Over at Devlounge, Thord Hedengren wrote up a piece to help designers face up to the reality of ads that will inevitably appear on the sites that they design (much as they may not like it!) and to help them plan in advance for this by getting the right ad formats in at the start, before the clients mess it all up!
Designers generally hate ads on the sites they design, most often because they either look like crap, or mess up the design. One way to minimize the damage is of course to get the ad spots in the design right away, instead of forcing them in and breaking the flow and feel at a later date. That is pretty common when doing design work for clients, since the client rarely wants to pay you to update the design to fit a few more ad spots, or might not even see the issue they are causing with the overall look and feel.
Let’s face it, ads are here to stay, so make sure you get them into the design at an early stage, and if you’re starting a new site yourself, make sure you choose the right ad formats. And by format I mean size, as in width*height, not file format.
This is the designer’s list of ad formats, complete with dummy ads in the right sizes to easily include in your mockups and designs. They are free to use, of course, and you can put them in the designs you send to a client and everything. We do ask, however, that if you would like to share them with your readers, friends, or whatever, just refer them back here, OK? Thanks!
Common Ad Formats
The most common ad formats are usually available in ad networks, affiliate programs and such. Some ads are more common for particular niches, big shot media agencies likes the leaderboard, the slightly wider skyscraper, and the larger rectangles, for instance, while blogs prefer buttons and stuff that fit the sidebar.
* Leaderboard 728×90 pixels the new banner
* Banner 468×60 pixels the classic banner
* Half banner 234×60 pixels
* Button 125×125 pixels the blog ad format
* Button 120×60 pixels the classic button
* Small button 88×31 pixels
* Skyscraper 160×600 pixels the new billboard
* Skyscraper 120×600 pixels
* Square 250×250 pixels great for blog sidebars
* Rectangle 300×250 pixels
* Low rectangle 250×120 pixels
* Large rectangle 336×280 pixels
Not So Common Ad Formats
There are quite a few ad formats used out there, or on the rise, so you might want to consider them if they fit your design better. These ad formats aren’t always available from ad networks and such, so unless you sell your ads yourself you should probably stay clear of them.
* Large leaderboard 728×210 pixels
* Large leaderboard 720×300 pixels
* Button 120×90 pixels
* Button 120×30 pixels
* Button 100×60 pixels
* Small skyscraper 120×240 pixels
* Wide skyscraper 240×400 pixels
* Small square 200×200 pixels
* Very small square 100×100 pixels
* Small rectangle 180×250 pixels
* Low rectangle 300×100 pixels
* Half page 300×600 pixels
What About the File Format Then?
It’s easy really. Anything that works is OK, as long as it fits in the ad spot’s place, and won’t break your site. GIF and JPG images are the most common, with rich text media ads (meaning HTML and scripts) as another option. The latter is usually displayed in an iframe. You can also have Flash ads, but not everybody have Flash installed, so this might not be for you. Also, I advice you to avoid PNG for now, the support is just not all there yet.
This is now a useful part of the “extras” category at Devlounge, which also features WordPress Plugins, WordPress Themes (including Devlounge’s own releases: Iceburgg, Lounge 2, Particles, Prebuilt and Wave), the Clearmint for Mint skin for the Mint stat service, the Fivesum desktop background and the Rockarolla Podcast Jingle set of audio files for use in podcasts.
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