They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and in display advertising, it’s what grabs our attention first. Eye-catchers, i.e. visually appealing elements that make our message stand out from other content, also help in attracting attention. It’s particularly important to use them now that more and more users are affected by banner blindness due to the growing popularity of online ads. Are you curious how to create graphics that will catch the customer’s eye? Let’s read about best practices in graphic design.
Banner blindness is linked to overstimulation, among other things. This phenomenon is characterised by the fact that users become “immune” to online ads. It’s a defence mechanism designed to protect us from overstimulation and a flood of irrelevant information. We’re not able to avoid it completely, but we can avoid it at least partially.
One of the most effective ways to reach a wide audience is display advertising (our strategist writes more about it IN THIS ARTICLE). If we want to make the most of this form of communication, it’s worth devoting some time to what attracts the audience’s attention first, i.e. the image. We should ensure that banner ads are clear and contain elements that focus the user’s attention.
What should you pay attention to when designing advertising graphics or commissioning a digital agency to produce promotional materials?
Take a look at this list of the most important eye-catchers together with illustrative examples, and make sure that your display ads always have at least one of them!
Research carried out by Colorcom shows that we only need 90 seconds to make a subconscious judgement about a product, and our assessment is largely based on … colour! For over 92% of respondents, colour is the visual element that plays a key role in making a purchase decision, so you shouldn’t underestimate its enormous role. Carefully selected colours are another key factor determining how a display ad will be received. If you want to show your product as dependable and trustworthy, opt for blue. Yellow and orange will add energy and help bring out positive emotions, while black will be associated with timelessness and will work really well for premium products. Of all the available colours, red grabs our attention the most. In the banner campaign which the 1000ideas team put together for Virgin Mobile, energy-evoking red was the dominant colour.
Marc Chagall, a leading figure of Cubism, said that all colours are the friends of their neighbours and the lovers of their opposites. If we want to attract the audience’s attention, it’s worth taking these words to heart. Among contrasting colours, the combination of black and white is particularly noteworthy. This is one of the first combinations that springs to mind when we think about contrast. However, we have many more possibilities to choose from!
No other colour grabs our attention like red, followed by orange and yellow. There is a reason that road signs remain in these colours, and many call-to-action buttons are red. A contrasting red and yellow colour scheme is used by McDonald’s, DHL and Karakter Bookshop in Krakow, among others. An example of a creative based on the juxtaposition of 3 highly contrasting colours is the display campaign designed by the 1000digital team for 7r.
Not all contrasting combinations have to be based on bright colours, but remember that the stronger the contrast, the easier it is to attract the user’s attention.
3. Lines and arrows
Lines on a graphic are the visual indicators which allow you to direct the user’s eyes to where you want them. Straight lines can provide a sense of order and harmony, while diagonal lines add dynamics to the image. Paying attention to the use of lines in graphics will help the user to navigate the visual journey and focus their attention on the most important elements. What’s more, arrows don’t have to be the only graphic elements! In our campaign for Onet, the visual signpost is … Sting’s finger.
4. Overlapping shapes
Proper positioning of lines is not the only thing that will help us hold the user’s attention. Overlapping objects in the graphic will be equally effective. Why? When individual elements are far apart from each other, the image appears flatter and attracts our attention less than creatives containing overlapping elements. When a definite relationship exists between the individual elements, the image becomes more three-dimensional. This technique is used by Żabka and Lidl, among others.
Natural framing is a technique successfully used in photography and film. Natural framing for the image can be provided by trees, a viaduct, window frames or, as with “Man of Iron”, structural elements of the Gdańsk Shipyard. However, the use of framing is not only reserved for photography or film – we can also use it successfully in designing advertising graphics! Frames perfectly enclose the composition and emphasize the most important elements of the ad. In display advertising, frames surrounding entire banner ads are used by Uber, for example, while in the Sympatia campaign, there are frames distinguishing individual elements of the animation.
6. Animation on a still image
How many times, when accessing a website with a GIF, have your eyes been drawn towards it? It’s a completely natural reflex: when movement sneaks into a still image, our gaze instantly goes in that direction. The same idea applies in the case of cinemagraphs, i.e. still photographs with small, moving elements that introduce an element of surprise. How can we use it in display advertising? By opting for html animations! Moving parts will attract the attention of people accessing the website and instantly direct them to our product. Animated elements in a seemingly still image can be seen, for example, in the creative designed by 1000ideas for PUMA.
7. Fewer elements
“Less is more” is a motto that very often proves to be true for advertising campaigns. Fine-tuned typography, well-balanced proportions. A single element focuses our attention much more than several identical elements placed next to each other. We opted for minimalism in the advertising graphics we designed for VOXBOX.
If our ad contains all of these elements, will that make it more effective? Not necessarily! Too many eye-catchers will distract the user’s attention instead of attracting it. However, it’s worth ensuring that every ad we produce has at least 2-3 elements that grab the attention of the audience.
If you need support in designing an effective display campaign, leave it to the professionals!