6 Design Rules for Creating Effective Banner Ads

Written by
Aug 12,2019

Banner ads are advertisements displayed on a web page. When users click on them, they are taken to the corresponding landing page. Every company uses banner ads because they are measurable and a cost-effective medium to increase brand awareness.

These banner ad designs are created in a way to promote businesses and get visitors to go to their site. A well-thought and attractive banner ad design is important for a successful banner ad campaign. Getting the design right, however, can be difficult.

Across all ad formats and placements display ad CTR is just 0.05%. This shows the importance of having an effective design for your banner ads to attract traffic. You have to make sure people click when they see your ads. Great display ads are all about visuals. 59% of consumers would engage with content that’s well-designed and attractive. The design has a great impact on first impressions and the way consumers perceive your brand. Not every businessman that runs banner ad campaigns is a design expert. By utilizing a few tips, you can create simple and effective banner ads.

  1. Banner size:

    There are many banner sizes that you come across when you are browsing the internet. However, there are some banner sizes that are considered more effective than others for ads. They are of standard sizes and are the most available positions on websites and blogs.

    As per Google Adsense, the most successful standard banner sizes are given below. New to Google AdSense? Find out how to make money with AdSense ads with MonetizeMore's Ultimate AdSense guide here.

    Medium rectangle

    300x250 – Medium rectangle

    Large rectangle

    336x280 – Large rectangle


    728x90 – Leaderboard

    Half page

    300x600 – Half page

    Large mobile banner

    320x100 – Large mobile banner

    If you are starting with banner ads, it would be wise to focus on these five standard sizes, as they’ll cover your advertising needs.

    Also, it is crucial to keep an eye on the file size of your banner ad so that it is not too heavy to affect its performance. The aim is to make the banners load as fast as possible on the website/blog for people to see them as soon as they visit the web page. So keeping your ad banner of not more than 150 KB is recommended by Google.

  2. Images:

    People process images way faster than words. In fact, the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text. If you choose generic and boring images in your ads, site visitors will surely move away to another site. Images should be attractive enough to entice potential customers to view the ad’s message. So it is vital to choose an image that strikes a chord with your target audience.

    Use custom images to spark the interest of the viewers. Also, remember that your image shouldn’t only capture the attention of the viewers but also impart the message of the ad. You can filter your image to make it more eye-catching to stand out.

    For many banner ads, it is possible to know the location of the viewers. You can target specific ads to specific locations and design images accordingly.

    You can even buy a license for stock photos. There are many high-quality images available there. But better is to use custom graphics created by designers. Below is the creative imagery used by Adobe in their banner ads.

    Banner Ads Example

  3. Colors:

    In banner ad design, color is very important to grab the attention of the viewers and evoke emotions. People always associate colors with a brand. Example when you think of the Coca-Cola brand, red color comes into your mind. The psychology behind colors is vital to pay attention to in designing banner ads.

    Depending on the gender, too, you have to decide which color palette to use.

    How color can effect emotion


    How color can effect emotion

    Based on whom your campaign is aimed at, you may use different colors. Also, colors are subjective and have various associations. So it is crucial to study your target audience when you choose your color selection.

    Use colors in your display ads that can instill trust in your brand. The most important question to ask before choosing a color palette is what people’s expectations from your brand are? Normally, your color palette should be minimal. You should select majorly two or three main colors to use in the ads. If there will be more colors, viewers won’t be able to focus on what is important. Using contrasting colors can make some parts of the image stand out.

    It is a difficult decision to choose the color combination, which depends largely on your brand, target audience, and the type of ad you want to display.

    Therefore, choosing colors wisely is important, considering the impact they will have on your audience and what type of emotions you want to evoke. It is important to note that you should use colors that match your logo, website, or other marketing collaterals to maintain consistency.
  4. Typography:

    Having clear and legible typography is vital for the success of your banner ads. It doesn’t matter how your visuals are until your audience can’t read or understand your message. One of the best examples of the perfect combination of visuals and typography is of Fanta.

    cool banner ads example

    You shouldn’t use different fonts in your banner ads. If you do this, your viewers will not be able to focus. Make the fonts of your banner simple, concise, and clear so that viewers who see are able to interpret the message.

    It is equally crucial to understand the psychology of fonts before using them in your banner ads.

    The headline of the ad should be bold. It should be in different font size and color than other text. Your running text should be smaller than the heading. If you have used a serif or script font for the heading, choose a sans-serif font for the secondary text. Avoid using cursive fonts that are hard to read.

    Properly balance the photos, text, and background, so that your message has enough white space for the fonts to stand out and be read.
  5. Call-to-action (CTA):

    It is important to include a strong call-to-action in your banner ad design, instructing the viewers to act in a certain way. There should be an eye-catching button for the call-to-action.

    creative marketing ideas

    The best way to ensure that your call-to-action stands out when designing banner ads is to use it only once for its visibility. If your call-to-action isn’t visible all the times, your viewers will be confused, and they won’t be able to click on the button to get redirected towards the landing page.

    It is vital to be direct with the call-to-action button to have your message align properly with the rest of the ad’s text. Keep your call-to-action like Sign up, Buy now, Subscribe, etc. Keep the CTA as rectangular, maybe having rounded edges, if you want to. Neither make it too small nor too big compared to the other part of the ad.

    As per research, by optimizing landing page CTA, there was a 245% increase in leads. Therefore, your CTA should be visually distinct from the rest of the text. The fonts used in the call-to-action should be easily readable. Otherwise, it may be ignored by the viewers. An opposite-color CTA is the easiest way to attract the attention of viewers and make it simple for them to figure out where to click.

    Try to create a sense of urgency with your call-to-action by using words like Today, Now, etc. Instead of using “Sign up,” you can even use terms like “Sign me up.” Usually the pronouns You and Me can attract the attention of viewers easily.

    By having a clear and bold CTA, you can increase your click-through rate.
  6. Simplicity:

    You have to keep your banner ad design simple. You can’t fit your entire story in a small space. Keep your banner ads compelling, concise, and clear as per Google.

    You need to keep your message brief and display a clear call-to-action that can grab people’s attention. You can showcase your product and keep your banner ad minimal. Use a high-resolution image that doesn’t cover your message or CTA. Another way to incorporate simplicity is to keep the design of the entire campaign seamless. After clicking on the display ad, the landing page should have the same type of image, color, and typography to avoid confusion and lead to better user experience. A better UX design results in an increase in conversion rates up to 400%.

    Visitors will have a look at your ad for just a few seconds, and you will have to convey your message within those seconds. This makes it essential for keeping your banner ads simple and easy to understand. Instead of having a lot of text, it is better to have attractive graphics putting across your message clearly. 31 percent of online ads go unseen by consumers, making it crucial to keep the ad simple and clean. See the below banner ad by Microsoft:

    Banner Ads

    When there’s a banner ad that is packed with a lot of information, images, and other elements, it becomes impossible to focus on one element. You have to make an impact instantly on your target audience. This can be done only when there are less colors, typography, and other elements that distract the audience.

Concluding lines

If you design banner ads keeping the above points in mind, you have a better chance of using display advertising as an effective marketing tool, especially in the initial phase of your marketing funnel.

The main challenge of banner ad design is to blend creativity with your marketing message in an effective way to bring in targeted traffic and leads. Despite having similar products or services, banner ads can make quite a difference in making brands successful.

If you aren’t a professional designer, consider hiring talented designers from ProDesigns for high-performing and clickable banner ad design for your brand. Get in touch with us through hello@prodesigns.com to get more details about our high-quality banner ad design services!

Nidhi Dave

Nidhi is working as a content and brand strategist at ProDesigns - a graphic design company, recommending strategies to meet customers’ goals and deliver a superior user experience. She provides content leadership, ensuring that a consistent brand message is delivered to the audience.