Billboard Design: Tips and Ideas for Designing Your Billboard

Designing a billboard for your company or brand? We know what you're going through. Billboard design is a unique channel that can reach thousands of drivers a day, or just an important few. Your billboard can point future customers to your venue or leave them with a memorable piece of information. It can be tempting to build your billboard into an artistic masterpiece, but the most powerful billboard designs follow a known formula that gets your message across and reflects your brand - without confusing or distracting drivers on the road.

Ready to build your first great billboard design? Let's dive into the basics of great billboard graphics and how to create a powerful visual that drivers will remember.

The basics of billboard design

Keep the Design Simple

Billboard design is usually seen by viewers going between 30 and 70 miles per hour and between 100 and 500 feet away. Needless to say, your viewers won't have the time or attention-to-detail to read a paragraph or admire a mural. But they can read about three to seven words clearly, or remember one simple URL or phone number.

Your graphics should enhance and emphasize the printed content, not distract from or obscure it. The simpler your design, the more easily you can isolate and spotlight the key information.

Clarify your message

Decide the one or two things you want to convey to your viewer. One statement, one URL, or one memorable detail. You might convey a beach vacation and the name of your hotel brand. Your message might be kid-friendly dentistry and the logo on your sign. Keep both the design elements and your stated message simple; easy to scan and easy to remember.

Image and text messaging

Use both images and text to convey your simplified message. A picture is worth a thousand words, or about ten words in billboard-sized detail.  Let's say you're selling a summer vacation package. A woman in a sunhat by the beach is the universal symbol for summer vacation. Or you could use the resort's logo and an alluring catch-phrase like "Feel the Ocean Breeze - Example Resorts 2021".

Make it easy for your viewers to quickly understand what you're offering and how to find the information later, when they're not behind the wheel.

Choose a readable font

Choose a font you can see literally miles away. The single most frustrating billboard design is a board that looks interesting - but you can't make out the words. Choose a bold, straight-lined and wide-bodied font that stands out clearly even if your viewer is 100s of feet away and moving.

Bold and contrasting colors

Your color palette should be bold and clearly color contrasting. Subtle colors will be lost in the changing light, behind a layer of wind-dust, and will fade to sameness in the sun. Bold and contrasting color areas make your billboard easy to see and splash your message distinctly across the horizon.

Zoom out to test your design

Not sure if your billboard is simple and bold enough? Zoom out. Shrink your design or use a 3D simulation program to actually test what it's like to drive by from a distance. Change the lighting and the angle. If you get the picture every time, your billboard design is ready to go.

Choosing art software for your billboard design

How do you know the right graphic design software for billboard design? For most billboards, you will need the ability to layer elements, test different color palettes, and switch out design elements to find the clearest message combination. You can find everything you need for billboard and other real-world graphic designs in the CorelDraw software suite. CorelDRAW's graphic design features include the layers and interchangeable elements you need to build a beautiful and bold billboard. Even better, the advanced rendering available makes it possible to test your billboard from passing angles and break into advanced 3-dimensional billboard designs.

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