4 Things To Consider When Planning Your Hoarding Graphics

July 12, 2019
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Construction hoardings might be a legal requirement, but that doesn’t mean they have to be ugly or boring. In fact, by decorating these boards with high-quality printed graphics, they can become powerful advertising, messaging or branding assets. 

Prior to getting the graphics done, however, there are a few things to consider to ensure you get the most from your site hoardings. In this post, we will cover areas such as choosing a print provider, some of the choices you can make in the deployment of the graphics and some thoughts on what makes a good hoarding design.

Let’s get started…

1. Finding a print provider

In order to get your graphics printed and installed you’ll need to enlist the services of a large-format printing company - and if you can find one that specialises in hoarding graphics, so much the better. 

Hoarding graphics projects can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and it’s a good idea to select a supplier with a lot of experience. It can be advisable to look at some examples of work they have completed before and to take a close look at the quality of their output - are the colours right? Is the registration correct, and are there any blemishes?

Depending on the printing equipment they may have available - and perhaps their workload! - different print service providers can have different turnaround times, so it may be worth checking to see if they might be able to give an estimate of how long the project is likely to take. 

In general, the earlier you can get in touch with a printer, the better - they will be able to give you advice on the things they can offer you, the file formats they need to work with and how you should prepare and deliver the artwork for the best results. 

A good print provider will check proofs with you and work to make sure that everything is exactly the way you would like it - with your vision ultimately reproduced on the boards as faithfully as possible. 

If you have any questions about the printing process, you should always turn to your printer for help and advice.

2. Planning permission 

In general, you don’t need planning permission for hoarding graphics in the UK as long as these criteria 

(from the 2012 Town and Country Planning Regulations) are fulfilled:

  • The graphics shouldn’t be on display for more than three months prior to the start of the construction project

  • The hoarding graphics must cover an area of no more than 38m²

  • The graphics shouldn’t be placed more than 4.6 metres above ground level

  • You shouldn’t display the graphics for more than three years in a row

  • You have to send written notification to the local authority - including a detailed copy of the building site’s planning permission - at least fourteen days before you intend to start displaying the graphics

However, if you do find that planning permission will be required for your hoarding graphics, you will need to get in touch with the relevant local County Council, District Council or Borough Council (if the site is in London) to submit a proposal.

3. Materials and finish

As with any printing project, there are a variety of substrates that may be used to produce your hoarding graphics to give a different finish. It’s also possible to commission an illuminated advertisement incorporating LED lighting to help your logo shine out like a beacon at all hours of the day and night.

Additionally, you may like to consider whether you might have a need for anti-graffiti laminate, which will allow you to wash your boards down with warm water to remove unwanted ‘artistic’ contributions without needing to use harsh chemicals that might otherwise damage your print.

You may decide that graffiti is not a concern based on your location, but it’s hard to convey a professional appearance when your hoardings are covered with unsightly scribbles and airbrushed ‘tags’ - so it’s definitely worth considering.

4. Getting the design right

Deciding who will do the printing - and how - is only part of the process of planning graphics for construction hoardings, because you also need to decide what to put on the boards. 

Many forms of outdoor advertising, including billboards, are often thought to be better suited as media for ‘secondary advertising’ - that is, not directly concerned with trying to influence specific consumer behaviour with calls to action but intended more to promote general brand awareness and association.

One of the most important aspects of designing for any type of large outdoor graphic is to keep visual clutter to a minimum and to include only the most essential elements. After all, viewers might encounter your design when approaching from an unusual angle, from a distance or under various states of illumination. 

In general, your hoarding advertisement is likely to have the viewer’s attention for only a few short seconds, and by making sure the concept has been boiled down to its essence you can make the most of that window and communicate your idea with maximum effectiveness. 

Large typography and bold colours are a good way to make the hoarding graphics more readable from a distance, as well as utilising empty space to keep each element distinct and clear. 

It also pays to consider the surrounding environment when working on your graphics - will the design work in context when seen at the site? Do you want it to blend in, or stand out? Sometimes, hoarding graphics can be used to ‘disguise’ a construction site and make it seem unobtrusive - at other times, they might be a colourful and eye-grabbing advertising canvas. 

Ultimately, well-designed hoarding graphics can be a very good investment - seizing the opportunity represented by the otherwise plain and unmarked timber boards surrounding your construction site.

By collaborating with an experienced print service provider, picking the right materials and delivering a great design for the boards, your hoardings can be put to work as a powerful advertisement for you - sharing your message to potentially hundreds of passers-by every day. 

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