Tips and Tricks of the Banner Design Process
Online marketing in general is an incredibly powerful field, and banner advertising is one of its most successful branches, too. Unfortunately, not all of the banners are as successful as the best ones, and there are some examples out there that evoke nothing but irritation from the visitors. Design problems might be the biggest reason for that big of a difference.
However, before we’ll go over the means of improving your banner designs, we have to get through the basics of how to design a banner altogether.
Online banners: the basics
The main purpose of an online banner is to promote/advertise either a service or a product. However, online banners also have an easy way for a customer to get the promoted product or service – it’s just one click away, clicking on a banner would take you to the promoted entity, and that’s it.
In comparison, classic real-life advertisements depend on the customers to get to the selling point of a product or a service and then purchase it, which is a lot more effort in comparison. Additionally, online banners are relatively cheap, and take little to no effort to become more attractive to the eye (for example, implementing animation or visual effects is way easier).
Online banners come in many different sizes, some of them have been popular since the very beginning of online advertising, and others are barely several years old. Some examples of different banner sizes are:
- 300×250 pixels (and a slightly bigger version of this one that is 336×280 pixels) is one of the most basic banner sizes, and can work great both at the end of an article or between its parts, serving as a chapter break in some cases.
- 300×600 pixels is more of a square banner that places its focus on visuals first, and the text is not considered as important as with the other examples.
- 320×100 pixels is the smallest one out of the four, and it’s mostly reserved for ads created specifically for mobile devices (being easier to read that way due to its small dimensions.
- 468×90 pixels (and its spiritual successor, 728×90 pixels) are rectangular banners that were originally best suited for the upper part of the page, although the evolution of screen resolutions has led to 468×90 pixels size becoming somewhat hard to recognize.
A traditional banner usually consists of three main parts that could be considered its cornerstones – background, text and logo.
A banner’s background can be either a specific color, or just an image in general. It is supposed to leave at least a general idea of what you’re promoting without relying on text or on a logo.
A text is also integral for your banner to be competitive and attract people, it can be just a regular informational message, or a slogan, or even a call-to-action. A slogan is helpful with explaining your purpose, your principles, your mission, and so on. A call-to-action in your company’s specific colors is also possible, compelling visitors to click on your banner.
Your company’s logo is also essential for the banner in question to be associated with your company and your brand’s identity, helping with accepting both of those as one single entity.
Regular banners could be created in many different ways. Animated banners are somewhat limited in that regard, having a choice between Flash and HTML5. The former has been officially discontinued already, and the latter has been a much more comprehensive and useful solution for a while now.
So the question is, how to make banner design if you need one? The answer is that there are four different ways to do so. You can choose to work with a graphic designer who’s going to do most of the work in your stead. You can also use a standalone graphic software for this purpose if you want to have more control over the creation process (Photoshop is a good example of such software).
There are also some applications that are not specifically made for image editing but can still create banners, such as MS PowerPoint. Last option, but not the least, is to use one of the myriad of online banner generators that have become extremely popular in recent years.
That being said, creating a banner is not as easy as just throwing some random background and a logo and hoping for the best. You also have to keep in mind a number of nuances and tips to make sure that your banner would be as successful as it gets.
How to design a banner?
Every detail of your banner design should receive an appropriate amount of attention so that your advertisement efforts would not go to waste. Some things that you need to take into consideration are really case-specific, but it’s also possible to figure out several points of general advice on the subject:
- Analyze your field of work and find your target audience. Generic banners are much less effective than more narrow-minded but targeted ones. Focusing on your own specific field of work tends to do wonders to your banner’s usefulness.
- Design your banner’s message and make sure that your brand image is presented in the most positive way possible. Keep in mind that most of the banners are relatively small and the space that you have for your message and your logo is greatly limited. Additionally, you should try and find a middle ground between your banner standing out too much within your website and your banner blending into your website’s design so much that it becomes barely noticeable in the bigger picture. A 1 pixel border of a nondescript color goes a long way into making your banner stand out in the context of your own website.
- Progressive approach to your banner’s design is also necessary. The world is constantly changing and most of the banner designs are going to become obsolete in a relatively short period of time. This is why you should not question making the adjustments to your banner as soon as you’ve noticed its popularity dropping dramatically. Experimenting on different elements is also welcome in that regard, and creative endeavors are often rewarded with more customer interest in general.
- CTA is as important as every other part of a banner. A good call-to-action is supposed to encourage people into clicking on a banner in question without seeming overbearing or annoying. Offering various special offers or discounts for clicking on banners is also a great way to attract attention. Being generous pays off greatly in these cases.
- Page loading speed is incredibly important. The faster your website loads – the more people are likely to look over it, and something might catch their eye. At the same time, longer loading times are often annoying and tend to serve as a bad reputation for your webpage as a whole. This is why it is heavily recommended to make sure that your banner’s light enough and not slowing down your overall website loading speed. A soft limit of 50 Kb per image is recommended, and a hard limit of 150 Kb is all but required.
That’s not all that you have to keep in mind, there’s more. For example, keep in mind that the four banner sizes we’ve described (728×90, 300×250, 336×280 and 300×600) are considered to be the best performing ones by Google Adsense, and thus they are often used because of that. Only choose the more unorthodox banner sizes if you’re sure in your commitment to that specific banner size.
Another relatively simple matter that is worth noting is the simplicity. The majority of visitors are going to look at your banner for barely a second before moving on, and you have to grab their attention in the span of that one second. For that purpose, both the visuals and the content are not supposed to be too complicated to recognize from a single glance.
One more interesting thing to analyze is the experimenting one, which we’ve already mentioned before. As it stands, unusual and experimental design choices tend to grab people’s attention much more effectively than your plain old by-the-book designs. This includes experimenting with photo effects, contrasting colors, overlaying elements, unusual attention-grabbing fonts, dynamic effects, and so on.
About colors, it is also an interesting thing to look at. It’s not just for the plain background colors, either, but about the general color scheme of your banner. Color is usually the first thing that is noticed in your banner, so it’s as important of a topic as anything else.
There are variations of what each color means in different cultures, of course. Which is why this topic should be neatly revealed, with a comprehensive analysis of your target audience. For example, your regular Western audience has the following list of associations with different colors:
- Red is the feeling of passion and excitement.
- Green is the feeling of growth, health and the environment.
- Pink is the feeling of youth and love.
- Blue is the feeling of safety and intellect.
- Brown is the feeling of wood and nature, and is often used to balance out stronger colors.
- Yellow is the feeling of friendliness and sunshine.
- White is the feeling of innocence and purity.
- Orange is the feeling of invigoration and playfulness.
- Purple is all about royalty, wisdom and creativity.
- Gray represents practicality and neutrality, and is capable of intensifying other colors when used in tandem with other ones.
The number of nuances that should be taken into consideration for the best banner design is impressive, to say the least. And in some cases you’ll find out that spending a lot of money will not fix all of the problems, either.
On the other hand, this article should help you with figuring out some of the weaker spots in your banner design, and help with fixing those problems with little effort required. Knowing how to make banner design in the correct way is detrimental for your advertisement company.