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A Step By Step Guide for a Creative Banner Design

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Coming up with a banner for your marketing campaign can be a complicated task involving different stakeholders, the purpose and the platform. The longer the process is, the easier we forget certain steps or ignore certain things due to time or other constraints. You don’t need to worry any longer. This blog will be a step by step guide to help you with your creative banner design, so you can make sure that you have got everything you need.

Table of contents:

  • Define your purpose
  • Identify target audience
  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Conceptualize
  • Use Colors
  • Use Images and graphics
  • Use the right format
  • Size it up
  • Design
  • Use Text and Translation
  • Do the final Checks

Define your purpose

First and foremost, you have to decide on the purpose or focal point of your campaign. Are you doing it for raising brand awareness or any other purpose? Do you have physical goods for sales or service? You need to decide on what you want to achieve. This will expedite the design process.

Once you have finalized the concept, you can go ahead and focus on your campaign. You would think the next step would be to work on ideas for the concept, but that’s not it. You are missing the most important step, which is identifying your target audience.

Identify your target audience

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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.

This exercise is absolutely not for limiting your imaginations or potential reach, but just to maximize the impression of your campaign.

Brainstorm Ideas

Brainstorm banner design ATD

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Write everything down from vague ideas to tiny details you would want to include in your banner. Jot down every idea you have and keep writing everything until you have gone dry. You never know what will create a spark, so it is best to keep it written. Even the smallest of the ideas may be useful in the future.

One way that really works is to start thinking broad. So focus on each idea and pick up a handful and go to the next stage. Then again, come up with detailing for these ideas. Again there is no bad suggestion, as the next stage cuts short your ideas to finalize with the one. At this stage, you will be left with fully formed specific ideas with all the necessary details and a solid concept.

Now you would be left with a page of ideas. It could be broad sketches of the campaign look, best places to buy ad inventory. You should have 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 some of the questions that come up during the session. Chances are there is no definitive answer now, but all the options are worth considering, depending on how they fit your target audience.

Conceptualize

Conceptualize banner ATD

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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.

Use colors

Choosing colors for the banner in line with your brand is important. Color can often make the banner stand out but don’t go overboard. Make sure the banner content is readable as too many colors may leave the readers confused.

Use images and graphics

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.

Use 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.

Size it up

Banner ATD

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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.

This may be time consuming. But there are many applications like Bannerflow, which could ease this process for you. It’s like selecting another size and using the original as a template. All other elements can be brought to it automatically. And finally, after the edits, you can even make changes, which just takes seconds.

Design

Design banner ATD

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Now we have come to the fun part. You have the rough sketches, planned sizes, and your chosen formats, so it’s time to get designing. First, you and your creative team need to decide on the final plan and start sourcing anything that you would need externally, like a video or 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 may take anything from minutes to days.

Some important things to consider in the design are how effectively you use the space and how your positioning works. Effective usage of negative spacing is a real 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 user look at it. Positioning your various elements 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 no right or wrong answer to these questions as every ad is different. First, ensure whether you and your team are happy with the layout and are proud of the campaign.

This is the most important step overall, as this is where you bring together everything you have been working on. You want the ad to have a good reach among your target audience. Whichever way you and your team is deciding to work, make sure to preview everything, sacrifice the things you love, and make the changes appropriately. Check every little detail, as this is the banner, which will be the key to your campaign’s success. 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.

Use Text and Translation

After you have finalized your banner, you need to think of all the places it will appear. If you are just keeping it for your local market, you don’t need to worry about this, but if you are going international with your banner campaign, you should think about the localization.

This is not as simple as running your copy for translation through Google Translate. Though it’s good, it can’t help you with the nuances of the language, you generally get more of the gist of things than the exact translation, so you would need a translator to get this job done well. This also has a view of design implications. Since the word length may vary from language to language, this can even change an ad’s look, so you need to be mindful of this when you are 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.

Do the final checks

Checklist banner ATD

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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.

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