5 Important Rules for Outdoor Print Advertising Design, Placement and Response

The trend in marketing over the last few years has been to go digital. But as we’ve seen in many areas, there’s now an increasing shift back to traditional channels as digital has become busier and busier and marketing messages become lessened by the noise.

Relevancy is key to capturing the attention of your target!

Relevancy is key to capturing the attention of your target audience!

Outdoor advertising on large-scale billboards (often called 48 Sheet, though there are also 64 and even 96 sheet), on bus shelters, public transport infrastructures such as the tube and rail terminals, and places such as bus sides and even lorry sides – has never been more popular.

One of the great things about outdoor advertising is that it can’t be ignored. Sure, it’s ‘at a glance’ advertising, where the marketing message needs to be simple, clear and driven home in under a second (the skill of driving that second-glance or double take is much sought after by the clients of creative agencies). But nevertheless, outdoor advertising can be highly targeted, has low competition in situ, can be location-specific, and can be very effective.

Here are our 5 Golden Rules for Outdoor Print Advertising:


Adverts can be placed very specifically – not just covering places such as commuter routes but also specific geographic locations in an area and often adjacent to particular stores such as Tesco. These areas cover particular demographic groupings for accurate targeting. The best creatives also reflect the location of the site, making the advertisement more meaningful for the target audience.


The duration of the campaign can be important. It’s because many outdoor adverts are resident for a longer period that their at-a-glance message is drilled home over several exposures.


Be clear & concise with all messages. Keep copy to a minimum. Use bright and colourful, high impact visuals. Make the message relevant for your target consumer.


Outdoor advertising can be effective in complementing other elements of a campaign. And with the addition of elements such as Augmented Reality, is starting to drive interaction and clicks through to other channels.


Augmented reality isn’t the only response mechanism. QR codes are being displayed on Outdoor sites to drive customers to a variety of other digital content – not just websites. And while it’s true to say that the effectiveness of outdoor advertising can be difficult to measure, the use of these digital techniques mean it’s becoming more and more measurable.