Billboard Design Tips: 10 Tips for an Effective Billboard Design

The next time you take a drive, keep an eye peeled for billboards. If you make a point of looking for them, you’ll notice that they surround roadways in the majority of urban and suburban areas. You probably see a hundred billboard ads each week but remember only a few or maybe even none.

Billboard Design Tips


That’s because few billboards effectively advertise their product or service. Below, we take a look at 10 tips to create an effective billboard design that will sear itself into the memories of onlookers and effectively advertises the company’s product or service.

Design Tip 1: The Less Words The Better

The vast majority of people who see billboards are operating a vehicle. This means that they’ll have only a few seconds to take in the advertisement’s message. Few drivers will take their eyes off of the road long enough to read more than a couple words on a billboard. This is why effective billboards use 5 words or less. Some only use one or two words and still convey the product in a positive and meaningful fashion. Sometimes no words are necessary beyond the brand name. Orchestrate the message through a simple visual instead.

Design Tip 2: Carefully Choose The Typography

The billboard text must be large, thick and precise in order to be seen by moving onlookers and more importantly, to actually resonate with them. Text should be large enough to be seen at a vast distance. Aside from a large size, it also needs to be the right color. Its hue should stick out from the rest of the billboard’s colors.

Design Tip 3: Show, Don’t Tell

The best advertisers understand that audiences identify with messages that show the product or service being used. Customers don’t want to be told about a product, especially those who are looking at a billboard from afar while traveling in a vehicle at a high rate of speed. So, show them instead of telling them about the product or service being offered.

Design Tip 4: Build The Brand

Too many billboards try to solicit a direct response from onlookers by displaying their phone number or website address. Very few drivers will have a pen and paper handy to write down such information. Instead, companies should utilize billboard advertisements to build a brand. Onlookers will remember a brand or a product name but they won’t remember detailed information.

Design Tip 5: Be Straightforward

Present the product in a simple manner. Don’t go to great lengths to create a fancy billboard advertisement that is complex and clever. Remember, people who see the billboard will only observe it for a few seconds. They don’t have the time to look at it long enough to figure out a complex message. Billboards can still be funny and smart without presenting a puzzle for the observer to solve.

Design Tip 6: Settle On A Dominant Element

Billboards shouldn’t have much going on. There should be one dominant element that grabs the viewer’s attention. Multiple elements tend to compete with one another and leave the viewer confused. Keep it simple and whittle down the advertising campaign’s themes to one theme with a clear and cogent message.

Design Tip 7: Focus On Visuals

While words on a billboard can grab the attention of onlookers, visuals make a greater impact. Carefully choose bold images that clearly illustrate the benefits of the product or service. People would rather see the product in action than read about it.

Design Tip 8: Take A Chance

Too many billboards take a vanilla approach to present a product. Viewers quickly forget about such ads. A billboard should be creative and a bit surprising in order to create a lasting memory. Yet it shouldn’t go for shock value that will distract drivers from the roads. Create a humorous, captivating or surprising image and message that illustrates the product’s best characteristics.

Design Tip 9: Don’t Distract

Believe it or not, many drivers will avoid a product if they see it advertised on a billboard that is too distracting. Drivers value their safety. They don’t want to be surrounded by drivers who have diverted their attention from the road to see a scantily clad woman on a billboard or another form of advertising that is so wild that it distracts them from their driving responsibilities .

Design Tip 10: Billboards Don’t Always Need A Call To Action

While most advertisements have a clear call to action, this is not always necessary on billboards. All a billboard needs to do is create a memorable advertisement that makes the viewer aware of what the brand’s name is and what its product does. If effective enough, it will spur viewers towards the company’s website and products. People don’t simply do things because an advertiser tells them to. They do things because they have a genuine curiosity or desire to further explore something. If created properly, the billboard itself is a call to action.