All large construction projects are legally required to make use of hoarding boards to keep the public away from the hazards of the building site – but beyond their basic function as an aid to site safety, hoardings also represent a great opportunity for branding and advertising.
These large, prominent expanses of wood are a natural fit for messaging and advertising, and a construction company that fails to take advantage of the medium in this way might be missing a trick. If the boards have got to be there, why not put something on them?
However, not all forms of large printed advertisements are created equal. While some billboard advertisements turn heads, others may fail to capture the public’s attention – so what makes construction hoarding graphics succeed or fail?
In this article, we’re going to look at some ways of designing your site hoardings for maximum effectiveness – all the while complying with the rules and regulations for construction projects.
What are the rules?
As with so many decisions in the world of construction, awareness of the legal requirements has to come first. There’s plenty of room for creativity, but we must also bear these constraints in mind:
- The hoarding graphics can’t have a total area exceeding 38m².
- They can’t be installed more than 4.6m above ground level.
- It’s not allowed to have the graphics up for more than three months before the start of construction work – and they can’t be on display for more than three years in a row.
- It’s mandatory that you submit written notification to the local authority to let them know you’re planning to display hoarding advertisements, along with a detailed copy of your planning permission. This has to be done at least two weeks before you start displaying the graphics.
There are also rules for large-format public advertisements in general, which also apply to hoarding graphics:
- The ad graphics have to be kept clean, tidy, and in a safe condition.
- You have to get permission from the owner of the site to display the advertisements.
- You’re not allowed to obscure essential signage associated with road, rail, waterway or aircraft signs (or otherwise make using these forms of transport more dangerous in any way).
- You must be prepared to carefully remove the advertising graphics if asked to do so by the planning authority.
With all that said and understood… what should you put on your site hoardings?
What makes for effective hoarding graphics?
The first step in the process of designing a great advertising graphic for construction site hoardings is identify your priorities and what you hope to achieve.
Is your goal to communicate a specific message? To get passers-by to take a specific action? To raise general brand awareness of your company name and logo? To inform the public about the project being undertaken?
It’s also very important to consider the context of the installed hoardings. What kind of environment will they be seen in, and from what kinds of angles? For all types of outdoor graphics, you have to plan for the surroundings – if you intend to be noticed, it’s not a good idea to put a green and brown design next to a group of leafy trees!
Timing can also be a key factor for consideration, both in terms of daylight and the passing of seasons. If it’s important that the messaging on your hoardings remains legible in the dark, dark text on a black background may not be the way to go – and knowing whether the boards will be up over the winter or during the summer months might influence your choices for typography, imagery, and more.
Choosing the right design elements
Once you’ve decided on the ultimate goal of your hoarding advertisements, it’s time to pick the right colours and typefaces to do the job.
Colour psychology is probably too broad of a topic to be covered in this article, but in essence, the colours we see associated with a certain brand have a subconscious effect on how we feel about that business. That’s why McDonald’s uses sunny red-and-yellow colours to encourage you to feel warm and happy, and why so many technology companies use shades of blue to put you in mind of science and progress (such as Facebook, Twitter, HP, NASA, LinkedIn, and dozens of others).
By identifying the kind of ‘mood’ you would like to cultivate around your brand (trustworthiness? Sophistication? Safety? Modernity?) you can pick the right colour scheme to suggest it – and the same is true for typography.
When it comes to written messaging, the words you use are equally important to the font they’re displayed in. For example, serif fonts (like Times New Roman or Georgia) might communicate old-school reliability and traditional values, or a sans-serif font (like Arial or Futura) can suggest modern sensibilities and forward thinking.
One more key consideration when designing your hoarding graphics is readability. These site boards will likely be seen from a distance, when travelling past in a vehicle at speed, in bad weather, and more. Text that doesn’t stand out with good contrast in a clear font is likely to pass unnoticed in many scenarios.
At the same time, it’s important to remember the sensibilities of those members of the public who will be particularly affected by the construction work (nearby residents, perhaps, or people who work in the area every day). It might be tempting to make an attention-grabbing neon sign to ensure you get your point across, but it’s unlikely to go down well if the locals all consider it a giant eyesore.
Construction hoardings represent a huge opportunity for branding and advertising, and as long as the rules and regulations are followed there’s a great wealth of creative things that can be done with them.
By carefully selecting the most effective fonts, colours and other design elements, your site boards can act as giant billboards to spread almost any message you like – allowing your company to effectively develop not only the building in question, but your reputation too.
PressOn is a large format printing company based in Chatham, Kent. They help their clients in construction bring their projects to life with bespoke site hoarding graphics, building wraps, and more. To find out more, or to discuss your own project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.