Just to round the thread off in terms of interest ... some of the IAB 'Rising Stars' formats look to be coming into place soon as part of the 'standard' IAB formats package, which means this is an important future development for publishers, one that will be fully in place by the end of 2011.
The video in the IAB link is excellent in explaining and showing off these new formats and how the top ad execs and designers are anxious to start using them.
Rising Stars ad units were selected by a cross-disciplinary group that included agency creative directors, media executives, publishers and ad operations specialists, who judged the ad formats for their potential to drive brand equity at scale.
These new ad units were chosen from a pool of 36 innovative submissions by more than two dozen companies (not all will make it into the final set of 'standard IAB formats', some over the next 90 days will be tested then dropped). The six brand-friendly IAB ad units are :
Billboard Developed by Google/YouTube
Filmstrip Developed by Microsoft
Portrait Developed by AOL
Pushdown Developed by Pictela
Sidekick Developed by Unicast
Slider Developed by Genex,built by MediaMind and Unicast
This, alongside the google video, has made my site redesign finalised in terms of size for content and ad space. I know a lot of people run a 960px wide website (for very good reasons) but I always ran a 970px wide site, so it has been easy this past week to move up to a 970px wide content area with a neat 10px border making the site 980px wide in total (I also made the navigation points wider for easier touch screen navigation as well as the traditional mouse).
If you can run a 970px wide ad across the top in a leaderboard position (which also doubles up as space for 'centred' 728px wide ads) and have an ad space in your sidebar which can run a 300px by 600px advert (which also doubles up as space for the 300x250 ads - collapse the space down or expand it as required) you will be future proofed for the next three to five years, especially with the main 'Rising Star' advert sizes and formats. (FYI my sidebar is actually 336px wide so it covers every regular ad format request, but I am already seeing the 300x600 size becoming very popular).
Not everyone of the six sizes will make it into the final 'standards' IAB package but I can see the 'Billboard' (970x250/90) and the 'Film strip' (300x600 'visible') being very popular within google and with direct advertisers in particular and becoming standard. But the 'Sidekick' and 'Slider' is probably only going to be used on high end publishing sites, or dropped from the IAB 'standard' set of formats.
In terms of website design I think the future for top advertisers and agencies who want to advertise on sites is having plenty of white space to let the excellent content breath (content is king), advert areas outside of the main published/post content area so there is a deliberate choice of the user clicking on them, and more engaging adverts, of a larger design, but far fewer on the page, (I am running only two ad spots per page with a choice of 4 different spots to pick from) with a far higher CTR ...
Ads on mobile devices, (excluding tablets) and site design for mobile devices, is a whole other kettle of fish ...
Of course the new ad sizes may well fill you with horror and you have recoiled at the thought of any redesign changes, YMMV ...