What to Consider When Planning an Outdoor Advertising Campaign

If not planned and executed properly, outdoor advertising can fall flat, eating a huge portion of your marketing budget with little to show for it. As with any form of marketing, it’s important to know your audience and your environment before investing in outdoor advertising.

From design, size and materials, to placement and lighting, there’s a lot to think about. So if you’re thinking of going big without outdoor advertising, you might want to consider these tips first:

Keep it simple

First and foremost, you want to make sure anyone passing by your banner can process its message with a single glance. That’s where simplicity comes in: keep the message short and sweet, and make sure it’s legible from multiple angles and in multiple lighting conditions.

Maintaining balance between images and text supports information processing, but it’s also pleasing to the eye. Too much text can get drab while too many images may fail to convey your advertisement’s message.

Proper choice of colours

Many of the world’s most iconic brands are associated with specific colours, so it only makes sense to choose colours for your outdoor advertisement that reflect your brand. In fact, colour is so important in brand recognition that you should only work with a large-format printing company you can trust to faithfully reproduce your brand’s colours. If you don’t have a pre-defined colour palette for your brand, that’s something a graphic designer can help you with.

When it comes to banner design, keep in mind that letters in bright, bold colours under ideal lighting will catch the attention of passersby better than low-contrast letters or letters in an intricate typeface, such as handwriting.

That being said, colours shouldn’t be so bold or experimental as to irritate the eye; remember that your goal is to create a positive association with your brand. And ultimately the message itself should speak louder than any font or colour palette you choose.

Graphics and photos

An effective outdoor ad achieves that seamless blend of text and graphics. Ads that are too text-heavy often appear boring and are ignored by clients. The exception being ads with a unique message or those that go against the grain by embracing such an austere approach that you can’t help but notice.

The marriage of text and graphics is about more than visual balance. Whatever graphics you use should reinforce the message you’re trying to convey with text. This way, people can process the entire ad more quickly and, ideally, it’ll stick with them longer.

Moreover, visual memory is often better and people might remember the picture more than the text. While it may make the ad slightly costlier, it’s an investment that can produce better returns in the long run.


You’ve heard about the importance of location in real estate; the same is true with outdoor advertising. In an ideal world, your ad will stand on its own without being crowded by competing ads or visual stimuli. In the real world, however, you’re always going to be competing for attention, so do the best you can.

When possible, position the ad within the line of sight of your target audience. If they have to look for your ad, chances are they just won’t see it. The obvious answer for placement is an area with lots of traffic (pedestrian or otherwise) but it might not always be a practical option. Consider, too, that a well-picked spot just beyond the cluster of competing ads can help yours stand out.

And since you are advertising outdoors, it’s important to think about sun exposure, which can gradually degrade the design of your banner. One solution is UV resistant inks—they’re a great way to protect your advertisement and keep it looking good for longer.

Of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to outdoor advertising. But if you keep these tips in mind and work with an experienced printer, your ad stands a much better chance of success.