Guides & Resouces

3 simple steps to design outdoor ads with impact

What makes an effective outdoor advert?

Before answering that question, we need to lay down a hard truth;

Most people aren’t interested in what you’re selling when they see your advert.

They’re too busy thinking about what’s for dinner, the horrendous traffic, or that awkward encounter they had four years ago.

That doesn’t leave much room for brands – who are all competing for the slither of whatever attention people have left.

So how does outdoor advertising work?

Outdoor advertising works on being memorable. So that, in time, when your ideal customer is in the market for whatever you’re selling, your brand springs to mind.

This idea is sometimes referred to as mental availability. Mental rental, if you like.

Building mental availability sounds complicated, but at its core it’s quite simple; 

Make it easy for people to remember what you do, how you look, and how they can get hold of your products or services. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to make sure your next campaign is designed with mental rental in mind.

1. Be distinctive; what makes your brand stand out?

Memorable brands have certain elements that make them unmistakable. When you see a pair of golden arches or the words ‘Just Do It’, what brands do you think of? 

You know it’s McDonald’s and Nike without even seeing the brand names.

These highly recognisable assets can be anything from logos and slogans to colours and mascots. 

Consistency and uniqueness are the name of the game here.

Decide which elements you can deliver most consistently, that when paired together could never be mistaken for another brand.

Congratulations, this is the foundation of your advert.

2. Be clear; what do you want people to know?

Assuming you’re not Nike or McDonald’s, you need to tell people who you are, what you do, and how they can get it.

You have around seven seconds to get your message across – the time it takes to drive by at motorway speeds.

Simple it may seem, our recent campaign with BullionByPost is a great example of how it’s done.

What is the first thing you see? 

The three most important brand assets; the logo, brand name, and website are incorporated into a single element.

Not only does this save valuable space, but it tells people who they are, what they do, and where they can get it almost instantly.

Black, white, and gold create a strong contrast between the text and graphics, making it easy to read at distance, and sure to stand out in front of a backdrop of typically natural tones.

Plenty of white space avoids clutter and improves the overall aesthetic.

Large text in a simple font adds to the legibility, which continues once you visit the website – the experience is consistent everywhere you encounter the brand.

Images of the product, in this case, gold and silver, are both relevant and aspirational, depicting the one thing everyone wants more of – wealth.

Last but not least, the message, which is clear and compelling.

Notice how each word tells you something new about the brand. No filler words, no fluff.

Buy: this is a commerce brand
Gold and silver: they sell these products
Online: I can buy them through their website

Protect your wealth: this is the benefit I receive
Buy gold: this is the call to action

UK’s: this is a nationwide company
No. 1: they are a market leader
Online: they operate online
Gold dealer: this is their specialism

3. The five foot test

Now that your advert is almost complete, it’s time to put it to the test.

Print your advert on an A4 sheet and place it 4-5 feet away from you.

This is how your potential customers will see your advert when it’s printed on a roadside billboard. 

Can you read the message effortlessly?

Ask a friend if they can determine who you are, what you do, and where they can get it. 

If they can grasp your message from this distance, you’ve got an effective advert.

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In a world bombarded with information, simplicity speaks volumes.

If you need support to design an advert with mental rental in mind, we can help.

We build your campaign around your goals, so your brand shines in the right place at the right time. No experience necessary.

Our fees include everything from artwork design and print to proof of installation. 

Leaving you to focus on what you do best.

6th June, 2023
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