10 Design Tips for Outdoor Advertisements

When it comes to outdoor advertising, first impressions matter. You only have a limited amount of time to catch someone’s attention and make an impact. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that your designs are on point. Here are 10 design tips to help you create some unforgettable outdoor adverts.

(Whilst the examples below are taken from our own lamppost banner campaigns, these tips apply to all outdoor formats.)

1 - Keep it Simple

With so many distractions competing for our attention, it’s crucial to keep your design simple and easy to understand. Use short, concise copy and high-contrast colours to ensure your message is front and centre. Remember, people often only have a few seconds to take in your advert, so make sure your key message is immediately clear.

2 - Make an Impact with Colour

Colour is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. It can influence a person’s emotions and level of engagement. Use colour wisely to grab attention and leave a lasting impression. Consider using a large block of brand-appropriate colour to draw attention to your message. Bright, bold colours can be particularly effective in outdoor advertising, as they stand out against the often dull backdrop of the urban environment.

3 - Use High Quality Images

Outdoor adverts are often viewed from a distance, so it’s important to use images that are clear and easily visible. Avoid using small or low-resolution images, as they will appear blurry and unprofessional. High-quality images not only look better but also help to build trust in your brand. If possible, use professional photography or illustrations to ensure your visuals are as good as they can be.

4 - Create a Call to Action

Sometimes you may just be advertising for the purpose of brand awareness, in which case a call to action isn’t necessary. However, when your campaign has a clear goal, keep this in mind during the design process. You may wish to encourage people to visit your website, download an app, or stop by your shop. Directional arrows and mini maps are a great way to subtly nudge pedestrians and drivers in the direction of your store. Make sure your call to action is prominent and easy to follow.

5 - Think Outside the Box

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to your outdoor advert designs. If you’re looking for maximum impact, you’ll want to get creative with shapes, sizes, and placement to make your ads stand out. Consider using unusual materials, 3D elements, or interactive features to really grab people’s attention. Just make sure your creative ideas don’t overshadow your core message.

6 - Consider the Environment

When planning your outdoor advert campaign, take into account the environment where your ads will be placed. If you’re placing adverts in a highly trafficked area, make sure they can be seen easily by pedestrians and drivers alike. If you’re placing adverts in a more subdued setting, you can be more experimental with your designs.

If you are using raised adverts in an open area, without tall buildings behind them, then you’ll want to think about how your design will contrast with the sky. Outdoor adverts in winter should avoid using too many whites and greys, as a lack of contrast between these designs and the winter sky will make them less noticeable.

7 - Don't Overlook the Details

The details matter just as much as the big-picture elements when it comes to creating an effective outdoor advert campaign. Pay attention to things like typography, layout, and branding so that every element works together cohesively. Small details like the spacing between letters or the placement of your logo can make a big difference in how professional and polished your advert looks.

8 - Remember your Brand Guidelines

If you have brand guidelines, make sure you adhere to them when designing your outdoor adverts. This will ensure that your adverts are consistent with the rest of your marketing materials and reinforce your brand identity. Consistency is key to building brand recognition and trust, so don’t let your outdoor adverts stray too far from your established look and feel.

9 - Keep up with Trends

Keeping up with design trends will help you create contemporary-looking adverts that grab attention. Modern trends such as expressive lettering and colourful doodles can help position your brand as fresh and fashionable. Just be careful not to go too overboard – striking a balance between trendy and timeless is key. You want your adverts to look current, but not so trendy that they quickly become dated.

10 - Use a Professional

Last but not least, one of the best ways to ensure that your outdoor advert campaign is successful is to work with a professional designer. They can help you navigate all of these tips (and more!) in order to create adverts that get results. A professional designer will have the experience and expertise to create adverts that are both visually appealing and effective at communicating your message.

When it comes time to create great outdoor advertising campaigns, it’s important not to underestimate the importance of design. A well-constructed advertisement will capture attention, communicate its message clearly, and leave a lasting impression.

Keep these ten tips in mind during your next campaign for a professional design and successful campaign. By focusing on simplicity, colour, imagery, and clarity, and by paying attention to the details and the environment, you can create outdoor adverts that really stand out and get results.