Steps to creating an effective poster (20/04/17)

Steps to creating an effective poster

Make an impression with your first billboard design

If you're new to OOH and working without your own agency you might very well be feeling a little out of your depth when it comes to designing that eye-catching poster your business needs.

Not to worry! We spoke to Gaby Hollis, Lee Hunter and James Wadsworth, in-house designers at Primesight, on their top billboard tips. And if you don't have time to read it all now, download our handy guide to take away with you.

1. Succinct communication

There are plenty of mediums - such as print advertising or a 90 second TV commercial - where you can afford to take the time to explain yourself, but in outdoor advertising keeping it short is vital.

Don’t use more than 7 words. A succinct message is key to delivering impacts. The audience only has a limited time to see a poster. Too much clutter confuses the audience and makes the poster unidentifiable.

2. Colour and contrast

Jimmy works across a whole range of brands in his role and knows that the most effective billboard designs are the ones where they know how to make the message stand out.

Good contrast between the background and the copy makes the poster stand out. Lack of contrast makes the poster difficult to read.

3. Clear branding and message

Having drawn up Primesight's own brand guidelines, Design Manager Gaby, is all to familiar with the need to stay consistent. Wherever your customers go they should be able to recognise your brand in advertising.

To achieve instant recognition stick to clear, large branding and brand colours. Keep the creative concise to best demonstrate your logo, the product, and the call to action.

4. The power of images

Don't underestimate how much of an effect a powerful image can have on your customers passing by Primesight billboards or waiting in cinema foyers.

The purpose of images is to direct the viewer to what is important. They help set a tone or illustrate your concept. Do not include irrelevant images. In the case of outdoor creative, 'less is more'.

5. Effective layout

Tools like our proprietary PrimeDesign tool can help you understand how best to lay out your poster design, but there is also one simple rule to follow which is that creatives with branding at the top, middle and bottom are consumed better than those where the key elements are scattered around. Why is that? Well, the human eye naturally reads posters in a 'Z-like' pattern, which means that adopting this structure on your posters will make the message even easier to digest.

6. Point of contact

With years of design experience Lee has seen one or two adverts that miss the point when grabbing attention. What point are we talking about? The point of contact, of course. Avoid using more than one point of contact on your poster. If your ad includes a phone number, street address, directions to your location and a website, you have too many points of contact.

7. Intrigue and entertain

We all know it from our own experience: the most powerful outdoor posters are the ones that provoke positive emotions. If possible, try to deliver your message in an intriguing or entertaining manner that does not compromise the ad’s effectiveness.

8. Synergy with other media

At Primesight we've seen some incredible amplification results when out-of-home is paired with other media. If you're already considering a print campaign, for example, then outdoor advertising will help increase that ROI. It's important to remember though that your brand needs to be recognisable across all of your channels. there needs to be consistency between your OOH creative and any other media you’re using, but never direct duplication - the design needs to fit the medium. After all, nothing beats an iconic poster.

This is part of our Beginners to OOH series. For other helpful articles on jargon and special requests visit our news page, and look out for upcoming tips in the series, including a guide to finding the best free tools for stock images and design work.