Designing Ads?

If I don’t have any graphic design skills, what would be the best way to create the ads? Outsource them to a graphic design company or just learn photoshop on my own? For those who do it on their own, what programs do you prefer and which are the easiest to learn for a newbie?


For the final version, definitely use Formetco, Lindmark, or another vinyl printer’s graphic designer who understands how to make a great looking design, and designs and prints vinyls for a full-time job. They cost about $100, and are well worth the money.

Of course, you can’t afford to spend $100 every time you do a rough layout, so I would definitely buy and learn a software program that allows you to do much more basic designs to get the ball rolling with the client. We used to use Adobe. I’m sure you can research many different options over the internet, and choose one based on your basic computer savy. Another option is to find a college kid who’s getting a degree in graphic design, and paying them a small amount for each design that they do for you. They can use them in their portfolio, and you can get good qualilty really cheap. If you can find the right kid, that can be a very beneficial relationship, as they will be much faster – and better – than you are.

Thanks Frank!

Learning Photoshop is a very difficult process that can take months if not years to learn plus it is very expensive. Anyone can learn to use graphic design programs, if they put a lot of time into it but not everyone can be taught to be creative and how to catch the attention of passing cars. The billboard industry is different than most industries because of the lack of visibility and the limited time of exposure yet most graphic designers don’t understand the difference between billboard ads and newspaper ads and design them the same which is a huge mistake.

I agree with Frank that you should use someone who knows the industry and does this for a living. Formetco is a great company and they have great vinyls. I’ve never used their design services since I am a billboard graphic designer and have been since 1999. I know what works and what doesn’t. If you are still looking for someone to do artwork, I would love to talk to you about designing your billboards. I know that each job is different and some jobs take longer than others and will price accordingly (My rates start at $25.00 for very simple design work. which you can always charge your clients for as part of their production rates.)

Please check out my website to see some of my work and let me know if you have any questions about design. I’d be happy to help you.


One of my foavorite sales tools is to start sketching rough ideas with the client. We can talk about basic tenants of good billboard art while they are sketching. If you can get a client to pick up crayons with you, the odds of closing a LONG term contract go up in magnatudes.

Next, I take the ‘ideas session’ sketches to someone that can do real good design. Ron Gorman
and Jean Meyer-Fero
both do good work. They each have 20-30 years of experiance in the industry.

Merry Christmas.

this is years old. Im guessing you have since resolved this problem? Do you still need a graphic designer?