Design Tips

Design Tips

Designs that Stand Out

Change the visual landscape of the environment. Make headlines. Utilize the latest technologies. Exceptional out-of-home (OOH) advertising design has the ability to do all that and more.

When created successfully, OOH ads become a part of a city’s visual landscape. Learn the simple rules behind creating the most effective OOH ads, what creative possibilities set OOH advertising apart from other media and how our creative services can take your advertising further.

Get ready to start turning heads.

Effective OOH

Designing Effective OOH
Lamar’s designers share their simple tips for creating effective OOH designs. Keep these basic principles in mind as your creative begins to take shape. Download OOH Design Tips »

Keep It Simple
OOH advertisements should be straightforward and to the point. Go with one idea. In many cases, OOH ads are used to help your audience get somewhere or suggest what they should be doing. Tell the truth, and don’t sugar coat the message. Resist the urge to pack a lot of information onto a billboard. If you keep the message simple, you’ll get a better response. Because our audience is mobile, exposure time is typically four to five seconds. So say it loud and say it clear. But try to say it in seven words or less.

Use Readable Fonts

Fonts selected for OOH designs must be easy to read from variable distances. Use large, legible typefaces. Fonts with thin strokes or ornate script will be difficult to read, so stay away from those. Adequate spacing between letters, words and lines will enhance visibility. Another tip: words comprised of both upper and lower case characters is generally easier to read than all upper case. Download Letter Height Guide »

Contrasting Colors

Color weighs heavily on the success of a campaign. Research demonstrates that high color contrast can improve out-of-home advertising recall by 38%. Choose colors with high contrast in both hue and value. Contrasting colors are easy to see from great distances, while colors with low contrast will blend together and make the message harder to interpret.

Designing for Digital

The same design tips (keep it simple, readable fonts and contrasting colors) apply when designing for Digital Billboards. We’ll suggest a few more tips. Avoid using a solid white background on Digital because it doesn't carry the same vibrancy that it does on vinyl. White is a mixture of color vs. an absence of color, therefore it has a tendency to look subdued or muddy. Take advantage of the flexibility that Digital out-of-home advertising offers. Change your message weekly, daily or even hourly. Design with a creative strategy that tells a story or communicates numerous details using multiple design layouts.

Production Guidelines and Spec Sheets
When preparing a file to be printed for an OOH product, keep in mind that the file that we need is actually smaller than you think. For most products, you do not have to set up a file at 100% of its actual size. Visit our Products section to locate a spec sheet with the exact design and printing specifications that you need to get started.

Out of Home (OOH) Mockup Generator
Want to see how your ad will look on a billboard? The OAAA's Mockup Generator Tool allows you to view billboard, street furniture and transit creative in the environment. Once you have uploaded your creative, you will be able to zoom in and out to see the work at a range of distances, share the rendering and print a copy for your records. Visit the OOH Mockup Generator Tool to get started.
*This tool requires an active OAAA account. Non-members can register for a free account here.

Only in OOH

Only in OOH
OOH advertising offers virtually unlimited creative potential. Its unique ability to use the surrounding environment to create a greater impact on your audience is something that can only be done in our medium. Traditional and Digital OOH formats provide a blank canvas for brands to deliver high impact, disrupting and engaging creative messages.

Follow these tips to take advantage of the OOH medium’s strengths:

Use the Environment
Every day creative individuals are discovering new ways to incorporate the environment around advertising structures into the overall design. Get Inspired and discover designs that have utilized the landscape, buildings and other items as part of their creative concepts.

Extensions & Three-Dimensional Embellishments
Go beyond the boundaries of the advertising space. Boost the impact of your ad with extensions and other three-dimensional embellishments. Extensions are available in the following formats: inflatables, mold making, steel, wood, foam and fiberglass. If you want to stand out, be memorable and make headlines, consider adding extensions and three-dimensional options to your design.

OBIE Awards: Exceptional Outdoor Creative
The OBIE Awards - one of the most esteemed prizes in advertising - recognize creative excellence in out-of-home advertising and are the oldest awards program in the advertising industry. Winners are honored at the annual OBIE Awards Show. A complete list of OBIE winners and finalists is available at

Creative Services

Creative Services
We love helping our customers create the most effective, visually pleasing OOH designs out there. Our team of designers offer creative services for local, regional and national campaigns.

Local Design Services
At Lamar, we hire designers not artists. Artists create work to present their own view to the world. Designers, on the other hand, provide creative solutions to solve a problem. We hire designers. Our team of designers works closely with our local clients to uncover their advertising objectives and come up with a creative solution to increase sales, traffic or awareness for their product or service.

Our team specializes in designing visually pleasing, effective designs for the out-of-home medium. Our designers understand that the OOH audience has four to five seconds to read a message, and they know how to effectively communicate to them within that timeframe. They have the expertise to make your ad stand out from the competition, and we offer these services to local clients.

Regional and National Design Services
National clients typically have agencies that design their ads, but we understand that they still like to see our ideas. In 2004, we created XLbyDesign, a team of six of Lamar’s top local designers who compete for a spot every year. The designers work directly with our National and Regional Account Executives to create concepts for upcoming national and regional campaigns. The Account Executives research the client, write a creative brief and then send it to the XLbyDesign team. The designers brainstorm, create a concept for the campaign and then send their ideas to the clients at no cost. Please contact Creative Director Mendi Robinson or your national sales rep if you would like to take advantage of our top OOH designers’ services or learn more about XLbyDesign.

Visit the Downloads page for additional design resources »