Creative Guidelines

Identify the product

Is the product clearly visible, and can you easily see the advertiser’s name and brand logo? Try to use a website or a phone number, but not both – it adds clutter.

Simplify your message

Is your idea focused on one key message? Less is always more when using outdoor advertising to communicate a message.

Keep copy short

Is your message short? Does it still pack a strong punch? Copy in outdoor advertising should be no more than 10 words in total, with 5 of those words in the headline. Are the words short, so the message gets through quickly?

Check that it’s readable

Is the copy legible, even while moving? Have you used bold, non-serif fonts? Avoid decorative, italic or thin serif fonts. Thin fonts disappear, along with your message, when viewed at a distance

Keep your illustrations visible

Are your illustrations clearly visible from a distance? Does the background, or any other visual element distract viewers from the main message?

Don’t be afraid of colour

Are your colours bold and contrasting? Do they have impact? Outdoor advertising is not the place for subtle colours. Forget about white space; this isn’t print. For the strongest contrast in out-of-home design, choose colours that are different in both hue and value, such as a yellow background with black writing, or a white background with black writing. Combinations of complementary colours, such as red and green, should not be used together; their similar colour values make them unreadable from a distance.

Test your creative design

View your creative for 5 seconds. If you can’t read the entire message in those 5 seconds, your audience won’t be able to either. Now view your design from a distance; can it be easily read from 4-5 metres away?

Other secrets of great outdoor creative 

The more innovative, the more intriguing, and perhaps the more humorous the creative execution of an out-of-home poster ad, the less media weight is required. On the other hand, the more mundane or predictable the creative, the greater the media weight required. (Source: Mediacom, Canada).

Research has also revealed that:

  • single-minded, focused ads deliver more impact
  • a positive angle is more effective than ads that take a negative approach
  • artwork illustration can deliver higher awareness than photography
  • puffed-up product benefits lose credibility
  • readability is critical in effectiveness
  • seasonality is not a factor in outdoor advertising – people are out of their homes year-round
  • using a brand icon can create higher awareness because of the familiarity and known positioning of that icon.
Creative Guidelines