Banner Design: The Ultimate Guide To Create The Perfect Display Ad

banner design for ads

Advertising has kept its foot steep in and is already taking businesses to next level. But to design a perfect display ad, it requires some tips and preliminary skills to taste success.

If you are a startup and you are looking forward to spreading your brand awareness, you should invest in advertising. How much ever money you are willing to spend, if you have a poorly designed banner, it will be of no use. The first step to successful advertising is designing an eye-catching banner. Ads are like pests that people block; yours must be cool enough to make people want to look at it and click on CTA.

If you have money to roll, you can opt for outsourcing, but you should stick to in-house designing if you have a tight budget. This blog will help you figure out everything you need to know about the banner design and what are tips you need to follow in coming up with an amazing display ad.

What is a display ad?

Display advertising is the method of alluring the audience of websites, social media platforms, or any other digital platform to take a specific action.

They are often textual, image-based, or video advertisements that encourage users to click-through to a landing page and take action. Most of these display advertisements are charged based on cost per click basis. This means, every time a user clicks on your ad, you will be charged based on your overall bidding strategy.

They can even be used for retargeting campaigns. This is when ads are served to the users who have already visited a specific website. The aim will be to retarget them and make them return to the website to take the same action.

Types of Ads

  1. Banner Ads: Banner type ads are the oldest and traditional forms of advertising, and they usually appear on the top of websites in a banner format. Here is an example from Amazon.
  2. Interstitial Ads: These are ads that appear as webpages and are served to the audience before they are redirected to the original page they were supposed to look up. Here is an example of how interstitial ads appear while accessing a web page on a mobile device.
  3. Rich Media: They include interactive elements such as audio, video, and clickable elements.
  4. Video Ads: The Youtube advertising platform and many social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram have opened a new avenue for businesses. Video ads enable you to interact with your audience on a personal level and are worth investing in.

Benefits of Display Advertising

  1. Diversity: Display ads are there in many shapes and sizes. As you have seen above, they can be done in several formats. This means you can choose your style and format, which will help you in achieving your business goals.
  2. Reach: Marketers be thankful to Google Display Network. Now you can access millions of sites directly from Google Ads account.
  3. Targeting: Due to the extensive reach of GDN, you target the audience who will be suitable for it by placing it on the right website. This includes geo-targeting and demographic, along with specific interests of your target audience.
  4. Calculative: You can track the clicks, conversions, and impressions from Google Ads as well as Google analytics if you want more granular and engagement tracking.

Tips for creating the perfect Ad copy

Use Right Language

Display advertising lets you target your specific customer segments. This means you should be able to speak to each group individually. For example, if you have a shoe store, you may think that the majority of your customers will buy your product for style. But when you talk to them individually, you can find it is rather for comfort. In this way, you can identify these buyers’ demographic and psychographic profiles and serve ads, especially for them.

You must ensure that you match the language of the audience you are looking to attract. Stay away from buzzwords and be clear on what you want to convey.

Create a catchy copy

Display ads are primarily focused on the visual element, but it is very important to get the ad’s copy right. Here are a few things to keep in mind while coming up with your ad’s copy.

  • Create An Urgency: Use words like “now” and “need” wherever necessary in order to compel people to act quickly.
  • Make Them Curious: Ask questions and create an air of mystery by using phrases like “Beware,” “Announcing,” and “Before it’s too late.”
  • Use Number And Symbols: Numbers are easy to understand, which is the key to get people’s attention. Use statistics that include numbers, which will be like proof that encourage people to click.
  • Be Bold: As important as the copy is, how you present them. Use bold fonts and typography that stand out. But make sure it’s clear to read.

Bring up clutter-free imagery

The images you show your audience must be simple, clutter-free, and brand-friendly. If you are using images, make sure it emphasizes on what your brand is about. Illustrations are the best devices to take your message across.

Next, we can look at the five design principles, which will emerge as your checklist while designing your display ad:

The five design principles you need to know while designing your display ad

1. Structured design

For a good display ad, its structure is the foundation. And there are a few steps you should follow before coming up with your ad. The interactive advertising bureau suggests that display ads should be easily differentiated from webpage content, and it must have clearly defined borders. It shouldn’t be confused with normal web page content.

It is also recommended to keep your ad’s sizing flexible as people view it from different screens, and it changes. Google gives various ad sizes ranging from half-page ads to large mobile banners. The top three ad sizes that are ranked based on performance are 300×250 (a medium rectangle), 336×280 (a large rectangle), and 728×90 (a leaderboard).

So, make sure you have a strong yet flexible structure that can fit each format, paying special attention to the top-performing sizes.

The fundamental elements of a display ad are

  • Your company logo and name
  • A value proposition
  • An image or visual representation of your service
  • A CTA

Of course, your value proposition and CTA are the most important. One company had a sound that optimizing the CTA gave a whopping 245% increase in lead. This is how critical it is. The value proposition and CTA should be the most two visually distinct elements. You should place the logo on the sides, at one edge of your ad. Also, you should make sure that the image doesn’t cause any hindrance to the copy.

This is just one of the ways to arrange the elements. The exact structure can be done as you desire, as long as the CTA and value proposition are dominating your copy. The elements can be rearranged; however, you want it to be to suit different ad sizes.

2. Color

Choosing a color combination for your online Ad banner is highly important, as well as a little bit of a daunting task. This is mainly due to the overcrowded display advertising market. So you are here to create a stunning banner that will level up to your client’s expectations, outshine the bigger brands, and appeal to online users to click the button. No need to worry; it isn’t as complicated as they seem. In this, we shall walk through such magnificent color combinations that can easily click and take your ad campaign to a large target audience.

So you are supposed to use a different color palette depending on whom you are aiming for the campaign. Many businesses favor particular colors. For the communications industry, blue and black are the most used colors. Using these colors on their display instills a sense of trust in their brand.

There is pretty much so much to ponder upon when it comes to deciding on color palettes for your display ad. There are some important questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Who is my campaign aimed at, and which are the colors that will appeal to them?
  • What are people’s expectations from my brand and industry?

A general rule is that your color palette should be minimal. You can use 2-3 main colors in your ads. If you are using a range of colors, the user would be confused about what to focus on. A couple of contrasting colors make the important point stand out. Make sure you choose your colors wisely, as that will greatly impact your audience.

The color combinations that always click in a display ad

From the study called ‘The Impact of color in marketing,’ researchers have found that people can make product choices based on colors alone within 90 seconds. An even more interesting finding was that usage of colors can not only differentiate your brand from other competitors but also influences moods- positively or negatively, like attitude towards certain products.

Before beginning to decide the colors for your banner, understand a bit of color theory to come with great results.

  • Monologues color palette – A single color with plenty of its shades are used to finish a composition.
  • Complementary combinations – All these colors are contrasted to each other, but they are used with each other; they give a sharp effect to the whole composition.
  • Analogous color palette – These are colors that lie next to each other in the color wheel and convey a sense of harmony when they are used together.
  • Triadic combinations – They are evenly located on the color wheel; you can locate them using a square or triangle shape.

Magenta and Yellow

When you combine different magenta shades with yellow, you can create a totally new palette. This could be used in your display ads in various forms to achieve the desired results.

Orange sunset

How about combining dark pink and a dark desaturated violet with red and orange that is not too bright? This also creates a vibrant yet colorful palette that you can use in a variety of designs for conveying a sense of energy and warmth.

Turquoise and red

Blue, cyan, and red, when mixed, can create a stunning range of palettes for your banner designs that will look killer. It works for anything from professional ones with cool colors to the more enigmatic ones.

Grey and Green

This is an unconventional yet a go-to color combination for display ads. The green color is commonly associated with nature, but it gives astounding results when combined with geography. Grey is a color that depicts steel or metals, including the industrial and technological revolution. It also depicts the color of the urban landscape. The combination of green and grey symbolizes health and technology.

Red and Green

Red is a color that is always associated with passion, and green color with health and the environment. But on Christmas, they both combine together to give the color of joy and festivities and a feeling of cheerfulness.

Honey yellow

This is the color scheme inspired by honey. Honey yellow should be your perfect palette for you when you are looking to create brighter color combinations for your products. Yellow is also a symbol of positivity and is related to summer and the sun.

Sunny day look

Yellow always relates to sun, warmth, and a feeling of positivity. It also represents enthusiasm and playfulness. It would easily reminisce about people with their childhood. You will also have to use other colors like red, blue, or green that are bright and strong and can also highlight your CTA buttons.

Pastel shades

Pastel shades are the most delicate and light shades in the color wheel. They are widely used to promote or depict feminine brands. They even create the effect of a dreamy world and arouse an array of warm and welcoming emotions.

3. Typography

Another important design element that can draw your attention like a speech bubble in a comic book is typography. Many successful designers say that the most important thing to consider in a design is its typography. However, creative visuals you come up with; if your audience couldn’t understand your message, they won’t click on your ad.

The typeface is also influential. There are plenty of fonts that you can incorporate, but that doesn’t mean you should use a bunch of vague fonts in your display ads.

Again you can form a hierarchy with different, complementary typefaces. Use unusual fonts for the essential information you want to convey. A more traditional font can be incorporated to add information. You can also use the bold typeface in places where you want the copy to stand out.

4. Simplicity

Have you heard of the KISS principle? It means ‘Keep it simple.’ Though the phrase originates in product design, it can be applied in any context. Display ads are meant to be compact; you aren’t going to bring your whole company’s story in a 300×250 ad. So, you should definitely keep it simple. You have to convey your message clearly and quickly.

Google Marketing recommends using three C’s for coming up with creative display ads. They should be compelling, clear, and concise so that you don’t overwhelm your audience. The CTA and value proposition are unmistakable, and that’s what you want too. The three C’s mean that you need a design that grabs the viewer’s attention, a brief message, and a clear CTA.

For B2C ads, you would want to display your product. You can do this and while still keeping it minimalistic. The trick is to use a high-resolution image that doesn’t clutter your message or CTA.

5. Customized images and graphics

Never use images for the sake of filling up space. Or just because you think you need to have them in your display ad. You know how important images are when it comes to marketing, and you also know images are easier to remember than the information you hear. So, they should serve a purpose.

The purpose of your image must be to display your product in its glory. Perhaps you are combining images and graphics to make it more and more eye-catching. Use custom images in a way it is likely to spark an interest among your audience. The thumb rule is to avoid stock images. Design is everything about how your creativity plays. The image should capture the attention but shouldn’t take away the message you are trying to convey.

To show your products’ success, lure people with interesting and unique images. But at the same time, make sure the CTA and value proposition are at the forefront as you want clicks, ofcourse.

Now that you have known the design principles for your display ad let’s get into the steps to create the perfect display ad.

Decide on the focal point

What is the focus of your ad? Are you doing it to inform the offers, or you want to raise your brand’s awareness? Do you want to display the goods and services? You should know what you want to achieve through this campaign. Once you have finalized your concept, you can go ahead and focus on your campaign. You would think the next step is to work on ideas for the concept, but that’s not about it. You are missing the most important step, which is identifying your target audience.

Identify your target audience

Before coming up with designs for your banner and campaign, it is very important to think about who the banner is aimed at. Once you have an idea of your target audience, it helps you visualize the users, which will help you design the campaign specially made for them.

Only by identifying your target audience, you can maximize the chances of engagement, as your audience will pay attention to your ad only if it is related to them. It also helps during the creative process, as you can get detailed concepts and ideas without the need to try and appeal to every single person who would want to potentially see the banner. This exercise is absolutely not for limiting your imaginations or potential reach, but just to maximize the impression of your campaign.

Brainstorm Ideas

Whether working as a team or doing it individually, it’s time to get your ideas out there and brainstorm. Write everything down from vague ones to the tiny details that you would want to include in your banner. Jot it down and keep writing everything until you are running out of ideas and have gone dry. You never know what will create a spark, so it’s best to keep them written. Even if you have leftovers that could be useful in some way or another.

One way this can work is to start thinking far and beyond. There is nothing as a bad idea, and no one says ‘no’ to anything. So, focus on each of the ideas and pick up a handful and go to the next stage. Then again, come up with the details for all these ideas. Again there is nothing as a bad suggestion, as your next step cuts sharp your ideas to finalize with the one. At this stage, you will be left with fully curated specific ideas with all necessary details and solid concepts.

Now you would be left with a board or page of ideas. It could be sketches of how the campaign should look, along with places where it would be best to buy ad inventory. You should also have a few copy ideas and maybe a rough framework of how the campaign will look overall. Is it going to be just one banner, or will there be multiple media? Or will you utilize live banners or videos? Is it going to be a purely banner campaign, or is there going to be any other media?

These are questions you ask yourself and your team while you are brainstorming. Chances are there is no definitive answer now, but all the options are worth considering, depending on how they fit your target audience.


It’s time to narrow down your focus point and work on the ideas you came up with during your brainstorming session. Some might work, and some might not so don’t worry as you can use them for your future campaigns. Take the best or most suitable ideas,

It’s time to narrow down your focus point and work through the ideas you came up with during the brainstorming session. Some might work, and some might not, so do not worry as you can use them for your future campaigns. Take the best or most suitable ideas, which you can mold into an overall concept.

This should have a rough framework of the campaign, sketches of how the banner will look, and the kind of sizes they will be, also a design concept which includes the type of image or videos you would want to use. You should also decide on where and why you would want it to appear. After this step of conceptualizing, you should have a clear idea of where to start your design and where you want them to go.

Choose your format

Now that you have your framework and clear idea and vision of what you want to do, you should start looking into which format will best suit you. If your campaign is primarily mobile focus, you can try including some interactive elements with quality media so that users can swipe and manipulate the ad. Are you incorporating pictures or videos? Should yours be a straightforward and static banner, or it needs to be animated? For some marketing kingpins, this is one of the massive decisions, as it determines whether you have a huge investment in your hands.

Size it up

This also goes hand in hand with the format. Depending on where you’re posting your ad, you will need to size it properly. The best thing to do is to create a wide range of sizes that are responsive. This process is time consuming without the right software. You or your design team have to crop each individual size and fit the elements within. So everything should remain in the same proportion.

Many marketers avoid this process as much as possible due to the sheer amount of time it takes. There are many applications like Bannerflow, which could ease this process for you. It’s merely like selecting another size and using the original as a template. All other elements and animations can be brought to it automatically. And finally, after the edits, you can even make changes, which just takes seconds.


Here comes the fun part. Now you have your rough sketches, planned sizes, and your chosen formats all set, so it’s time to get them to life. You and your creative team need to decide on the final plan and start sourcing everything you need externally, like a video or a picture. Then you should keep your copy ready, whether it’s just the CTA or something deeper.

As long as you know who your target audience is, this will come naturally. If you can’t decide between a couple of ideas, why not try both! You can either field them or try some live A/B testing. Then you need to bring all the elements together and design your banner. Depending on the software and its complexity, this will take anything from minutes to days.

Some important things to consider in a design are how effectively you use space and how the elements have been positioned. The effective usage of negative space is a definite eye-catcher and can be used in plenty of imaginative ways. If you are doing it like how it should be done, you can make the users look at it. Positioning your element is also important. Where will you place your call to action? Do you want the copy placed at the top of the banner or to its right? Do you want to shorten the text to make it look more appealing?

There is nothing of right or wrong for these questions, as every ad is unique. First, ensure whether you and your team are happy and satisfied with the layout. This the most important step as this is where you bring together everything you have been working on. You want your ad to have a good reach among your target audience.

Whatever way you and your team want to work with, make sure to preview it and make the changes appropriately. You have to make it demand your audience’s attention and engage them enough to interact with it. If you succeed in this, your campaign can perform perfectly well.

Text and Translation

After you have finalized your banner’s design, you need to think of the places it is going to get live. If you are sticking to your local audience, you don’t need to think about this. But, if you are doing an international campaign, you should think about the localization.

This is not as simple as running your copy through Google Translate. It can’t help you with the nuances of language, so you just get a gist instead of the exact translation. So, you would need a translator to do this job for you. Since word length varies from language to language, this can even change the ad’s look. So, you need to be mindful of it while doing translations.

In case you have got your translations, and if you are not using any dedicated software, that means you have to manually create banners in every size for every word, which is definitely a boring as well as time consuming task. Get software that can scale up your campaigns in all the translated languages within minutes. This makes you concentrate more on the fun part.

The Final Check

Okay, now you have completed the 98% of the task. Finally, you need to check through the banners and have one last preview before publishing them. If they are working and looking perfectly the way you and your team have envisioned, then it’s the time to get it published. You have plenty of options here, but the creative part is all done and dusted. Now it’s your time to sit back and see how your audience engages with your amazing campaign. Take a look at banner deign guide for brands.

Bottom Line

Make flamboyant display ad designs that also has smart targeting. If they are remarkable, they can even cure the widespread blindness towards banners. All you have to do is get equipped with the craftsmen and start designing. Planning everything is a must when it comes to advertising. You will be spending a quite a lot of money, so make sure every penny you invest is worth it. You can play around with the creativity part as you like but at the end your banner should be legible enough for your target audience to understand.

November 10, 2020
10 min read
6 reads

Impress your customers with cutting-edge graphics!
By signing up, you agree to All Time Design's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
Thank you for subscribe!

Ready to create more
designs for lesser costs?

Start your 14-day free trial
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.