Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Design Considerations for a Professional Billboard

Billboards and large-scale banners are perhaps one of the most widely used forms of communication to speak to a wider audience. However, they too require in-depth research and a deep knowledge about the target audience before the design process begins.

With increasing reliance on digital processes for all advertising needs, crucial design inputs are necessary for developing anything for print. Listed below are some of the vital factors a designer must keep in mind when starting a print signage campaign.

Image courtesy: https://www.pexels.com/photo/in-design-we-trust-billboard-6253/

The message

As with all forms of advertisement, knowing the customer is integral to designing it. Once this is done, the carefully formulated message determines the design and makes the banner. Questions like the following are helpful in this regard.

Is your banner going to share new information, or reinforce what they already know? Is it part of an ongoing campaign or a one-time promotion? Is it about the product or a special service? Where is the banner to be located? What is the viewing distance? The answers to each of these questions can help fine-tune the most effective type of design.

Configuration of graphic files

          v  Viewing distance: Large-format digital printing requires specific configurations compared to other types of printing. If the viewing distance is 10 feet or less, some of the details must be legible. In such a case, its good to go with 100 ppi (pixels per inch) or more, and lesser if the viewing distance is less. This is because, the dots per square inch is relative to the eye:  the closer the viewer is to the image, the smaller the dots appear, and the farther the viewer moves, the larger the dots appear. 

         v  Colour mode: The preferred colour mode must be RGB “Red, Green, and Blue” as it has many advantages over CMYK “Cyan (blue) Magenta (red) Yellow and Kent (black)”. RGB offers a wider range of mixing of colours, is supported by more graphic design softwares, and are 25% smaller in size; moreover, the files are web ready without the need for conversion. 

          v  Canvas size: The canvas size must be set to the full size of the signage/banner at the start. The final digital work must be saved as a PSD (PhotoShop Document) file with all layers flattened to a single layer at 150 dpi (dots per inch) or more. 

 Images and fonts

A ‘good’ graphic design – or ‘creative’ in Ad Agency parlance – must have an optimal mix of image and text. When it comes to images, vector graphics (PDF, EPS, AI) are the preferred format for printing.

They are determined by mathematical curves, allowing even a small graphic to be expanded easily for large-scale prints, without losing clarity. They also tend to have smaller file sizes when compared to their bitmap equivalent. They are different from bitmap image formats such as JPEG, TIFF or PNG.

Readability is the crucial determinant, when it comes to the choice of fonts and their sizes.  The basic guideline for choosing the height of the letter is that it should approximately be one inch per ten feet of viewing distance (10 in for 100 ft). Other factors to focus on are the readability of font type, thickness of letters and the white space around the text.

Executing a successful marketing campaign that features billboards or large-scale banners demands thorough research. It forms the basis of tactful design and clarity on how much to say to your intended audience.

Engage a reputed creative agency, which has the necessary experience and expertise: you can surely turn your hoarding into a  high-impact asset that yields high returns from your campaign.