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Banner Design Tips

General Tips

There is no magic banner style that works for everyone. It's up to you to find a banner that works for your site. Here are some basic tips to keep in mind while you experiment with different banner ideas. But don't implement all of them at once. Such overkill will create one very annoying banner.

Do's

To see some examples, take a look at our Top Ten List of banners. You may imitate them, but don't copy anything without the author's prior permission.

Originality - Think of a banners as a work of art. Try something original or off-the-wall. People tend to notice banners that are unique.

Colors - Use bright and contrasting colors such as yellow-black, red-blue, or light-dark. Stay with the primary and web-safe colors.

Simple Text - Don't cloud your banner with cryptic text. Simple phrases are always more effective. A good banner usually has 6 words in each frame.

Curiosity & Humor - Try making people curious about the site behind the banner. Ask a question or tell a riddle in your banner.

Graphics - Most web pages contain more text than graphics, so graphics on your banner will make it stand out. Whenever you can, express your ideas with graphics.

Animation - Like it or not, animation is eye-catching. Moderate usage often attracts positive attention to your banner. Moderation is the key word here.

Interface Facade - Emulate a system panel with a light gray background and buttons. It catches attention. Currently this is very popular and successful.

"FREE" - The word "FREE" on your banner can increase click-thrus. But it is most effective when you have a software- or hardware-related site, and least effective if you are simply offering free travel or money (because it'll appear to be a scam).

"Click Here" - Works like "FREE" but with a broader appeal. You may also try "Click Now!" Don't overdo it though. Make it simple and elegant.

Don'ts

Scaled Image - Don't use a graphics program to automatically scale your banner to different sizes unless the program has specialized algorithms to do so. Otherwise, smooth edges could become jagged, causing your banner to look unprofessional.

Small Font - Don't use plain ten- or 12-point fonts. Make your text stand out with color, style, and size. Emphasize keywords with animation if possible.

Lack of Focus - Focus on just one topic for each banner, as opposed to many different ideas and messages, which would only clutter and confound the banner. Most banners should tell the viewer what the site offers and why they should visit.

Pressure - Urgent sales messages such as "Limited Time Only" or "Hurry" don't work well in banners because they echo too much of the used-car salesman tactics. People in general don't like to be pressured and the Internet is no exception.

Words Jungle - Make the text in your banners clear and concise. Remember, simplicity is golden.

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