In this article I will guide you through the design process of creating a creative billboard campaign for a University project of mine with some tips along the way.
Below you will find the final 3 billboard designs. (A new revised billboard is at the bottom of this post based on feedback from the community.)
Tips For Outdoor Advertising
Before I get into the design process of the campaign I will share with you some tips I learnt during my research of designing for outdoor advertising.
- Product Identification – Your message / product should register quickly.
- Short Copy – Your message should be brisk and provocative.
- Legibible Type – Your message should be able to read at a distance, and while the person is moving.
- Layout – All elements of the design / campaign should come together as a single unit / package.
- Images – Your images must be big enough to capture attention / convey a meaning.
- Bold Colours – Your design should separate well from its surroundings and gain attention.
- Simple Background – The background should usually be simple so as not to interfere with the message unless of course it adds to the design / message.
- Innovative / Creative / Humorous – If you can include these traits in your design, it will go a lot further than any other message.
- Less Is More – Single minded, focused ads deliver more impact.
Now that I have given you some tips I will guide you through my design process.
This assignment was given to me in my Design For Advertising class and the brief was to create a 6mx3m billboard campaign (3 billboards) to gain awareness of how tough living the life as a single pensioner is here in Australia.
We had unlimited creative freedom and we had to research everything ourselves including billboard sizes, best locations, prices, what being on the pension was like, statistics, etc.
Some interesting information:
- 2,750,000 people are on the Single Age Pension here in Australia
- Single pensioners receive $281 a week (works out to be $40 a day)
- Research has shown $80 more is needed per week to lead a healthy lifestyle
After carrying out the research as I mentioned above I drew up a mind map, which is one of my ‘get creative‘ methods. Mind mapping is a great way to figure out word associations and a good way let your ideas run wild. While mind mapping I also draw / write down any ideas that come to mind.
Below you can see my messy mind map with some sketched ideas I had on the way.
After I had done a bit of mind mapping I ended up going into thumbnail sketches
In the two images below you can see some of my ideas, see if you can match up the pictures to my thoughts – it will be a challenge considering how messy my sketches are.
- A photo of a plate with only 1 pea on it with the tag “The Pension Is Not Enough”
- Photos of many pensioners and the tag “Adopt A Pensioner”
- Large 65,000 number with the tag “Adopt A Pensioner Today”
- A gravestone with ‘pensioner’ written on it.
- A $10 note cut in half with the tag “The Pension Is Not Enough”
- The Pension Is Not Enough (Word play)
You can see above that I was playing on the catch phrase “The Pension Is Not Enough” along with different pictures (ie. a pea on a plate, an unhappy pensioner, a $10 note etc).
While I was playing around with this phrase I managed to find that I could spell the word ‘tough’ out of the other letters.
ie. The Pension Is Not Enough gets turned into The Pension Is Tough.
I immediately knew that this idea was going to work and I brainstormed further on how I could make this catch phrase work. ie. What images would work in a series, colours, etc.
I ended up going with hard hitting images that would engage the viewer, making them see and feel what it is like to be a pensioner. This was achieved by two photos of sad pensioners and another photo with a hand full of shrapnel.
The images I used were stock images off the internet that I have adjusted to suit the needs of the campaign – I had to use stock images due to a lack of time. You can see the original stock images above.
After I had found the right images I made the photos black & white and increased the contrast to show the emotion and reality of being on the pension. The red, black and white colour scheme was used for its ability to gain attention. Do you know your colour theory? You can find more colour resources here.
The black background was used because this is the most legible way to display text at large sizes. Find below a scan of the photocopy our teacher gave us (You can click to view it larger). Notice the one that stands out the most?
As mentioned above the large, short message can be read easily at small and large sizes. This is achieved by the white on black colour, correct kerning, balance & spacing. See the image below which features the billboard decreasing in 25% increments – notice how the sign can still be read at small sizes?
I used the typeface Frutiger LT Std 75 Black for the words THE PENSION and Frutiger LT Std 65 Bold for the smaller copy. Frutiger is a great, extremely legible font for large signage and is extremely popular in advertising. Fruitger was originally designed for use in airport signage, a place where legibility is of the utmost importance.
Legibility is also of the utmost importance in billboard design because people reading the sign will be driving and will only have approximately 6-7 seconds to view & take in the message.
You can read more about fonts and where to use them in my post 30 Fonts All Designers Must Know.
Bringing It All Together
After a lot of experimentation with layout and type sizes I had completed the billboard campaign. I achieved the top of the class with this campaign but somehow still only managed to get 76/100 – the teacher is a hard marker to say the least.
Well there we have it, the design process of creating a creative billboard campaign.
Based on some of the comments below, I have slightly revised the design of which you can see one variation below.
Outdoor Media Association
Everything you will ever need to know about advertising outdoors in Australia. Sizes, formats, etc.
The Design Process of Creating A Billboard Design
This was another billboard design that I created at University with a walk through of the design process.
A blog dedicated to funny billboards & creative billboards.
15 Outstanding Billboard Designs
Some creative out of the norm billboard designs.
80 Creative, Smart & Clever Ads
A collection of clever advertisements from around the world.
As always, constructive criticism & comments are welcome.