All You Need to Know About Effective Banner Design

artist designing a marketing material

Digital advertising may be all the rage these days, but there’s no denying that traditional tactics are still here to stay. Take a walk outside if you need proof – you wouldn’t even have to walk far to spot a banner, a poster, or even a window decal. The mere fact that they made you look is testament to how they effectively grabbed your attention.

For this article, we’ll zero in on the physical banner. Everything you need to know about designing this type of signage, we’ll discuss them here.

First things first, what’s a banner for?

The main reason physical banners managed to survive the great Internet takeover is their versatility. Much like its digital counterpart, physical banners can be used for just about anything – if you can put your idea into writing or into design, the print shops can surely produce it for you.

To make it easier to understand, we grouped the different uses of custom banners into three main purposes:

  1. To increase traffic. Window displays can be enticing, but adding a banner to the mix is guaranteed to reel the passers-by in. This is especially true if your shop is in a busy street. Displaying an eye-catching banner on your front or side window can make you stand out from the rest of the storefronts.
  2. To highlight a specific product or service. A well-placed banner draws attention to your product or service, whether you’re a restaurateur promoting the featured dish of the week, an atelier owner showcasing this season’s collection, or a real estate agent with a promising property listing.
  3. To announce an event. Maybe you’re planning a major holiday sale, or your bar is hosting an open mic night and you want to encourage performers from your own neighborhood to come. Getting your promos and public activities out in the open through banners is a surefire way to spread the message!

Having a clear purpose makes it easier to design a banner. Before you reach for the sketchbook, get a notepad and pen first. List down what you ultimately want to achieve with your banner. Trust us – it’ll make the whole process easier.

Designing a Custom Banner

Now, let’s get down to business. There are several factors to consider when designing an effective banner. Contrary to what you’re probably thinking, impressive visuals alone won’t blow your potential customers away towards your way. Tell them where to go with the following elements:

Business logo

Your logo is the face of your brand. It’s what separates you from the competition and what people will remember you by. You wouldn’t trust someone if you don’t know what they look like, would you?

Company or brand name

Your brand or company name, whether it’s a made-up word or a play on you and your business partners’ initials, is what cements your identity. It’s proof that you exist.

Sure, some household brands can get away with foregoing this element in their ads, but that’s because they’ve already established their presence in the market. People know who and what they are even without the visuals. This kind of recognition doesn’t happen overnight, and until you get to that position, it’s best to be easily identifiable.


Contact information is a must for every banner regardless of its content. Let people know how to reach you by adding your website, your phone number, or a QR code containing your social media links if you’re feeling fancy. If you’re promoting an event, put in the date and venue. Holding a sale? Highlight how much they can save!

Once you’ve got those three important elements down pat, here is how you sweep your audience off their feet.


Overlooking the typography design is one of the most common mistakes when designing banners. The typeface can either make or break your custom banner. Even your brand font, which looks amazing on your website and socials, can look extremely different when it’s on printed material.

When designing large-format signage such as banners, the rule of thumb is to use a sans serif font since they’re easy to read. When it comes to font size, keep in mind that a 3” letter height can only be seen from 30’ away. Adding another inch increases the readable distance by 1’.


Injecting wit and humor to your banner copy is one way to get the people glancing a second time, but generally speaking, less is always more when it comes to advertising.

Always assume that everyone who passes by your banner is in a rush. No one has the time to read a chunk of text when they’re driving, cycling, or rushing to catch the bus.

Here’s an exercise you can try: Write down different versions of your copy in seven words or less, then read them aloud one by one. You’ll know which one to go with right after!


For the longest time, business owners turned to the teachings of color psychology for their signage and other marketing materials. Whichever color you choose, always pick the boldest and brightest hue then pick the contrasting color for the background. Some go-to combinations are:

  • White on black
  • White on red
  • Yellow on red
  • Blue on white
  • Dark green on yellow
  • Yellow on dark blue


If you’re adding an image to your banner, there are a few technical points you need to remember. Use a file with at least 300 dpi so it doesn’t end up blurred or pixelated once the banner is printed. You can ask the banner printing shop for assistance if it’s not showing up in the file properties or if you don’t have the software to convert the image. For stock photos, make sure that you’re getting it from the source instead of right-clicking on the image search results.

Now that you know how to design an effective banner, you’re well on your way to attracting more customers and clients to your business, organization, or event. For all your custom banner needs, look no further than the banner printing expert – PrintRunner! Let us know if you have questions or if you’d like to request a custom quote.

About the Author

Denise Colleen Cabili
Colleen has extensive experience helping brands align with their ideal clients through stories that resonate. She spends her free time reading speculative fiction and watching animated shows.