Principles of ad design

There are a few basic principles or guidelines to follow when designing your ad or creating an ad brief for your graphic designer. If you adhere to these basics you will usually achieve a solid outcome in terms of your ad’s effectiveness.

  • Grab your reader’s attention!  A suitably arresting image or illustration which has some connection to the advertised product or service. It can be one of beauty, or sensation, or something else, which engenders a visceral response. Makes the reader feel or think something!

  • Do not crowd the space!  Whether your ad is a full page or something smaller, resist the temptation to include everything you know about your product or service. It is like meeting someone on a first date, do not compress your entire life into a short conversation, as you will most likely scare them off. Similarly readers will skip your ad if they see it is too dense and looks like too much work to bother reading.

  • Decide on a hierarchy of importance for your textual information/copy.  This means is your tag or sell line more important than your brand or company name? When designing your ad, you need to have clearly decided on your marketing strategy in terms of how you are selling through this ad. Then you know what to accentuate and what to keep to a minimum.

  • Include the essential!  Your ad is a portal to your business, product outlet, and or website. You are reaching the market that this publication services and you are attempting to bring back some of these readers, so make sure that you have clearly listed the necessary contact details and or stockists. Don’t ever waste money on ads or signage, that do not serve this purpose.

  • A picture tells a thousand stories!  Images of faces, especially convey so much unspoken information in the most concise manner. Smiling happy faces related to your product or service or brand deliver the intangibles in spades. Images per se are always more powerful than copy, of course a judicious combination of the two is always optimal in successful advertising.

  • Avoid too many boxes.  Boxing things, surrounding everything with boxes – images and copy – creates hard separations within your overall message and detracts from your ads appeal in the reader’s eye. Too many categories in the same ad are tiring for the reader.

  • Avoid dark colours unless contrasted by appealing images or colourful fonts.  As a general rule light background colours are more appealing to readers and give the impression of spaciousness.

  • We read left to right.  Remember when laying-out copy and images that our brains are trained to process information by reading from the left hand side to the right hand side. So we finish on the right hand side and this is where your lasting impression should be placed, like the sweet after-taste of dessert after a meal at a restaurant.

  •  Design is about symmetry!  As human beings we find things that are balanced equally on both sides to be beautiful, like faces with two eyes, two nostrils and two ears etc. Asymmetrical designs we find more challenging and less appealing, so when laying-out copy and images within your ad bear this in mind.

  • Check the details and spelling!  Sounds obvious but you would be surprised. People are critical and love to find fault with things, don’t let your ad be a focus for this inclination, as your product, service or brand will be negatively associated with errors.

For an ad that ticks all these boxes call designSauce 07 5499 9280 or email us

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