Bedfin Logo

For help with your advertising

call 253-882-4112


How to design billboard ads
Principles to increase results

Out of home (OOH) advertising can be the most effective and most inexpensive advertising available. This is especially true if the advertising is located on your own car or truck; not only because it's combined with motion, but because you already own the space. Whether you are using a vinyl wrap, a magnet, or a highly visible mobile billboard, the space on your vehicle should not be squandered. There is a catch, however. The ads must be crafted with some key concepts in mind to be most effective. I hesitate to call these rules, because they can all be broken here and there. Sometimes breaking the rules increases effectiveness, but it must be done with good judgement, or your advertising space will be wasted on an ad that will never be consumed.

You can find real world examples of OOH advertising from these Bedfin customers.

design tip about word count on mobile signage

Copy is the term used to describe the words on your advertisement meant to drive action. When your audience is moving past your mobile sign, they may have only a few seconds to notice your image, read your headline, and understand your message. Different sources say the word count should be anywhere between 5 and 8 words. All agree if a statement can be made with smaller and fewer words, the better.

design tip about font hight for maximum visibility

Factors such as font style, capitalization, and color relative to the background will affect the viewable distance of your text. Visibility ranges from 20 - 31 ft per every 1 inch in text height. Bigger is not always better, but if you want to be seen from a long distance, start with taller text.

design tip about making a memorable ad

It’s tempting to interject clever humor into the design of your ad. That is fine for print ads in magazines, but when it comes to outdoor advertising, there’s a risk of being too clever. Remember your audience has little time to read your message. If it takes too long to understand the sign, your message will not be memorable. Communicate your idea in a smart and obvious way. And for GOD’s sake, don’t be boring. Boring ads deserve to be forgotten.

design tip about advertisement layout

Good advice for most design opportunities is “keep it simple.” That is no more true anywhere than when designing an out-of-home ad. So as not to interfere with the headline and foreground image, your background should be simple and free of distractions. You should have no more than one headline, and any accompanying image or graphic should support the main idea. Lastly, don’t forget to add your logo if it is not elsewhere on your vehicle.

design tip about contrasting color on your advertisement

Sorry to show you such a horrible image, but it’s the best way to make this point - albeit a little extreme. There are many resources online when it comes to the science of color combinations, so I won’t cover it here. What’s worth mentioning here is what looks good on a computer monitor won’t always on an outdoor ad. If you’re unsure if a graphic element is going to stand out, it probably won’t. Increase the contrast between your colors for an ad that pops... in a good way.

design tip about how many points of contact to list in your advertisement

There is some debate whether a contact method even needs to be shown on an out-of-home ad. Definitely, any more than one point of contact and your sign could be cluttered with information detracting from the main idea. This is especially true if your brand is already recognizable or if you have contact information shown elsewhere on your vehicle. Make a compelling enough sign, and the customer will seek you out.

design tip about staying focused with your advertisement

The tendency to say too much resides in most of us (especially me). However, we must fight the urge to try and say everything. Instead, focus very sharply on one main idea. The main idea isn’t necessarily the most important feature of your product or service, but the most relevant benefit to the audience you are trying to reach. This focus will prevent confusion, and your main idea will have a better chance of sticking in the mind of your audience.

design tip about illustrating your idea rather than stating it with text in your advertisement

The difference between showing and telling is the difference between memorable and not. In the same amount of space and time, you can say far more with a picture. With space and time both at a premium, you can see why it’s important to show rather than tell if at all possible. This is why it’s good to have one image and if needed one headline on your billboard. Be sure your image is high quality and uncluttered.

design tip about selecting the font for your advertisement serif vs san serif

Serif fonts have feet and other embellishments. Sans serif means without serifs. In small formats like magazines, serif fonts are easier to read. On large format mediums, like a billboard which can be in motion relative to the reader, sans serif fonts are more readable. That said, there are times only a serif font will create the right feel, so abandoning this tip makes sense. Choose wisely.

Thank you for visiting I hope this information about out-of-home advertising design was helpful. With Bedfin your OOH advertising is a creative playground. All the tips provided in the graphic above are meant to help you get started creating an effective outdoor advertisement. As is often true, breaking the rules can lead to awesome results. The trick is knowing when to do that. Experience and feedback from others will give you the confidence to be ever-increasingly bold. Thank you again for visiting

If there is any way I can be of assistance to you, please send an email to or call (253)882-4112 .