Billboard design has been around forever. Even through technological advancements and print technique changes. They have still been a staple of advertisement.
This list will run through some eye catching and clever billboard designs. And hopefully give you plenty of insight in what makes a successful billboard design. Showing you how you can use an age old advertising technique in a new and ever changing society.
Credit to Kingdom & Sparrow
Young’s have recently undergone a rebrand which means new branded collateral. Including some interesting bus banners and billboard designs.
The brand is all based around a ram, which is a very aggressive animal when tormented. The tone of voice and visuals are hard hitting and brash, matching the brands chosen animal.
The visuals show two hands punching through the bright coloured background. Each holding either a glass or a bottle of the brands beer. “Take London head on!” Relates to the beer itself and it is accompanied by a location related situation such as. . “Bakerloo rammed? Time for a London special”
They make the decision to be bold and brash in their bus and billboard designs through, messaging, colour and visuals. Relating to the sterotypical view of what Londoners are like. Embodying the brands location and style.
Credit to Mocean
NESN is another brand on our list that has recently had a refresh. Unlike Young’s, NESN aren’t selling a singular product range as such. Billboards, banners and anything else of that nature are heavily informational. Promoting games, live events and other TV programming.
When it comes to there billboards they are bold, minimal and very easy to read. Making sure the consumer who is looking can get all the information they need there and then.
Especially when it comes to billboards located overlooking roads or freeways. Drivers may not have a great deal of time to look at these billboards so all the information has to be easy to read. Quick disclaimer, eyes on the roads kids. You shouldn’t be looking at billboard designs while driving.
This example may not win any design awards but it is a product of designing for function and purpose. For all print design or web based work, you need to be thinking about where it will be used and how the user will interact with it.
Credit to Wolff Olins
Breast Cancer Now
Breast cancer is an incredibly serious subject matter. But when it comes to marketing, being to serious can come across cold and a little scary.
You will see with most marketing of the same subject matter. Bringing a more friendly approach can be successful in helping the users feel comfortable.
The Breast Cancer Now billboard designs have an understanding and soft feeling. All backed up by key messaging and personable imagery. Balancing both the serious subject matter and the approachable feeling.
This knowledge of the subject matter and how users will interact with it is key. Breast Cancer Now aren’t selling a particular product, rather they are raising awareness. So engagement from user is the most important thing.
Credit to Will Dove
Unlike NESN, Mapbox have taken a different approach to there banners. Instead of filling the banners with vital information, instead they have used a simple statement. “Explorers Wanted”.
This statement fills the user with intrigue, willing them to click or to find out more. A simple technique for the target market of developers. If anyone is or knows a developer, they normally have an insatiable appetite for knowledge and are always curious.
This messaging is perfect for the target audience. A great example of knowing how your target audience’s mind works.
Web banners can be an important marketing tool and knowing how to use them correctly gives you a great chance to convert consumers. Web banners don’t give you much real estate (space on the page) so making sure everything you want on it is clear and legible is a must. Also don’t forget, you want the user to do something, so make sure your CTA is clear.
Credit to Talia Eisenberg
Zendesk are a perfect example of how you can create a living and breathing brand. What I mean by that is a brand that stretches across all mediums, while keeping the same style and messaging consistent throughout.
In the project write up, they explain that the brand elements are easy to apply for the client themselves. This ability to handover the brand to the client and allow them to keep the brand consistent with the visuals and messaging is key.
It is a more unknown part to a project. Unless you find yourself on a massive retainer where you implement everything for a company. You need to make all the brand elements accessible and easy to use for the client.
Credit to Tim Gilligan
Sometimes with your billboard designs you need to be seen to be solving a vital problem for your customers. Pilot do this well by picking some problems with people launching startups. Then making the point that Pilot can solve these problems for you.
This idea of taking a load off the customers shoulders is key to building confidence and trust with them. Once more their billboards are incredibly simple. Bright purple with stand out white text, with the important part underlined in green. No flashy graphics, no beautiful patterns, just straight talking messaging! Which sits with the target audience. If you have just launched a startup, you want straight simple answers, and that is what pilot gives the customer.
Along with main billboard designs, pilot decided to go one step further in the trust building process. Existing customers of Pilot were so happy with the product that they were happy to give testimonials and Pilot popped them on billboards. It’s amazing how much easier you can sway someone to buying your product if you have people already using your product. And importantly are willing to shout about it. This will especially hit home with startups, who need good reviews to grow.
Pilot keep their billboard designs very simple but they understand there target audience. Playing on that to get the best results.
Credit to Kingdom & Sparrow
Sacred foods is not just a healthy snack company. They wanted to be more considered, connecting with a consumer that is more mindful about their healthy choices.
The Brand uses a vibrant and natural colour palette paired with modern typography. Bringing through old age thoughts of mindfulness together with the modern consumer. This is projected on there billboard designs as well. They use radiating lines to great effect, bringing in both different colour tones and a structure for the typography. The typography curves round the radiating lines, making it feel friendly and inviting to consumers.
The big thing that is not to be missed when advertising a product, is the fact the product is front and centre. When it comes down to it Sacred Foods are selling a product. The brand visuals and meaning does a great deal to help, but the product still needs to be seen, or else, how do customers know what to look for.
Credit to Mother London
We all know ikea, more often than not a big blue warehouse with all sorts of home and office ware inside. One of them warehouses is IKEA Greenwich, and for its opening IKEA ran a bus sign and billboard campaign that was all about getting you to the store.
IKEA Greenwich is IKEA’s most sustainable store yet. And to run or ‘walk’ with that idea, IKEA created adverts that told passers by how far away and what direction this new store was. The message beneath read “travel to our most sustainable store in the most sustainable way”. Tying into the whole idea and connecting with a new savvy and more environmentally conscious public. But incase you didn’t fancy walking, they also made it easy by telling you which bus or other mode of public transport you could take.
Design wise it is kept beautifully simple, like much of Scandinavian design. Simple vibrant colours with black typography. This could also be seen to be pushing on the sustainable aspect, no need for any flashy design, just instructional and minimal.
These adverts are a great example of how as a business you need to understand how the world is changing around you. IKEA picked up on a more savvy audience and used that to there advantage.
Credit to Spencer & Jordan
McDonalds Directional Billboards
Similar to the IKEA example above, McDonalds ran a similar campaign. Telling customers and drivers where the nearest McDonalds was located.
The big difference with McDonalds is they bring in the Golden Arches on a bright red background. Using sections of the arches to explain where to go, either the next left or right, or the next exit. Even to the extent of if a driver has driven past, They use the arch as if it was a u-turn symbol.
This clever way of using your main brand elements to come up with specific messaging is a great idea for someone like McDonalds. They are instantly recognisable, with a smaller or startup business you may have to put in a little more work to let the consumer know who you are. But don’t be afraid to let the consumer do a little work, if they are intrigued enough, they will do a little extra leg work. But it’s a delicate balance and you could end up losing potential customers.
Credit to Wunderman Thompson
I have mentioned it is important to make the product visible so that consumers know what to look for. Leica in this campaign do just that, with an image of the camera and the details about the camera as well. But this alone wouldn’t sell the camera. Leica have taken it a step further.
They have taken the opportunity to show off one of the selling points of the camera. This selling point is the zoom, and how crisp the images are while zooming. So they have taken a photo using the product wherever they are placing advertisements. The image is overlaid on the background but obviously at a particular zoom.
Not only are they eye catching and a little intriguing, the images are first hand examples of the product. When a potential customer can actually see the results for themselves this goes a long way to getting them to purchase a product.
Credit to Pentagram
Now these signs may seem less billboards and more a necessity. But they show how with a little thought around the type formatting and the colours used, you can create attractive and informative signs.
Each pillar, post and wall is filled with great big typography pieces that are hard to miss. The most important information tends to be the biggest and the boldest. For example “33rd” is in great big bold letters compared to “street” and “elevator”. For someone in a rush needing to get up to 33rd street. They can see this easily at a glance and won’t be looking for tiny writing on great big walls.
When designing for large print or for any situation, it is key to understand how the user will interact with the signage or advertisement. Penn Station will be busy and people will be in a rush, the ease of which users can take in information is key. Where a bus stop for example, users will most likely be waiting for the bus. So you can expect that the user will have a little more time to take in more information.
Know how your user will interact with your signage, and you can create signage that works.
Credit to Landor
DXB By Dubai Airports
Airports can be pretty boring and stressful places, the only reason you get excited when you there is because you are jetting off someone exotic. DXB wanted to flip that experience on its head.
Along with creating a more consumer facing brand they wanted to bring the spirit of Dubai into the airport. Trying to encompass how you can find someone different around every corner.
So along with the usual branded signage they installed local art pieces and even went as far as having live music. Now the airport isn’t selling a product so to speak but they are selling a place, Dubai to be exact. So using the signage and billboards as an extension of the place is a great way to get travellers intrigued.
For all I have mentioned in this post that if you are selling a product you can’t be shy about putting it on advertisements. But this example is an exception, dropping two flight tickets onto a billboard design doesn’t really show you what Dubai is all about. DXB are selling a place and a culture rather than a physical product that can be owned. Well unless you are planning to own Dubai, which I think might be a little bit much of a stretch to the bank balance.
Credit to Pentagram
KPIT is all about software, they partner with automotive brands to allow people and its products to move around easier. Now this example has two sides to it.
Side one is that I don’t understand what they do. And when you look at the examples of some of there billboard designs it doesn’t make it any clearer. Now I mentioned in the forth example about being intriguing and leading consumers to wanting to find out more. As long as you know you target audience you can lean into this. But I don’t know, even if you know about mobility software (which I don’t claim to know anything about) if you would understand.
The other side to this, is that in another advertisement they name drop massively. Now we all probably don’t like doing it, but using someone else’s clout can be advantageous. They use BMW on a billboard design, and that name alone can get consumers more willing to find out what it’s all about.
Conclusion: The Best Building Wraps, Banner, And Billboard Designs
When it comes to billboard designs there is a couple of major factors you have to consider. Who is the target audience and how will they interact with the billboard design.
Once you know these two things, you can begin to create meaningful and easy to engage with designs. But bare in mind, if you are running a campaign you could have multiple media platforms, from billboards, to bus stops. So the two main questions above should be answered for each individually to create engaging designs for each.
If you would like some help with creating billboard designs or want some advice on how to improve your existing campaigns. Please get in touch, so we can discuss and nail your billboard advertising.
reading time: 13 minutes