Dr. Banner – the Banner Doctor

Ken Drab poses for a photo with the Hulk

Yes it's blurry, the danged Hulk is standing over me...

Banners. As webcomickers, we need them to help promote our comics. As webcomic readers, we hate them. As a designer, some make me cry.

The reason we hate them isn’t because they are usually in the way, it’s just that they’re annoying, ugly or both. Personally I sometimes think they’re like this little person who is jumping up and down waving their arms just to get my attention, then when I do look their way – they say something that I don’t understand or that I’m not interested in. Phoooey.

Not all banners are bothersome. In fact many, even if they are well designed, don’t get clicked or noticed at all.

According to Google, one in three users click on display ads. One in five make related searches for brand. One in three users visit a brand site. Still with me? Let me put that into webcomic terms. Not all banner impressions get clicks. Actually very few do. If you advertise through Project Wonderful or some other platform, you’re likely to already know that.

What you may not know is that you could be doing it wrong. It isn’t enough to slap your characters, logo and website on a banner. Do you consider the sizes you’re going to use? What about colors?

I’m going to break out some knowledge that advertisers pay tens of dollars for and you’re going to get it for free. That’s right you. So if you could kindly remove your finger from your nostril, I will share it with you.

There are three words that you need to guide you towards more effective banners. They are: Clear, Concise and Engaging.

Let’s take a quick look at these (I’ll give real world examples and take requests in future articles).


If your banner isn’t clear – and that means legible text, non-blurry images and easy to understand – you might be better served to save your money.


You have limited space – get right to the point. What’s the best thing you could say about your comic? Make it short and sweet.


Make me want to click your banner. A great marketing idiom is to use the acronym WIIFM or “What’s In It For Me”? If you can’t answer that, then you’re likely to struggle.

Okay, so there you have it. I’ve emptied out my tiny brain and left it for you to marinate until the next article. But I’m not just going to sit here and preach to you – we’re going to take real world looks at suggestions I make to webcomickers like yourself. We’ll start next time with 1977thecomic’s Byron Wilkins* (also a Webcomic Alliance founding member).

* Byron’s banners did not make me cry.

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