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5 Crucial Elements Every Billboard Needs

elements every billboard needs smart sign advertising

In order for billboard signage to be effective, it needs to be done right. You might think of billboards as simply much larger versions of common adverts, but actually there are some unique and critical elements that billboards need to be really effective. We’re going to explore those below for the best billboard advertising. 

5 Essential Elements For The Best Billboards

1. Boldness And Simplicity 

Given the sheer size of a billboard, combined with the fact that you barely have time to look at them before you whiz past them in your car or on your metro line, the sign and its message have to be imminently clear. That means boldness and simplicity must be the dominant design elements. 

This in turn means use of huge, clear fonts and nice contrasting colours. It might also be that the image is more important and text kept to an absolute minimum like a brand-name and phone number or website address. If so, the image needs to be instantly apparent within just 1- 2 seconds of looking. For most billboards, creating “a thinker” is not really an option. 

2. Tailored To The Location 

A national billboard campaign will not always contain the same wording everywhere they are placed. Many campaigns will tailor the text to suit the city or specific location within a city where it is visible. For instance, a billboard placed in Sydney might make mention of that fact, something to do with Sydney’s people, history, or an ‘inside joke’ enjoyed by residents there. That wouldn’t carry up to Brisbane, but the sign could be altered to speak to the people of that city with their own message. 

It can even be tailored right down to the neighbourhood or street level within the same city. Equally, billboards where people are walking by may contain more writing, whereas billboards people are driving by will have less. The location of the billboard is one of the critical determining factors as to what it will look like and say. 

3. Memorable 

Another critical element of a great billboard is how memorable it is. This often requires unique and bold design choices, often that help the billboard to become either more interactive or more three-dimensional. There are many examples, for example, of billboards that have elements that reach outside the confines of the 2D space, or at least they appear to. 

The more lasting the impression the billboard makes, the more effective its message will be. It also encourages people to take photos of the billboard and share via social media, which widens your brand reach far beyond what you had expected, and all for no additional cost. It takes some quite out of the box thinking to get that kind of memorable design. 

4. Single Idea, Single Message 

As we’ve mentioned further above, an effective billboard doesn’t have time to communicate more than a single key idea. Therefore, it’s important that you find a binding, unifying or at least engaging message that lots of people can instantly connect with. The truly effective billboard will draw people in with a single message to then go on and find out what more messages your brand has to share. 

5. They Build Interest, Even Suspense 

It’s worth mentioning highway spaces here, because they are a bit different from city billboard use. Highways offer the prospect of installing more than one billboard at different milestones. This generates scope for a different approach where your signs can create a kind of interesting sequence, perhaps build up some suspense as they do. 

Imagine, for instance, a series of billboards starting 200-km outside of Sydney, with a new one placed each 50-km, perhaps announcing something fun or interesting getting closer, or each billboard telling a different part in a short story so people driving past actively look out for the appearance of the next… the possibilities are many. 

The Bottom Line On Billboard Branding 

Billboards still get results in today's marketplaces. Keep these top tips in mind when considering billboard advertising in your overall business strategy.