May 01, 2012

Source: Brett L.

Rick Byrne has designed and art directed more banner ads than anyone we can think of—quite literally thousands of them. As Senior Art Director heading up a creative team at CBS Interactive, he’s skilled in dealing with extremely short deadlines and larger-than-life personalities. (Hey, would you want to mess up Charlie Sheen's banner?)

So when a guy like Rick offers some sage advice about designing banners, we figure it’s a good idea to listen.

Considering you only have a second (or nanosecond) to catch a user’s attention when they land on a page, perfecting the creation of eye-catching banners is a fairly wise investment, wouldn’t you say?

In his recent blog post, “Designing Banner Ads 101”, Rick covers the broader as well as finer points of creating what he refers to as “the holy trinity of banner ads”:

It’s a great, well-thought out post. Some of the more essential takeaways:

  • Banners need to mimic the pages they point to
  • Leaderboards should always be headline-focused
  • Squint at your ad - if there’s no obvious focal point, it’s unlikely to work
  • Key information should be above the “fold” for skyscrapers

At the bottom of the post he shares a nice list of suggestions for copy, CTAs, and buttons for banners. Perfect for printing and sticking up in a cube somewhere.

Rick admits that he’s only covering some, not all the banner ad types out there, and many changes are on the way. For a full list of newer units, he suggests heading over to IAB’s page to check out more Display Advertising Guidelines.

Any other thoughts to share about creating a stellar banner?

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