The Rise Of Print Design In Outdoor Advertising

by . October 9th, 2012

Advertising on outdoor billboards needs to be exciting and innovative, and adding print design to an image can be one way for a company to make sure that it stands out from the rest. Print design has featured frequently in fashion and textile advertisements, but it is now making the move into the world of outside advertising. One of the most popular trends for outdoor advertising in recent years is the print or pattern design, repeated shapes which produce an overall image. Billboards can be the ideal place to locate these prints, because large-size images can take abstract shapes well, and they can also be turned into large-scale images which really attract the attention.

One example of this is the Koleston Naturals range, which promoted their hair change products by creating a graphic image of a woman, and then cutting the hair out of the image, making it see-through. Then placed against a sky background, this allowed the colours to change from blues to reds, purples and black, demonstrating the advert and yet relying upon a very simple design.


Another creative outdoor billboard using graphic and print design was the iPod, which featured a single device against a blue background at the bottom of the advert, and the rest of the page was filled with repeating squares, piled on top of each other and each representing an album. The effect was certainly eye catching, and was achieved using only a few graphic images.

Another design which featured print as the main background was one from the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center. The main print was that of a skeleton, focusing upon the back. This image was repeated all the way to the top of the advertisement, with only a single change, that of a drawer full of knives to represent one of the vertebras. The slogan was ‘we know how you feel’. Both these designs featured print patterns heavily in the final advertisement, but for one which focused purely upon the print and made it into the advertisement.


The BMW M3 advertisement used print capital letters, halved, to read ‘Exceed Maximum’ (Maximum was written sideways) when placed against a shiny surface such as a train station floor. Walkers could read the complete sentence at twice the size of the advert itself.


Perhaps one of the strongest advertisements for the print on outdoor advertising boards was that used by Hygiene colour bleach. This company produced an advert which featured print design in the shape of a sweater, with repeated bands of colour in the form of a knitwear jumper. To the right of this advertisement, it looked as though the clothing had been stained, but this image disappeared as the viewer looked at the Hygiene brand. The phrase “Removes stains fast” also appeared on the brand button. This use of printing as the main focus of the image has been seen again and again in recent years, but this is one of the most ingenious ways of using print to convey a clear message.


About the Author

Jennifer is a guest blogger interested in writing articles about Outdoor Advertising and Marketing. She works along Picture This Advertising, a company that provides outdoor advertising solutions.