LD Forrest Graphic Design

Client:Visit Houston

Date:2013 - Ongoing

Category:Oversize, Print Design

Beginning in 2013 I’ve been responsible for updating the billboards located inside Houston’s two international airports – William P. Hobby (HOU) and George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) airports. The boards are owned, managed and leased to advertisers by JCDecaux and Houston Airport Systems. This art acts as filler when the particular location isn’t sold to an advertiser. Between the two airports, this project consists of over 200 billboard locations that are seen by roughly 55 million travelers each year and has an estimated yearly advertisement value of over $10 million.

2016 Campaign

Since the boards can appear near several other ad locations, over a dozen variations to the art were needed.

Flexibility

The dimensions of the boards vary greatly from location to location so the art for this project needed to be flexible and compelling at a wide variety of dimensions yet able to maintain a consistent look and feel to amplify the core message.

Application

It was important to understand where each of these boards would live once installed and to be aware of sight-lines and obstructions they will commonly face so that the art could be executed to the greatest effect at each location.

2014-2015 Campaign

Although colorful, the previous year's campaign looked busy and the layout was too limiting. The text was too lengthy and the tan background often blended into the walls of the airports. The background was switched to a blue midway through the campaign, but the ads just didn't have enough presence despite their size. All of this was addressed in the much more vibrant and simpler layout of the new campaign. The shortened text with the big bold stamp really drives home the message of the 2016 campaign that Houston is the "Culinary and Cultural Capital of the South."

Backlit and Digital

Along with the printed locations, there are also several backlit locations and nearly 100 digital screen locations that are updated with a "Welcome to Houston" message greeting conventions and events.

Content and Process

Pictured is part of the original 2013 campaign with an ad from the “Houston Is…” national ad campaign. 2016 was the first year that art was created specifically for the airport that was then adapted to other print and digital ad applications. The reversal in ad development process has made rolling out and implementing the airport graphics much easier and – most importantly – more effective. The process is still a huge undertaking that takes months to design, print and install. The 2016 campaign was created and installed in several phases from December 2015 through April 2016.