Creative Guidelines

Creative Guidelines


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!
Want to know what works in Outdoor Advertising? Our Creative Guide offers some great tips for creating effective Outdoor.

Download What Works in Out-of-Home - A Guide to Designing Effective Out-of-Home Creative (.pdf)

Keep it simple

A simple, single-minded message has great street presence. With only a few seconds to create an impression, it is essential to clear away the extraneous. Focus is the key.

Involve the viewer
Out-of-Home creative brings the street to life. The use of humorous, intriguing, or aesthetic images are very effective in capturing audience attention.

  • Humour - Street entertainment! The use of humour in Out-of-Home is one of the most effective ways to increase campaign recall levels. Subtle or direct, humour can generate a smile or cause your audience to laugh out loud.
  • Intrigue - Street smarts! A puzzle, a mystery, a teaser: the message may not be immediately apparent. The use of intrigue engages the viewer in solving the message.
  • Aesthetic - Street art! An invitation to daydream or fantasize: strong visuals appeal to the viewer's senses. Aesthetic creative is often pleasurable to look at and to study the details.

Consider Distance
Distance is a variable that must be considered. Because the audience is often in motion, the viewing time of an Out-of-Home product is sometimes limited to just a few seconds. Effective Out-of-Home design depends not only on the style of type or the combination of colours used, but also how these elements work together when viewed at a distance. A headline must be legible at any reasonable distance, from close by to at least 400 feet away. When designing, consider how the design looks from the other side of the room - and how it looks as you walk briskly past it.

Viewing Distance

Recommended Minimum Type Sizes
Horizontal Posters - 12"
Transit Shelters - 4"
Superboards - 24"
Backlights - 24"
Permanents - 24"

The Use of Colour
Effective use of colour is one of the most important considerations when designing for Out-of-Home. Designers should seek out colours with high contrast in both hue (the identity of the colour, such as red, green, yellow), and value (the measure of the colour's lightness or darkness). The greater the contrast between colours, the greater the impact achieved, while colours without contrast blend together and can obscure the message. Blue and yellow work well together because they have high contrast in both hue and value. Red and green have a strong hue difference but in values they are very similar and therefore have poor contrast. White goes well with any dark value colour, while black is good with colours of light value.


Choice of Type
Colour contrast, type choice, style and size are all critical factors for legibility in Out-of-Home. Feelings and opinions about typeface choices and styles of lettering can be subjective. Common sense dictates that they should be simple, clear and easy to read. Type faces in upper and lower cases tend to be easier to read than all capital letters.

  • Space - Word spacing and letter spacing need considerable care. With too little spacing, letters tend to merge together when viewed from a distance.
  • Style - Simple type faces are recommended for use in Out-of-Home. As a general rule, ornate faces, those with thick or thin strokes, outline fonts and drop shadows do not read well from a distance. Sans Serif fonts tend to be more legible, since Serif fonts pose the problem of overlapping when spaced too close together.
  • Legibility - Whatever type face is selected, the ultra-bold or ultra-thin variety are not recommended. Heavy type faces become blobs from a distance, while very fine strokes tend to fade and disappear.


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