What Lessons Banner Designers Can Learn from Billboard Designers

Billboard marketing is exactly what you think it is. It’s the large billboards you see on the sides of the highway. Banner marketing is similar to billboard marketing but differs in a few ways. Unlike billboards, custom banners vary in size and can be used virtually anywhere, indoors or out. However, the main difference between the two forms of advertising is that billboards must follow much stricter guidelines to be successful. Billboard advertisers follow these guidelines because they only have seconds to reach customers with a billboard, so they must take special measures to ensure their advertisements are easy to understand and resonate with the audience. This article we will discuss how using the guidelines that make billboard design successful can increase the effectiveness of custom banner advertising.

To start, we understand that these guidelines don’t apply to all custom banners. Some banners are meant to display a lot of information for captive audiences. These tips are for banner advertisements that might be on the side of the road, at a tradeshow, in front of a business, or any place where you have a limited amount of time to get the attention of a person.

Keep it Simple

Keep your design simple. Many billboards will use a large, simple, sans serif font because designers know that passersby will be able to read the text faster with a simpler font. Additionally, they will be able to read the message from further away with a larger font. The industry standard for billboard advertising is to use no more than six words because it was determined that drivers can only comprehend about six words in the time it takes to drive past a billboard. Another way to increase the effectiveness of large, simple fonts is to use contrasting colors so that the words are clearly visible on the billboard backdrop.

These tips for billboard design are perfect for custom banner design as well. Simple fonts, contrasting colors, and short sentences can help produce a clear, concise banner advertisement that will be effective in any setting.


It’s no secret that location is important in advertising. The more people that see your ad, the greater the sales opportunity. Billboards are often installed along busy highways, and other places that guarantee thousands of views each day. Once you have your location chosen, pay attention to how high and which direction your custom banner is facing. Unlike billboards, with banners you have flexibility as to how your signage is positioned. Get in your car and see how easy it is to actually read your banner in that location. Low hanging banners are better for slower traffic and foot traffic. For highway visibility, hang your sign higher so that drivers can recognize it sooner and have more time to read your message.

Know your Location

The fastest way to get someone to look at a billboard is to relate to them. You will often see billboards mentioning a local professional sports team or some other aspect of local culture. Relating to the audience not only garners attention, but it increases the likelihood that they will read and remember your message. This concept can easily be utilized by those using banners to advertise. Where will your banner be located? How can you relate your business to the area where your banner will be displayed?

The Message

The best billboards accomplish one simple goal—the customers remember the advertisement. This is the goal of most marketing campaigns, but achieving it through billboard advertising is especially challenging because of the limited amount of time that people will actually view the advertisement. Three common tactics marketers use to create a memorable advertisement are funny messages, provocative messages, or visually impressive/unique billboards.

In the billboard below, we see how one brand decided to use humor to promote their business. When looking at this billboard, we can easily see how they incorporated the elements mentioned previously in this blog.

Creative custom banner advertising fitness billboard design

Keep it simple: This billboard has five words and a phone number. The font is large, simple and contrasts sharply from the bland white backdrop.

Know your location: Assuming this is a local business, this billboard is speaking directly to those who live in the area.

The message: Simple and funny.

The combination of all of these elements make this billboard an effective advertisement.

Another way to be remembered is to be provocative. Provocative billboards are effective at garnering attention, but how the message is received will ultimately be the basis of how effective it is as an advertisement.

Tui Brewery is a craft brewery located in New Zealand owned by Heineken. Tui is very active with billboard marketing. Their “Yeah Right” campaign, a series of politically incorrect billboards, has fueled their popularity in New Zealand. Below are some examples of Tui billboards.

Tui Billboard custom banners

While these billboards have helped Tui gain notoriety, they have also faced plenty of backlash from other billboards for what some feel are offensive jokes. Being provocative will certainly garner attention, but this also runs the risk of offending audiences and turning them off to your brand.

A third way to garner attention is to use the physical elements of the billboard to create a unique visual. This has become a very popular trend in billboard marketing and below we can see how Coca Cola used visual appeal for their billboard.

Coca Cola billboard custom banner advertising

This current trend of design elements playing a major role in the effectiveness of a billboard means that marketers don’t need to rely on words to sell their products. They can create a visual that can be understood quickly, but resonates more with their audience. If you’re lucky, your advertisement will go viral for its creativity like the billboard pictured below for the show Dracula.

dracula billboard custom banner advertising

The designers for the Dracula billboard used fake bloody stakes as a way to cast a shadow of Dracula’s profile. Photos of this billboard were shared on various social media channels and Reddit in the weeks after it was installed. 

Whatever direction you decide to take with your design, just remember, the same principles apply for banner advertising as do for billboard advertising. Many times a billboard is just a large custom banner. Quality Sign Designer can produce both, so stop on in, email or call to discuss your custom banner advertising needs.

Banner Designing Tips and Best Practices for the Beginner

When you’re planning an event, one of the best ways to attract attention is through the use of banners and signs. However, in order for you to catch the eye of your customer, you have to be able to create something that is… wait for it… eye catching. If you haven’t received your degree in design yet, no worries. Here is a quick rundown of some of the best practices for the beginning banner designer.

On sale

You will need to know what type of people you want to attract with your banners or signs. The tone of your signs should reflect not only in your message, but to the people you want to catch the attention of. If you want to be taken as a professional, then your design should match that in the best possible manner. Don’t get carried away with your choices. The most common rule in banner design is to keep it simple. Whoever your audience is, more than likely you will only have a few brief seconds of their attention. Give them something that is easy to remember.

Choose Your Size

Choosing your size depends on where you plan to put up your finished project. If you are in a large space or outdoors, then you may want a bigger design. In smaller venues, such as a home or front yard, you may want to be more conservative with your overall sizes.

Color Scheme

The colors you choose for your design can say a lot about what message you are hoping to get across. If you are opening a new business, you may want to use louder, bright colors to attract the attention of potential customers. On the other hand, if you are creating a more conservative sign or banner, you may want to stick to the basic primary colors. No matter what colors you choose, certain schemes go together better than others, so use good judgment with your color palette. Also, if you are adding a number or website, choose a different color to highlight that bit of text. This small trick will bring the customer’s eyes to that area and increases the likelihood for them to remember it.


There are a lot of pretty fonts to use, but despite how gorgeous they may seem, they may be an eyesore in your design. Use a font for your text that is bold, clear and easy to read. Make sure your text is large enough to be seen wherever you place it.  Keep the wording simple. If you need to write a novel, then you’re heading down the wrong street. You want your design to be able to communicate its message and still stand out in a crowd.

Be Original

Don’t be afraid to stand out in your design. A lot of businesses will use the old reliable clip art and color schemes when building out their banners. Here’s where you can use any creativity you have and stand out from the rest. You may realize that you don’t need a picture in the first place. Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path. Your originality may be the attracting feature to a potential customer or client.

Durability and Placement

If your banner or sign is going to be outside, you want to make sure it’s made and kept in place with materials that are resistant to any force of nature. The longer your sign can keep up its appearance outside, the more chance it has to be seen. Look for spots that may add in the lasting value of your banner, and most importantly: put it somewhere it will be seen.

If you are still having questions or need help, ask the professionals. Quality Sign Designer has created an easy-to-use “Design Your Own” template with everything we think you’ll need. Should you have any questions, feel free to watch one of our video tutorials or contact us directly.

Trade Show Banner Design Rules, Facts and Questions

Trade shows can be a very important way to get new business and help get your name out in the world. Companies who discount the effectiveness of going to a trade show are often those same companies that aren’t going to try very hard or just didn’t understand the best ways to get business at these venues. Trade shows have a lot of rules that are both unwritten and written when it comes to how you should attract customers with your set-up, including banner usage. Here are some of the design rules, facts and questions that are common when heading to one of these events.

Photoshow Exhibition,Rome 2012

Designing the Sign

The first thing you should do is decide what your goals are with going to the trade show.

  • Find new leads
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Launch a new product

Because there are different objectives, you need to be sure that you design your banner around the goals you set. For instance, if you are looking to launch a new product and make customers aware of that, you should probably feature a big graphic on the banner showing that product. This should help you to know where to start though.

Banner Rules

There are some rules in establishing your tradeshow presence. When it comes to how big each sign can be, that is going to be different depending on the show. However, when it comes to what is best for your sign, there are certain guidelines you should consider.

  1. One of the unwritten rules applies to most signs in general, but at a trade show it is especially important. This rule is that you should limit the amount of words you put on the sign. The more words there are; the less people are going to read. You have about six seconds to catch someone’s attention and it won’t be caught with a lengthy paragraph. Remember that less is more.
  2. Rather than depending on words to relay your message, try using a large visual image. If you have a bigger graphic, it is going to be much more attractive to the quick passing eye. Even better: If you have the right image, your message will be much clearer to the people who pass by.
  3. The colors you should use on your banner and sign should be either your company colors or the product colors that you are trying to feature.
  4. Try to think outside of the box. Take into account the most recent trends, but keep in mind that others are going to be trying to follow them as well. The more unique and original you can be, the better you will stand out. However, keep it reigned in enough that people don’t walk away not knowing what your company does. A great tool to look at can be billboards, because they only have a brief few seconds to catch people’s attention as well.


Some of the best ideas are clever, but simple. Try to think of your favorite advertisements and what they did to catch your attention.

  1. Try not to keep reusing the sign with each additional year of trade shows. Realize that if your set up looks outdated, your company will be perceived as not being very innovative. Repeat show visitors are going to realize that you aren’t changing things up, thus symbolizing not moving with the times.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the important things to consider with a banner?

The images and message conveyed on the banners is always going to be important, but it will often come down to the bottom line; which is your budget. Remember that going to trade shows will help you generate income, so the expenses should be more than covered if you do things right. Also, be sure the exhibit and/or signage can grab someone’s attention from a good distance away, rather than only when someone is standing right in front of it.

Are there any “do not” rules to consider?

Generally speaking, there should be no offensive images or language. Not only is it unprofessional, but it will drive many potential customers away. Also, try not to place anything important on the bottom third of a poster if it is going to the floor. This area is generally obscured by displays, chairs for staff or even people standing at your booth.

How much time in advance do you plan the banner?

While there is no set time that you should be working on the banner before you purchase it, you should be aware of the time it will take a company to print the work. Have it printed and ordered well before, in case you need to allow for any delays that might happen. You should start the design concept with enough time to make any changes that you may want to make. Having time to really think about it will allow you to make changes as they come across your mind.

Important – Please click here to review our Art Requirements regarding Inappropriate Artwork.