Effective OOH Poster Design | Clear Channel
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The art and science of effective OOH poster design

Creating impactful posters takes a lot of thought, consideration and creativity. Poster adverts may seem simple at first glance, but they have a lot of potential for influencing consumer perception, so it’s important to take their production seriously. There are psychological elements at play with posters, and creativity is required to make your poster stand out from the crowd. Here we will explain the key elements of effective poster design, and how best to ensure that you’ll feel the maximum benefit of your Out of Home (OOH) posters.

Understanding the Fundamentals of OOH Poster Design

There are core elements of poster design that it’s useful to understand before starting the designing process - and for OOH posters in particular, some of these are more important than others.

  • Clarity - very few posters are captivating enough to cause passers-by to stop and read every single piece of information. This means it’s important that your message is as clear as possible in as few words as possible, and easy to interpret at a glance.

  • Layout - supporting the need for clarity, layout plays a huge part in how easily your poster will be understood. Also known as visual hierarchy, this involves capitalising on the way a viewer’s eyes are likely to travel across the content.

  • Typography - your chosen font must be clear and easily read from a distance, especially for OOH designs.

  • Colour - obviously you will want to use your brand’s colours to encourage familiarity with your brand, but make sure they’re used in a way that doesn’t negatively impact readability.

  • Imagery - bold visuals are more likely to cause eyes to linger on your posters. Any images used should be high quality and visually pleasing, and should emphasis your key message - not detract from it.

Leveraging Visual Hierarchy and Composition

Posters are an art, and as with paintings and murals, composition plays a key role in how well they resonate with the viewer. Visual hierarchy refers to the way information and visual elements are organised on a poster in order of importance. Effectively leveraging visual hierarchy can make a huge difference in how clearly your poster can be understood.

Size plays a big part in visual hierarchy. Larger elements of your poster will naturally draw more attention than finer details - it’s common to interpret the larger elements as the most important parts of a poster’s message, and the smaller aspects to be supporting information. Similarly, elements placed at the top and to the left, or in the middle of a poster are likely to draw more attention than those placed at the bottom, as this replicates the way in which our eyes scan a page. Negative space is also a powerful element of visual hierarchy - the use of negative space helps to dictate the flow of where the viewer’s eye is meant to travel, so it’s important not to cram every inch of your poster with information.

Understanding and utilising these psychological influences can help you to maximise the impact of your posters.

Maximising Impact with Engaging Content 

Once you’re confident in your layout, you need to make sure that the content you fill it with is equally as engaging and thought-provoking. As we’ve mentioned, clarity is of the utmost important, so making sure that any copy is precise and informative is imperative. However, it’s also important to demonstrate your brand’s personality and incorporate this into your OOH design - you don’t want your adverts to read too generically when the goal is to stand out.

Successful OOH Campaigns 

The most successful and creative OOH campaigns leave a lasting impression on viewers, and they all tend to have several qualities in common:

  • Strong visuals that instantly communicate the focus of the campaign

  • Strategic placement to capitalise on their target audience

  • Consistency with their brand’s tone of voice and personality

  • A creative concept that makes it stand out from other OOH designs

  • The ability to adapt and be updated, should market trends change

The key is finding a balance - the creativity of an idea shouldn’t overshadow its clarity, and in turn clarity shouldn’t outshine all elements of personality. Achieving this balance is the challenge.

Harnessing Technology and Innovation 

Developments in advertising technology are particularly relevant for OOH design, as posters are no longer restricted to paper. The use of digital displays add a new layer to effective poster design, as they enable brands to move beyond the use of static images and incorporate animation and video into their campaigns. Being able to programme and change digital posters remotely means advertising can be more responsive than ever before, and allows for flexibility creatively.

Not only is technology influencing the format of poster adverts, it’s also having an impact on the ways in which engagement is measured. From incorporating interactive elements such as QR codes to utilising eye-tracking to see just how many people look at your poster, technology is making it easier than ever before to judge what is and what isn’t effective poster design.

Engagement in OOH Posters

Incorporating interactive features designed to engage the viewer is a great way of increasing the amount of impressions your poster makes, and encourages people to interact more with your brand across other platforms. For example a QR code leading to your social media can turn a poster into the source for multiple touchpoints.

Measuring Success and Iterating for Improvement 

Design and place your poster adverts with measurable metrics in mind - this will allow you to gather data and use it to inform your future campaigns. For example, if a poster is displayed in proximity to an in-person location and encourages customers to step in, you can measure the increase in footfall at this store following your poster’s release. Audience reach is another important metric - this can be tracked by looking at measurables such as traffic - be it by foot or by vehicles - in proximity to your posters.

As previously mentioned, including an interactive element to your poster can give you an easy way to track engagement during your campaign.

Audience Engagement

It’s important to analyse audience engagement after your posters have been rolled out and visible for a while. Carrying out surveys and questionnaires can help you to understand which elements of your post design have made the biggest impression.

Ask questions specifically designed to assess whether or not participants remember seeing your posters, and what stood out about them. You can also compare prompted and unprompted recall rates to identify your poster’s strengths - this removes some of the guesswork of figuring out what resonates with your audience. Remember to choose your survey sample based on your target audience, and feel free to ask further questions for more in-depth qualitative data.

Collaborating with Clear Channel for OOH Success 

At Clear Channel we know exactly how much work goes into effective poster design. We use our experience in OOH advertising to support brands in creating impactful campaigns, and can help you to design posters that are guaranteed to catch your target audience’s eye. 

If you’re new to OOH advertising we have a wide variety of resources and solutions available to help you get started. Get in touch to see how we can help you.