in contact with your company, it should not be the main focus of a billboard ad per se. Choose other ad mediums for direct call-to-actions. Use outdoor advertising to build name recognition. If you provide contact information in your ad, a short URL will be more memorable and effective than a phone number.