There’s no doubt that adding a banner to your toolbox of promotional materials is a great way to get your organization or message noticed. Whether you’re fundraising for a local charity or networking at a conference, a custom banner can grab people’s attention and convert them to customers and supporters.
But how do you design the perfect banner? You know, the one that hits just the right tone on messaging and visuals? At BestFlag, we are experts on what to think about when putting together the perfect banner (and we have an easy-to-use online designer to help!), so keep reading for tips on designing a great-looking banner.
Understanding Your Audience & Goals When Designing Custom Banners
Creating the perfect banner can feel overwhelming, and you may need help figuring out where to start. What should it say? How much information should it include? Here are some questions that will help inform the optimal banner design:
What are your goals for the banner? While custom banners have endless applications, uses tend to fall into a few broad categories.
- Promotional - Your banner could be building general brand awareness or promoting a specific product or campaign you are launching. Whatever your focus, highlight it with bold messaging, colors and placement, and use simple elements on the rest of the banner to support that objective.
- Informational - Guide visitors with directional signage, give them information on the schedule for your conference or event or share some key facts about your company or product at a trade show. In many cases, informational banners will be physically close to your audience, which may allow for a deeper dive into your messaging.
- Environmental - Banners (and other types of custom graphics we offer) can be used as decór or background signage to set and support the atmosphere or ambiance of the location. Depending on your aesthetic, designs might be bold or subtle, but in any case, messaging is typically minimal and brand elements tend to play a supporting, rather than starring, role.
How will your audience interact with your banner? Will they be close up or viewing from a distance? Will they be reading it closely or is it sneaking into their subconscious as they quickly pass by? The further away your target viewer, or the shorter the interaction, the more concise you will want to be with your messaging. Take billboards for example… Messaging tends to be big, bold and to the point. On the other hand, if you are using a retractable banner in a lobby where people will be viewing it up close, you have more flexibility to dive deeper into your messaging.
How big will your banner be and how much space will you have for your design? We’ve created mini banners that sit on someone’s desktop, giant banners that hang on sides of buildings and everything in between. Combined with the previous two points, the size of your canvas will influence your design choices.
Is your banner for business or personal? Banners used by organizations should follow design best practices and internal brand guidelines, but banners for yourself can be as fun, creative and unique as you want!
What Should A Custom Banner Include In Its Design?
With that perspective for understanding your goals for your custom banner, let’s focus on a few design principles to ensure you get a great-looking product.
- Keep it simple. It can be tempting to fill your entire banner with text about how amazing your organization is (and we know it is!), but you have limited space (and attention span), so make the most of your custom banner with clear, simple messaging. Focus on one central idea that will resonate with your audience and achieve your goal for the banner. Reinforce this message with your branding/logo and (when applicable) include a simple call to action. When it comes to banner design, less is usually more!
- Add relevant and compelling imagery. You may think it’s better to include only text so you can convey as much information as possible, but including a great photo or vector pattern can be a key step to creating an impactful banner. A picture really is worth a thousand words, especially for the human brain, which processes visual information faster than written words. For any non-vector images, be sure to use the appropriate size and resolution so your image prints as crisply and clearly as possible.
- Easy-to-read text. It goes without saying that you want visitors to be able to read your banner, so be sure that the font size is large and that you’re using a legible font type. In most cases, you’ll want a larger block of text for your core message/offering, with a small amount of supplemental information in a smaller font. The exception would be with the informational banners discussed above, in which case you can provide more info with smaller text (assuming people will have the opportunity to read it up close). But even then, remember that it’s a banner and not a novel!
- Use color psychology. Design and advertising pros know that different colors elicit different human responses. For example, blues and greens can make us feel calm, while red is noticeable and creates a sense of urgency (there’s a reason that’s the color of stop signs). Familiarize yourself with color psychology and apply its basic principles to excite, calm, or energize visitors with your banner. Combine this insight with your brand’s colors and make something that really pops.
- Maintain a well-balanced layout. You don’t want to overcrowd your banner or leave it too sparse. We are big fans of letting your designs breathe. You don’t want to be so minimalist that the banner looks empty or boring, but if you find that all of your text or imagery is bumping up against the edges, you’ve probably gone too far, so scale the sizing back. Best practice includes prioritizing spacing and placement for the critical information we mentioned earlier, while maintaining a clean and compelling design.
Work with the Pros
Designing a great-looking custom banner requires thoughtfulness and know-how, and it always helps to work with a knowledgeable partner. With some companies, it can feel like you’re on your own, but at BestFlag, we give you lots of options.
Our online designer allows you to design a great looking banner in a few minutes, and will walk you through the design process to ensure you love the end result. Or, work with BestFlag’s team of designers to get professional support and take your banner to the next level. And of course, if you have a creative pro on your team, you can take your banner design even further with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop or InDesign. Just download one of our product templates, follow our art guidelines and let your creativity fly.
If you have any questions or need help with any projects, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We can’t wait to see the great looking banners you design!