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A few topics on the creation of an effective banner.

The main job of a banner, oddly enough, is to take the users somewhere they probably weren’t planning on going. That is, to steer them from what they are actually looking for in the site.

To that end, banners must be compelling. A successful banner explores the fact that people tend to focus on answers without really defining the questions.

The main job of a banner is to take the users somewhere they weren’t planning on going

That’s why some issues must be considered when creating banners. Three of them are essential.

Appeal. First of all, banners must be visible. They have to stand out from their surroundings.

Allure. After drawing the users’ attention, you also have to spark their interest. The message must be convincing, and the design must inspire that trust.

Recognition. Building an image is vital in distinguishing oneself from the competition and in generating reliability.

We must bring the message into the users’ cognitive model, so that they not only see the banner, but also take notice of it. Banners should be approached as a communicative tool, and not mere “little boxes” where we stack all the information we wish to convey to the users.

It is of great help to mind a few basic aspects, such as choosing the appropriate site for the placement of the banner, thus enhancing its potential within the desired target audience. Identify beforehand the environment in which the banner will be placed and make sure it will be visible in the site’s general context.

The message must be clear, short and generate an action by the user – don’t try to convey too much, make the banner and its destination page work together. Use the banner as bait to trigger the users’ curiosity.

Special effects, blinking letters and loud colors become a huge “visual noise” when ill-employed, hindering communication. Those elements often thin out the message, detaching us from it.

However, in visual communications, content is never dissociated from form. They are basic, intrinsic components. As we have a good idea, we are able to control only three of the existing elements in the visual communication process: design, content and form. In order to make it a really good idea, we must rely on a fourth element: the audience.

Perception – or the ability to organize the visual information detected – depends on natural processes, on the needs and propensities of the human nervous system.

Understanding how our audience manages such perception is ultimately the key element in creating a thoroughly effective banner.