Billboards are one of the earliest forms of mass advertising in America, dating back to nearly 150 years ago. Billboard advertising spend continues to grow at 5 percent to eight billion dollars annually. According to SketchDeck, 71% of drivers have reported that billboards directly influence their buying decisions. A billboard only has about six seconds to say something memorable. Not to mention, they aren’t the cheapest form of advertising. Here are a few tips to creating effective billboard designs that will be sure to make a lasting impression in seconds, making your money well spent.
A systematic approach should be taken to narrow down the design and copy that will deliver a cohesive message that sticks quickly. To start, utilize psychology to understand what design will trigger reactions that will make the message stick with the consumer. By evoking the correct emotions and associations, it will bring the consumer back to your product or service at a later time.
Color can be used to evoke emotion. In fact, using the right kind of color contrast on a billboard design has been proven to improve consumers recall of the ad by 38%. Below are some recommended color combinations:
As we previously mentioned, there are only a few seconds for the consumer to decrypt your message. Sources caution against using clever messages due to the fact that billboards with implicit messages are known to actually increase the number of car accidents.
Instead, use concrete words in collaboration with a combination of data, stats and a story or context. Try to keep the copy under 10 words, and avoid using a big block font type. It is recommended to stick to one image. There is a saying that applies here, “When you say too much you say nothing at all.”
Be sure to show an obvious connection to your product or service. If possible, advertise your product's effect, so the results can speak for themselves. Shock consumers with surprising imagery or tempt them with the potential for a life they don't have.
It is best to use one call-to-action, as to not dilute the consumer from getting the real message of your billboard. For instance, asking viewers to call, email or visit your website will not only inflict decision fatigue, but may decrease the likelihood that they will read other, more vital information, like the message you are trying to portray.
The balance suggests testing your billboard design with the “Arm’s Length” test. Print out your billboard to the size of a business card. Hold it out at arm's length. Are you still getting everything you were when it was displayed on your monitor?
We hope these tips assist you in creating effective billboard designs. Stay tuned for more advertising tips and tricks.
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Denise Grothouse is the Founder and President of Perfect Six, a Marketing and Brand Management Firm.
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