10 Terrific Tips for Building Bad@ss Banners

Starting that Project Oh-So-Wonderful campaign? Advertising on a friend’s site by swapping banners? Making an ad for a cool t-shirt design? Excellent!

Just to make sure you’ve crossed your eyes and dotted your tees or something of the sort – let’s run down ten tips on making that banner make clickety-clicks for you. They are in no particular order. That’s how I roll with my banner tips.

  1. Use popular and standard size banners. You know how a lot of the cool sites you go to have those huge square banners? They’re generally around 300×250 pixels and they’re great for laying out a lot of cool information. The problem is, not a lot of comics sites are selling that size banner – so your hard work on the next nine tips won’t matter much. Popular sizes on comics pages are (all sizes are in pixels):
  • 117×30 – also known as buttons. Interesting note: non-Project Wonderful sites may use the industry standard ad size for “buttons” which is 88×31.
  • 125×125 – square. This is a good size if you can keep your information short and sweet. It’s also a popular size for animated ads, but I’d read number 8 (coming tomorrow) before you hoe that road. *Hoeing roads not a saying I use often or something I know anything about – it just seemed like if I were ever going to use that phrase in an article, that would be the spot to do it.
  • 234×60 – half banner. This is a really popular size because you can usually get them cheap based on placement (sites will typically lay two horizontally side-by-side) and in a good spot on the page. You can also fit in your URL in the design pretty easily – but that’s something for tip number 6 (coming tomorrow). Quit trying to get me to jump ahead!
  • 468×60 – full banner. This is another popular size because it’s usually not buried by other ads – horizontally. You’ll just need to worry about what’s above and below your ad – see tip number 3 for more on that! HEY!!
  • 300×250 – rectangle. Yes it is rectangular, but if a site is giving up this much real estate, you’re probably going to pay for it. Plus think of all the “comics” sites you go to – have you seen many – if any of these? Move along, nothing to see here.
  • 728×90 – leaderboard. The motherload of horizontal banners. Lots of space for your design and there’s not much else going to compete with this banner on the page. Two things to concern yourself about with a banner this size: cost and placement.
  • 160×60 – skyscraper. The vertical equivalant to the leaderboard, this banner is more popular because a lot of comics sites use a multi-column layout. This results in good placement on the page. Using a vertical layout presents challenges, including adding longer URLs, but thems the breaks! *Thems not another saying I use often – if ever – except when I’m transported back to 1990. I’m obviously using this opportunity to clear a lot out of my “article bucket list” items.

There are more sizes and if you want information about them, post your question in the comments section below.

Don't do this....

  1. Use clean/legible fonts. Distressed or other creative fonts are great design tools – but they are nightmares for reading in a tiny space. If you think someone is going to spend more than a millisecond trying to figure out what your cracked font is trying to tell them, please send me one million dollars immediately. I’ll tell you what it’s for later.
  2. Make your banner interesting. You would think this is a no brainer, but sometimes you have to take a step back, maybe even ask someone who has no idea what your goal is and ask them what they think. A lot of times we get so caught up in our own little world that we forget that the people we’re advertising to don’t know what we know so it’s important to engage them and communicate to them what exactly it is you’re telling them.
  3. Don’t use gradients. Generally, they increase the banner size and don’t add that “PIZZAZZ” to the layout. If you think it does, you’re doing it wrong. See here for an example.
  4. Add your comic’s title. Don’t think you’re being smart by trying to tempt someone to click by creating a provocative or cute image. Each banner is a branding opportunity and it also helps to start setting the expectations of your potential reader. I like to add the K.I.S.S. method here – Keep it Simple Smartypants. Got it? Cool – NEXT!

What we’ll look at tomorrow in Part 2:

  1. Should you add your URL?
  2. Invite the viewer to do something.
  3. To animating or not to animate – that’s a silly question.
  4. Make it make sense.
  5. Borders?

See you then!

Edit: You can now Read Part 2 of this article by clicking here!

Ken Drab sporting the thin faced lookKen Drab (me) has a small brain but a savant-like interest in branding, marketing and design. He better, that’s what he gets paid to do in real life. In make believe – he’s a Comic Artist.

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  1. I’m currently redesigning all of my banner art for an upcoming ad campaign and this was terrific advice. I can’t wait for part 2!

    Sidenote: I always thought the phrase was, “hard row to hoe” as one doesn’t hoe a road but rows in a garden or field.

    • Thanks Tovias – you’re probably right – and another reason I don’t use that phrase often!

      Glad you liked the article – hope you found part 2 to be as insightful!

  2. aaaahhhh I NEED PART 2 already!

    Awesome start though. I liked that linkage to the other ad doctor article with Byron’s ads for example.

  3. Pingback: Re-branding | Ley Lines

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