Dear client, this is NOT JUST a banner

Dear Client,

Sometimes we understand business owners decisions, sometimes –I must confess- we really don’t.
Your company have an event happening in just few weeks: a showroom. You know that it will be a great opportunity for your business, hence your first reaction is to maximize your marketing.

You would have your printing materials ready: business cards, flyers, brochures … anything goes.
In Africa, companies focus a lot on street advertising, but it’s really not about billboards –just a few really available- it’s about ad banners.

When you walk down African streets you run into ads like this :

6. Outreach Banner at Entrance of Bonakanda Village

We have faith in the Almighty, no doubt about it. But we’ve lost faith in good design somehow. The thing is: good design sells ! How come businesses forgot about it? Let me tell you why: it’s just a banner!
Nothing more, nothing less. So it has to be done quickly and show as much information as possible…too much actually.

A good thing about design is its ability to get rid of the clutter and to focus on what’s important to the human’s eye. And we -Humans- have NO time, when driving/walking/answering phone calls (not while driving please), to stop by and take notes!

So, the goal of a banner is to catch the eye’s attention and hold it, lead it to the key information. It’s hard work to figure out what the key info really is/will be. You can’t downplay an ad banner because it’s the first touch point your clients will get from your company. It has to be a successful experience. First impressions…

Let me tell you a story, a client came to us for a redesign work. They had rough ideas of what they wanted, and it looked like this :

02-12-2013 00-51-10

We hid their logo and contact information, because it’s not the issue here, and we value our customers.
The challenge here is to know what key info to show. Notice that there’s no illustration whatsoever: this is another challenge.

Let me give you the context: it’s a real estate showroom invitation –our client is hosting it-, and it’s happening in the politic capital of the country, we have the date and the sponsors. No illustrations but too much information, and too much sponsors.

We came up with a solution and they liked it as much as we did:

We carefully designed the buildings –by hand-, choose the right typography, played on the contrast & the letters’ size, as we knew we would face a “space availability ” problem we just divided the canvas in 3 parts. Notice that the part about the what / when / where is bigger than the rest.

At the risk of sounding like a fortune cookie, I can’t stress enough this fact: it’s hard and huge work!
Unfortunately, we dropped this project because the client said the price was too high. They didn’t say it was too high because of the work’s quality, the craftsmanship, the expertise and time we used to solve that problem. They thought about the printing budget instead. But once the printing issue solved, the main reason was: it’s just a banner!

See, nowadays we like to put things in boxes, a business card should cost less than a banner which should cost less than a brochure –for example- which should cost less…on & on it goes. That’s not the right way to see it. As we worked on it, we thought about website ads, newsletters, invitation cards, flyer, brochures etc. : one design to rule them all.

I will conclude asking this question: What’s the price of a good design that’d help you & your business fulfill your future needs, meet your marketing goals and satisfy your future customers in the process?

Next time you push a design agency’s door please, dear client, think about it.



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