Banner Design Tips

The design of banner advertisement/s is integral to the success of your business branding or sales goals. The design that you have not only needs to appeal to your target audience, but also to generate business sales. Below are some banner design tips that are sure to bring you success and pleasing results.

Banner Design Tips & Suggestions


  • Animation involves a process of stringing together a series of individual frames or panels (pictures and graphics) in a timed sequence that gives the impression of watching something in continuous motion.
  • Impress not irritate – Animation is an effective tool when it is quick to download increasing that particular banner’s CTR (click through rate). The objective is to attract your target audience and not annoy them. A banner must therefore be carefully planned and many design elements taken into consideration, especially when using animation.
  • The animation used must be aesthetically pleasing, attracting positive attention. It must not clash or interfere with the design of the web page that it is displayed on.
  • It is a good idea when using animation to reveal your main message in the very first frame, especially if the web page takes a bit of time to download. Many visitors will often exit a page before a banner animation has loaded completely. By sending out your most important message first, you have a better chance of your banner ad being noticed.


  • Graphics and images used must be relevant to your company’s services or products. The trick is to combine relevance with creative, attention attracting graphics and images. If the image is merely attractive and not obviously relevant, visitors will be lost. The results can mean high CTRs and low sales rates.

Call To Action

  • “Click here” and “submit” graphic images, as well as colour on a banner has the ability to significantly increase your banner’s CTR. Studies indicate that a CTR can be increased by as much as 20% when a “click here” call to action is placed on a banner ad.
  • Popular “call to action” words and phrases, often overused but still remarkably effective, include “new” or “new and improved”.
  • Call to action words, graphics and phrases offer a target audience an incentive and open the door for an increase in clicks on the banner ad. Whatever “call to action” means is used, it must deliver what it promises or potentially generate a bad reputation. Call to action words, graphics and phrases should be used in the last frame, once the main message is delivered.


  • The colours that you use in your banner design can make all the difference as they trigger emotion. Psychological aspects have an influence on the reactions specific colours can cause in human beings. Some are more appealing than others and for a variety of reasons. Colours essentially create an impression and it is for this precise reason that the hues chosen for your banner ad are so important.
  • Bright colours, such as blue, yellow and green have been noted to have a higher CTR than those that are designed in black and white.
  • Red is not the most desirable colour to use only should be used sparingly.
  • Colours used incorrectly can compromise your banner ad message and potentially confuse your target audience. The manner in which colour is interpreted depends largely on culture, physiology of the eye, readability, profession and personal preference.

Use Of The Word “Free”

  • People are naturally drawn or attracted to freebies. Using the word “free” in your banner ad campaign has the potential to increase your CTR. The amount of clicks that occur largely depend on what’s being offered. A free software demo, for instance, can bring a satisfactory response. Free money offers, however, arouse suspicion and are not a good idea.

Banner Ad Testing

  • Testing is an essential factor that will help you to see that your design works and serves its purpose perfectly. Testing involves running a banner ad over a period of time and measuring the results. Changes can then be made and run again until it improves your ultimate objectives and goals.

Short Messages

  • Short, to the point and simple messages grab and hold attention of a target audience much better than a banner ad that is wordy. A banner ad delivering a message that is too long runs the risk of appearing unfocused and interest is easily lost.
  • Short messages have a higher CTR.

Linking & Rewarding The Visitor

  • The visitor who takes a moment to click on your banner ad will feel even more satisfied if they receive the answers specific to their needs.
  • Your banner ad must link the target audience to information that is not needed to be additionally searched for. Learning this skill can take a bit of practice and logical thinking. It is important to put yourself in the visitor’s shoes and remember that you can only hold your target audience’s attention for so long. The impression that you make, therefore, must be a good enough one to hold interest and encourage more, with the ultimate result being a sale (of a service or product).
  • Many people regard “blue underlined text” as links. A banner that is designed to be displayed on a white background can make use of blue underlined text as a call to action feature. Many regard this as web surfer trickery, but if the call to action delivers on its promise, most viewers will forgive the “trickery”.

Change & Refreshments

  • As the saying goes “change is good”. In the case of banner advertising, change is essential. A target audience operates within a society that has somewhat of a short attention span. A good and well planned banner ad strategy can linger in the minds of an audience, but most will be lost over a specific period of time. Society is built on trends and has the opportunity to pick and choose as they please because there is so much out there on offer. Competition is strong. Your banner ad design must, therefore, be current and open to refreshment and change often.
  • Studies have shown that CTRs can drop substantially after a period of weeks and only really improves when a new banner appears. It is important to make use of as much creativity as you can so as to maintain a constant flow of advertising that grabs and holds a target audience’s attention for as long as possible.

Eye Catching Punch Lines

  • A catchy phrase is meant to arouse interest and entice a visitor to “want more”. A great deal of time is necessary to come up with a phrase that is catchy and relevant. With a few words an impact on a target audience can be made and increase CTRs.
  • A phrase should be short, to the point and made to look visually appealing. Colours and fonts used will play as important a role as does the chosen punch line or phrase.


  • What will interest my target audience? Once this question is answered copy can be played a round with until it delivers the precise message in the banner ad that is desired. The goal is to make a connection with the target audience. Much time is necessary for this and it is important to get right.
  • Short and simple is the rule of thumb when writing copy. Copy must be informative and useful. It is meant to illicit curiosity and encourage a visitor to want your company’s services or products.
  • Copy is part of the design and should compliment a punch line and the aesthetic look and feel of the banner ad.

Logos & Website URL

  • Company logos and website URLs are important to include on the banner ad design, especially if this form of branding is new to your company.
  • The font and logo size is an important factor when used in a banner ad. The logo and URL must not overpower the main message or punch line of the banner ad. It is advisable to keep the company logo and URL together either on the left or right side of the banner ad. Logos and the URL font should be small.

Web Banner File Size

  • An ideal web banner file size is roughly 15kb or less. Smaller banner ads, especially when displayed at the top of web pages load before or with the pages main text and has the benefit of grabbing the target audience’s attention virtually immediately. The downside is that small size banners can limit animation and colours that are able to be used.
  • Banner file sizes largely depend on the length of an animation design and amount, as well as the physical size of the banner ad.


  • Flash used in a banner ad has the benefit of providing smoother transitions of animation frames or panels, better interactive tools and higher CTRs. Flash banner ads are made to be interactive with a target audience and directly involves a visitor.
  • A disadvantage of flash is that it can limit visitors who are unable to view the designed banner ad in this format. Flash banners require a plugin on the particular person’s system. Animated gif versions are often asked to be provided as well when flash banners are designed.

More Than One Banner

  • Single banner ads are very likely not sufficient enough for an advertising campaign. Banner rotation is more likely to attract more attention and increase potential CTRs. A banner ad campaign of, for example, 6 advertisements can be rotated regularly. Different versions of the same basic banner ad design can be effective.
  • It is important to keep track of your CTR, CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per thousand) statistics as this will determine the success level of your banner ad campaign. Comparisons can also then be made and which ad generated the most success can be measured.

Banner design involves various components and pieces that when brought together produce an attractively pleasing and inviting branding, sales and marketing tool for your business. The primary goal is to create a banner ad campaign that is well planned, thought out and aesthetically pleasing enough to entice a target audience to make use of offered services and purchase products. At the end of the day, the number of sales made can be largely traced back to the effectiveness of the ad campaign message. Banner ad designs are important to be well planned and thought out. This is ultimately half the effort needed in order to accomplish an effective design.

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