James Pentland, a senior designer at Essence, shares his best practice in design for digital display advertising, sharing the view that the perfect banner ad takes more work than you could ever imagine.
Banner ad design can look deceptively simple, elegant and unique, but it can also be some of the most challenging design work you will come across.
Digital design in advertising has grown from strength to strength in the last decade. Audiences consume so much digital content in their everyday lives that an ad is not only a way for marketers to sell a product or brand message, it has become a part of the narrative in everyday life.
American art director and graphic designer Paul Rand famously said that “design is so simple, that’s why it’s so complicated.” Brands constantly battle with needing to make elegant digital ads, while maintaining certain form and functionality within the aesthetic of the ad design.
This can be anything from simple hierarchy, ensuring readability and accessibility of color, to how the ad is viewed on small, large, vertical and horizontal screens.
In my opinion, there are three design rules to follow to create best-in-class digital display advertising.
Any second ad principles (also known as ASAP) in the world of advertising is how we prioritize the way content is displayed through digital display ads. The industry standard is to maintain brand awareness via a logo, font type and imagery that gives context and a clear call to action with legal disclaimers.
Following these principles in our work recently on Google Store DR has shown an uplift in return on ad spend (ROAS) year-on-year.
Keeping these functionalities always on allows the brand to be upfront and honest about what they’re selling to consumers.
A logo can be an instant reminder – a picture instead of a thousand words. For consumers, a logo gives an easily recognizable shortcut to a brand’s messaging or story, which is invaluable in a world rife with content constantly demanding our attention. Brands such as Google, Airbnb and BT have distinctive logo color palettes and use a similar motif or pattern across all design collateral. It is also the first design element seen on a digital display banner – to ensure brand recognition and awareness.
Font type that is legible and clear with a defined call to action is essential. For example, if a price discount is included in the ad then it’s important to vary the weight of the font from semi-bold to regular to give contrast to the ad. A call to action is always the key element of a design decision, and by working closely with a copywriter or marketer the right message can be tailored to the target audience.
Finally, the legal lines. A designer must always consider whether there is a way to ensure the legal …….