Grand format printing is a unique beast for designers because the final product generally can’t fit on your desk let alone inside your office space. This can present a challenge when reviewing your final design. Unlike reading a magazine advertisement or mailer; viewers of Out-of-Home (OOH) media don’t have extended time to read text in detail or flip back to the ad if they scanned too quickly. A car driving on the freeway at 75 mph has only a second or two to take in a billboard 500 feet away (and closing) while navigating traffic.
Location, Location, Location
Is your OOH ad destined for the side of a bus, transit station, office building wall or a highway bulletin? Knowing the location of your design plays a key role in three (3) critical aspects of design.
1) Design Space – How much will be featured in the few seconds a viewer has to read your ad?
2) Type Size – Is your advertisement read while sitting on the subway or while in rush hour traffic? Distance + Time = Type Size
3) Message – OOH is read by thousands of people daily and repeatedly. A strong message can be a catchy phrase, enticing offer or “oh yeah?” moment.
Negative Space Provides Positive Flow
Just like small format printing, negative space allows a design to breath and provide a path for the reader to follow. However, knowing where your advertisement will be seen can change that path from long to very simple.
1. A large bulletin on buildings or along highways provide a huge canvas and this valuable space must be filled? Not so fast. Moving past a big sign while driving only provides a few seconds of read time, so designs should contain 2-3 elements. This allows the brain to process key information quickly and commit it to memory. An advertisement featuring a brand logo, coffee cup, biscuit and price is much easier to recall then showing the full menu.
2. Street furniture (bus shelter, bench, newsstand) can contain more text because many viewers are walking or waiting for a ride. Aim for minimal elements and contrasting colors with the environment to capture attention. Unlike small format, your design hot spots are going to compete with the outdoor elements such as the sun or the sidewalk; use that knowledge to your advantage.
Readability Is Key to ROI
Great designs lead to strong ROI, so don’t let scale be your Achilles heel. Text read at 18” can be 14pt with no readability issue, but that same copy at 4 feet becomes super fine print and invisible at 100 feet. A headline for a bulletin should be no smaller then 1/5 the height of the advertisement for strong readability but can be larger for eye catching domination. With a canvas 20’ high and 60 feet long, text is measured in inches, not points. For perspective, grab a business card at random and see how much you can read at 10’ away. This will provide an estimation of reading a printed design on a bulletin 300’ away. For a more accurate approximation of your artwork readability at long distances we can send you our Distance Scale Viewer by clicking here.
Memorable in a Moment
Like any good marketing, the message leads the design but OOH location can lead the message. Readers won’t have the option to write down a phone number or website in many cases but they still need to instantly understand your message and it should have strong recall. Having a truck explode out of a building is a great way to leave an impression, but even small ideas can have a big impact. A study performed at MIT in 2014 found the human brain can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds. Leverage this fact with a simple design, strong brand connection and a logo for an effective campaign.
Creating eye catching OOH is fun and rewarding. With so many options available to communicate your client’s message; street furniture, bulletins, wall banners, bus sides and transit shelters to name a few, the creative options are endless. Just remember, the location for your advertisement can impact the design as much as the message.
For more tips on creating great Out-of-Home advertisements, check out these previous articles.
- Get Your Brand On Board with OOH Transit Media
- Get Strategic With These OOH Media Products
- Reinforce Your Brand with OOH Advertising
bpgraphics is beginning its 56th year as a nationally recognized screen and digital graphics print provider. BP offers large, wide and grand format printing solutions for retail display, vehicle and window graphics, trade shows, events and venues, wall murals, building wraps, billboards, banners and display signage. From fabric, to mesh, to vinyl – big or small – rigid or flexible, bpgraphics’ understanding and experience in the industry is unparalleled. More information on the company’s notable achievements and services can be accessed at www.bpgraphics.com
 In the blink of an eye. Anne Trafton, MIT News Office January 16, 2014. http://news.mit.edu/2014/in-the-blink-of-an-eye-0116