Billboard Design: Why Color Trends Make a Difference

In marketing, you cannot put all your eggs in one basket. You cannot have it all in the digital space and expect customers to come from different demographics. So, yes, even in this digital age, outdoor advertisements like billboards matter. But just be sure that your billboard design is in-line with the emerging trends in marketing. And one of them will be, color trends. 

When some colors start trending out there in the world of fashion and interior design, people start connecting with them. So, using these relatable and well-known colors in your marketing will be a good way to establish communication with your customers. 

So, let’s talk about using color trends to boost your billboard designs. We’ll first tell you why colors are crucial aspects of a billboard design. 

What Role Do Colors Have to Play in Billboard Design? 

Colors are protagonists in billboard designs. Most of your customers are used to adjusting the brightness and setting the color tones of the screens they use. So, your ads, no matter how you design them, can be easily customized by customers. 

For example, if customers find some details too feeble, they might increase the brightness levels on their screens to read the text. While the chances of this happening are pretty less there is still the possibility. 

However, this does not happen with billboard design. They see the same stationery design at different times of the day. So, colors are the biggest contributors to the aesthetics of your billboard. 

  • The color palette should make the billboard pop out from its surroundings. 
  • It should make the billboard instantly distinguishable from the other billboards nearby. 
  • The palette should set the mood right so that you can trigger an emotional reaction from your customers. 
  • It should be aligned with the message so that the overall design will convince the customers to take an action. 

7 Easy Tips to Put the Chosen Color Trends to Good Use 

The chances of customers reading an ad will be 42% higher when the ad is in color instead of black and white. So, using the right colors in your billboard design is important. And using trending colors is even more important.

Choosing trendy colors for your billboard is not enough. You need the colors, fonts, and the core message to all be on the same page. That’s when the colors you choose will make sense. Otherwise, even with an eye-grabbing palette, you are left with a weak design that does not convert. There are various aspects of billboard design that can influence the way your chosen colors work. Let’s look at them. 

1. Stay away from busy designs 

We all appreciate the beauty in simplicity. We can’t deny that especially when it comes to billboard designs! Because a cursory glance is all it gets at times. You cannot expect customers to reach long sentences. Or even fish for essential details in a maze of design elements. 

When you use bold and bright colors, simplicity might feel like a tough thing to achieve. Because each color has its personality. And when they clash, your message is lost in the process. But as we have seen, light colors do not always work in billboard designs. So, what can you do about it? Keep your color palette simple and the overall design as clean as possible. 

Billboard design by Kimp

Kimp Tip: From the alignment to the position of the imagery in your design to the use of visual weights, a lot of aspects can be manipulated. With all these little steps you are defining hierarchy. You are directing the users to the critical information. This can be a contact number, your website address, or even social media handles. 

Have a complicated color palette to work with? The Kimp team can help. 

2. Be mindful of the imagery you use 

Keeping your billboard visually engaging is important. You have probably heard that often. But what’s even more important is to make this imagery fit into the design smoothly. Whether it is a headshot or a product image, you need to choose colors that feel like an extension of this image. 

So, when you are selecting something from the trending colors of the year, remember the core image in the design. If you want the photo to blend with the background choose the dominant color in the photo as the background color. Or if you want the image to pop out, use a complementary color. 

In the below billboard design, the orange background in the text section is the perfect complementary color to go with the green-dominant landscape photo on the left. This keeps the visual weights of both these sections more or less equal. As a result, people know that the photo and the text are both important. 

Billboard design by Kimp

On the other hand, the below billboard design uses the same color as in the photo included. So the photo seamlessly blends with the background since the text takes the front seat here. This is one way in which you can use colors to define hierarchy. Or in other words, the color tells viewers what to focus on. 

Billboard design by Kimp
3. Find a purpose for the colors you choose 

Every element in your billboard design has a role to play. For optimum use of space, you might be very particular about avoiding elements that do not have a purpose in the design. That’s how you keep the design to the point. Similarly both with respect to the number of colors in the design and the choice of colors, you should define the purpose. 

Colors stop and make people take a second look. But that should not be a reason to choose many colors for your design. Two or three colors are more than enough to create a clutter-free and crisp-looking billboard that delivers the message straight. 

Here is an example to help you understand this idea better. 

Billboard design by Kimp

The purple banner for the text at the top has two roles to play:

  • The overall light color palette sets the right mood for the jewelry business advertised. But without the purple detail, the board would have looked all-white and so it might have been difficult to distinguish in the bright outdoor setting. But the light background sets the right 
  • And the purple banner pops out from the rest of the text. So, people easily remember the information it emphasizes. The direction to the store, in this case. A valuable little detail to register in the minds of your audience. 

Kimp Tip: All-white designs look sophisticated and minimalistic. But unless you have some pops of color like the detail in the above design they might not work. People might often not notice billboards with predominantly pale colors. 

Want to create billboards with such risky palettes but do not know how to make them work? Choose a Kimp Graphics subscription for creative designs like the one we just saw.  

4. Think twice before using neutrals and soft colors

We just spoke about avoiding light colors as the primary colors in billboard designs. We’ll look into this a little in detail. 

Every year, you are sure to find some soft shades in the list of trending colors. Like the calming corals and earthy neutrals, we have seen trending this year. These are beautiful colors and they have this instant soothing effect. But the problem is that they are not loud. And for a noisy space like the outdoor, you need something loud. 

The softness of the neutrals makes them suitable for other spaces like digital ads and social media posts. Why you can even use them to create beautiful flyers that talk for your brand. But for a brightly lit outdoor setting, go with something brighter and bolder. 

In the below billboard, for example, the design looks clean. But the colors are the biggest problem with it. While this design might have had a chance in the digital space, in an outdoor setup, people might fail to notice the billboard itself. This is what happens when you use pale colors for your billboard design.

So, when you are picking from the trending colors of the year, stay away from very soft and subdued colors. If you do use them, remember to use some bright attention-grabbing colors for the CTA. 

5. Play with the contrasts 

The one billboard design above is enough to delve into contrast lessons in graphic design. Without the proper use of contrast here, the impact of the brilliant copy would have been lost. Here’s what we can learn about contrast from the above example:

  • The contrast between your font color and the background color should be high. Otherwise, like the feeble grey text in the above design, your message will be lost. Though here it was intentional of course! 
  • Varying the contrast between colors you choose for the various text sections helps define focal points in the design. In the above Chipotle billboard design, the darker text has a higher visual weight than the light grey text. This clearly lets the viewer know that these are the focus words. So, even in a quick few moments, viewers will get the message. 
6. Cashing in on color psychology 

Remember we spoke about finding a purpose for each color in your design? Considering color psychology will be a good way to do that. 

There are some metaphorical color references that we all understand. For example, green might make most people think of grass or greenery in general. And blue – the sky or the ocean. By using these colors appropriately, you have a metaphorical detail in your design, without actually illustrating the said elements. 

Billboard design by Kimp

Consider the above billboard design as an example. The green here and the tennis balls are enough to remind you of a tennis court. You do not even have to read the copy to understand the idea. The moment your customers grasp the core idea, they understand if the ad is relevant to them. Establishing relevance at first glance ensures that your target customers do not miss the ad. 

So, if you are confused about the colors to choose from the color trends of the year, find ones that have such well-known associations that can be linked back to your brand. Color associations also differ based on culture. Consider all these factors before finalizing your color palette for the billboard design. 

7. Pay attention to the CTA 

In the process of picking from the trending colors and making them work with your brand colors, do not forget that your CTA is important. And this little detail should pop out from the rest of the design. As you can see in the billboard design below. 

Billboard design by Kimp

Choose the highest contrast for your CTA section. Otherwise, customers might not pay due attention to it. As a result, they will not know what you want them to do next. Without this, the conversion rates for your billboard tend to drop even if the rest of the design looks great. 

Considering how important the CTA is, choose the color for this CTA section very carefully. In billboard design, this is one place where it is better to go with tried and tested colors like orange, green, and red. Instead of colors like black and brown, even if you find them in the trending colors list for the year. 

Choose a Kimp Subscription and Simplify Billboard Design 

Billboards are productive components in marketing. But billboard design can seem overwhelming. Especially when you are trying to include color trends while also prioritizing your brand colors. But with a Kimp Graphics subscription, all your designs including print and outdoor ads will be taken care of by one team. So, you can be sure that you always have brand-relevant, consistent designs for all your marketing channels. 

Sign up for a free 7-day trial today.