We’ve all seen them, driven past them and watched many a comic action hero go through them, but billboards are a powerful marketing tool that we seem to overlook. You can’t miss them, but sometimes their message isn’t as powerful as we thought, so how do we make a billboard stand out?
Billboards are an ever present fixture in many of our lives. As we’re driving we can be bombarded by an array of brightly coloured, busy messages and nine times out of ten, you’re going to forget that message. So, how do you make a billboard with a lasting impression? Over here at Fisherprint | TLC Signs & Banners we have come up with a few simple tips that will make any marketing billboard stand out from the rest.
Understand the Size of Your Billboard
Designing and printing for something that could be up to 50 feet in width and 15 feet in height is no simple task. When you’re printing on your bog standard A4 piece of paper, the scale of the photos and text will be easy to adjust, however for much larger scale jobs, such as billboards, your standard landscape picture won’t do.
You always need to remember the scale that you are designing for and commissioning as you will have to reconfigure certain images and text to fit and align with the sizing of the billboard.
What is the Message of Your Billboard?
If you have been following the Fisherprint | TLC Signs & Banners blog for some time you will know that we often speak about the message of your print job. It is one of the most important aspects that you can think of as you need to not only promote yourself, but you need to make a lasting impression.
There have been (and most likely will still be) billboards that are far too messy in terms of message that you simply walk/drive straight by them without a second thought. Your message needs to be short yet impactful. People or drivers do not have the time to stop and read what your billboard is saying, they need to digest the information quickly and remember it, so they can’t be reading paragraphs of content.
As a customer you need to think about a short, punchy message that will allow you to convey who you are and what you’re selling instantly. Maybe it’s not even a message, maybe it’s a series of images or just one image that accurately portray’s what you’re trying to tell.
Where will Your Billboard be Located?
The next thing that you need to take into consideration is the location of your billboard. Is it going to be in a busy urban area? Or is it going to be somewhere more suburban? Is it going to be on a busy main road? Or somewhere with more nature surrounding it?
This is a crucial element to the thought process behind your billboard as the images you might want to place on it may disappear or get lost in the surroundings on the billboards placement. For instance, if you have a business selling trees, you want to avoid placing your advert on a billboard surrounded by trees and other greenery as it will simply melt into the background and become unnoticeable.
Again, your billboard needs to be noticed from some distance away and the reader needs to take in all of the information that they can, so make sure it’s visible even with the surrounding environment. An example could be one of the many billboards that are adorned to concrete structures. A usually drab exterior could be livened up with a brightly coloured billboard with a powerful message.
The colour of your billboard is not only determined by you as a business and product, but by your location as well. I have mentioned before about you billboard needing to stand out and be memorable; one of these elements is down to the colour.
Make a real contrast to your billboard’s surroundings: make sure that you are staying on brand and that you can convey your brand and message efficiently to direct to any potential customers.
The text on your billboard is very important. We briefly touched on the scale that billboards are in terms of imagery, yet what many don’t think of is the size of the text that needs to be on there. Generally, you need to think of it in terms of 10 inches (size) of each letter per every 100 feet of visibility.
Don’t overload your billboard with endless reals of text, you need to remember that the reader needs to take in all of the information, usually in a short space of time, so they need to be able to read everything without getting distracted or left wanting to read more.
It is best to stick to a few words as they will make the biggest impact on the reader. If you plan to say more than a few words then break your text up into lines, no more than two or three, again with only a few words. Anything longer than that the reader won’t be able to digest making your billboard virtually ineffective.
Again, your images need to be sharp and memorable. What you need to remember is that images on a billboard will be a lot bigger, so not any old JPEG will suffice. If you are taking your own images or using them from elsewhere then they need to be able to be stretched and enlarged enough to still have a clear and bright image.
Again, your landscape will play a big role in what your imagery will look like. You don’t want to have an image of nature on your billboard when it is situated in front of a load of trees. A greater impact is contrast; we gave the example earlier in the article that some billboards are set against concrete walls, a somewhat bland backdrop, but a backdrop that gives you a great opportunity to go bold with colour.
How is a Billboard Made?
If you have ever looked closely at a billboard that you will see that it is printed in sections. Each panel of the billboard will be printed individually as, unfortunately, there isn’t a printer in the world with the capability of printing a 50 foot wide billboard.
Once the design team have the relevant and correct images they will place it on a computerised model, which allows them to cut the image into various sections. once the billboard has been approved it will then move onto the printers where each section will be printed individually.
The customer can choose which type of paper they want their billboard to be printed on as different papers can give off different effects and finishes. Once each section has been printed it will be packaged up and taken to it’s intended location.
Once there, our in-house installation team can apply each section to the backing where it can stay for the duration of its allotted time and we can then remove it if necessary.