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Banner visibility - getting your message across

Banner visibility - getting your message across

Posted by Joanne Serellis on 28th Apr 2014

If you are investing a substantial amount of money buying banners for your business, it can be tempting to try and get as much out of them as possible by packing them full of information. In most circumstances, however, potential customers are not going to be able to read small letters and consequently are unlikely to bother with passages of text. To get your message across effectively banners need to display small, clearly presented sections of text and simple logos or images. This article details some of the things you need to consider when developing your design.

Text size

The first thing to consider is from how far away you want your banner to be visible. Is it going to be seen only from close up by people walking through busy aisles at a trade show, or are you designing an outdoor banner that you want people to notice from far down the street? The general rule is that a one-inch high letter can be read from 20 feet away, but only really stands out from five feet away. A four-inch high letter can be read from 150 feet away and stands out at a distance of 40 feet. Of course, not everyone has equally good vision and corrective lenses cannot fix all eyesight issues, so you will need to use some common sense about this. For example, if you are targeting a senior age group you might want to give the use of larger letters a higher priority.

Text clarity

In addition to being visible, the letters on your banner must be legible, so it is advisable to select a bold, unfussy font. It also means using simple language, favouring shorter words and avoiding words that can be easily confused. As a rule, you should aim to have no more than 14 words on a banner, with no more than nine in any one block (eg, text above or below an image). Not only are excess words unlikely to be read, they can actually put people off considering the banner at all. Remember, its main purpose is to draw people in, after that you can get your message across directly.


Using high contrast colour combinations, such as red and white or blue and yellow, is a good way to give your banner extra impact, but it can also make it seem too loud and pushy for some potential customers’ tastes. Contrast is most effective when used sparingly, for instance in a simple headline at the top of the banner or in a prominently placed logo.


All of these design elements need to be considered in light of the positioning of the banner. For instance, at a crowded expo, you will want to concentrate important information at the top of your banner, because people will often be unable to see the bottom at all. When it comes to outdoor banners, sunlight can present a challenge to legibility, so you will need to work out which parts of the banner catch the sun most at busy times and try to work around this. Careful thought about positioning means you will avoid wasting effort and missing out on sales opportunities.

Written by Joanne Serellis