Vinyl Banners are flexible billboards or posters and are an essential part of advertising for many companies. There are rules of design that should be applied to vinyl banner designs and this article will take you through them step by step. Happy Banner Designing!
By its very nature, a vinyl banner is meant to be like a big flexible poster or billboard. That makes it a piece of advertising, so all the rules and techniques that apply to advertising design should apply to vinyl banners as well.
Rookie Banner Design Mistakes
In the advertising business you see rookie advertisers making the same design "mistakes" over and over again. They think people are going to walk up to their poster, billboard or vinyl banner and examine every detail. So they cram it with lots of product information, a detailed map of how to get to their store, and the phone numbers of all their sales reps.
It comes as a bit of a shock to learn this is not how things work. In fact what happens is this: since we are bombarded with advertising images all day, every day, we do our best to ignore them. Especially the ones with lots of boring details.
It gradually dawns on the budding advertiser that what people DO notice is something striking, different, loud, funny, or shocking. That is why most professional advertising tries to create a distinctively memorable selling feature, and then focus on it with striking images, snappy, memorable slogans, or catchy, sing-able (often loud!) music.
Banner Design Tips # 1. Keep it simple
The first, most important rule of thumb when creating a vinyl banner design is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. Stick to two or three main elements that communicate your most important selling points. Identify your product with a striking photo (if you have one), and then define the most important selling features with the other elements: usually a striking headline, and some other "feature" like the price, the amount of discount, or the "free" thing you are giving away.
Banner Design Tips # 2. Use Striking, Colorful Elements -- the "Photo ID Model"
Of course these days we are talking about vinyl banners made with FULL COLOR digital printing. So when creating your vinyl banner design, it is usually safe to use what I call the "Photo ID Model" for digitally printed state-of-the-art vinyl banners. The "Photo ID model" uses four basic elements:
1. Product photo or photo collage
2. Main Headline
3. Product Description
4. Company Identifier
The Photo ID Model is not the only design style you can use for your vinyl banner, but it gives you a professional looking, highly effective place to start. For a more complete description of this design approach, see my article titled "The Photo ID Advertising Design Model"
Banner Design Tips # 3. Use Color Effectively
Use COLORS to your advantage. Use FULL COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS that contain interesting bright colors. And make your headlines, special offers, and company identifiers jump out by using red, white or yellow on a black background.
This is called the "reverse text" or "knock out" technique. Look at the hundreds of signs you see everyday, and notice how often reverse text is used. The contrast between the light colored text and black (or dark) background gives your text much more graphic impact.
Banner Design Tips # 4. Use Your Imagination. Be Creative!!!
Unfortunately the "Photo ID Model" is so effective -- so obvious -- it is very tempting to use it without thinking much about the IMPACT or CREATIVITY of the various elements. So for instance, a typical vinyl banner or other type of display ad for a fictitious company called "Perk-it-Up Coffee" will often start out like this:
"Perk-it-Up Coffee" (headline)
Photo of can of coffee (photograph)
"Made from the finest coffee beans, blah, blah, blah." (description)
Order yours today from Perky People Coffee, 123 Java Hwy (identifier)
Notice how this is just list a series of relatively unimaginative "facts" about the product: the product name, what it looks like, how it is made, where you get it. Not terribly inspiring. No clear statement of its most important features. No attempt to "sell" the product.
You can do much better than that! With a little bit of imagination your "Perk-It-Up" vinyl banner could have MUCH MORE IMPACT. For instance, even a fairly uninspired headline like the one above will come to life if you associate it with an interesting photograph.
And I'm not just talking about a picture of the product. Use good looking people if you can. For example, a photo of happy, wide-eyed person holding a "Perk-It-Up" mug looking as though she just had a major java hit. Now even a boring headline like "Perk-It-Up Coffee" means something. And now you can go the next step and be more creative with your headline too!
Keep it simple, make it striking, use color effectively, and be creative. Then your vinyl banners will have the impact you are looking for.
Rick Hendershot is based in Conestogo, Ontario, Canada. He publishes the Linknet Network a series of more than 35 websites and blogs that offer low cost advertising and link promotion opportunities to website owners. http://www.small-business-online.com
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