Essential Principles for Crafting Impactful Billboard Designs in 2024

It's surprising to encounter poorly designed billboards even today, given the wealth of design knowledge and technology at our fingertips. To address this, I've compiled a set of fundamental design principles that should underpin every effective billboard in 2024 and beyond.

Vibrant Contrast

The cornerstone of legibility in billboard design is stark contrast. The interplay of dark colors against light backgrounds (or vice versa) ensures readability from a distance. Despite seeming like basic knowledge, the necessity for high contrast—dark on light or light on dark—cannot be overstated. It's a non-negotiable starting point for all billboard designs.

Large Typography

The adage "go big or go home" aptly applies to billboard typography. Forget the fine print; visibility is key. With a benchmark suggesting no lettering smaller than 18 to 24 inches in height, clarity from afar is crucial. This guideline aims to maximize readability and impact, steering clear of the pitfalls of using diminutive text sizes.

Concise Messaging

In the realm of billboards, brevity reigns supreme. A maximum of seven words is recommended to convey your message effectively. While there's some flexibility, the principle remains: succinct messages have the strongest impact. Overloading a billboard with text dilutes its message and diminishes its effectiveness.

Striking Visuals

With modern digital printing technologies, there's no excuse for lackluster visuals. High-quality graphics or photographs should dominate the billboard, leveraging the full potential of today's digital capabilities. Whether it's a tantalizing dish for a restaurant or any other product, vibrant imagery is key to capturing attention and engaging audiences.

Strategic Calls to Action

"Exit Now" stands as a powerful call to action, emphasizing the unique advantage billboards have in point-of-purchase marketing. While not every billboard can utilize this exact phrasing, incorporating a clear, compelling call to action is vital. It leverages the immediacy and location-specific advantage of billboard advertising.

Classic Design Inspiration

Exploring the hallmarks of iconic billboard designs can provide invaluable inspiration. There's a wealth of successful layouts and strategies that have stood the test of time. Emulating these proven designs, while avoiding outright plagiarism, can serve as a solid foundation for your own creations.

Professional Design Assistance

Don't hesitate to enlist professional help. Many printing companies offer design services, ensuring your billboard not only looks fantastic but also communicates effectively. Investing in professional design can prevent the pitfalls of poor advertising outcomes, ensuring satisfaction for both you and your clients.


In an era where attention is a scarce commodity, making the most of your billboard investment is critical. Following these essential design principles ensures your billboard not only captures attention but also delivers its message effectively and beautifully. Let's strive for excellence in billboard design, benefiting advertisers and audiences alike in 2024.

Frank Rolfe started his billboard company off of his coffee table, immediately after graduating from college. Although he had no formal training on the industry, he learned as he went, and developed his own unique systems to accomplish things, such as renting advertising space. Frank was formerly the largest private owner of billboards in Dallas/Ft. Worth, as well as a major player in the Los Angeles market.