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6 Tips For Creating Eye-Catching Ads

Adverts come in many shapes and sizes, but they ultimately all have the same objective – to sell a product, service or brand. Text, visuals or a combination of the two, are the essential elements of any print ad. Remember, people won’t even see your advertisement unless you can grab their attention and persuade them that they should read all you have to say.

If you don’t capture your reader with your headline and design, your advert will be ineffective and a waste of money. You either need to make your advert so brilliant that it stands out, or so simple that it grabs the readers’ eye because of its minimalism.

You can improve the effectiveness of the advertisement with just a few time-proven design strategies. Keep these six tips in mind when designing your next advert:

  1. Use white space effectively. Because newspapers and magazines are mostly text alongside crowded advertising space; large areas of white or black tend to attract the reader’s eye. White space provides visual “breathing room” for the eyes. It breaks up text and graphics. Add white space to make an advert look less cramped, confusing or overwhelming. This will make your headline stand out on the page.
  2. Choose typefaces that will reinforce your brand.(How does a font reinforce your brand – perhaps mention what the individual fonts could signify?) The font used in your advertisement strengthens the underlying brand story. Use of a font must quickly communicate your brand story to your audience, for example, a Scriptina type font will signify luxury and upmarket, while a font like Jokerman is childlike and playful, perhaps used in a nursery school . Limit your fonts to two at the most to give your advert a clean look. Make sure the chosen fonts are readable and reflect the tone of your ad, whether classic and sophisticated or funky and trendy.
  3. Short headlines in caps are better than long headlines in caps. TYPING IN ALL CAPS is considered shouting and is frowned on in most cases. It’s hard to read and ugly - just don’t do it!
  4. Keep in mind the margin sizes you have been given from the publication. If you put your text too close to the edge of the box it’s likely to get chopped off.
  5. Although it is possible to use multiple illustrations in an advert, one of the simplest and perhaps most powerful layouts is to use one strong visual combined with a strong (usually short) headline plus additional text. Too many pictures on a page make it hard for the reader to concentrate on what the advert actually says. Use images in moderation and with purpose. If you are using a photo, bleed it to the edge of the page or ad space for maximum impact.
  6. Give your logo and contact information the best placement. For advertisements, that means the bottom right corner. Placing your logo there ensures that it is the last thing that a reader sees as they scan your ad. Be sure to include your phone number and web address with your logo.

Balance in a print ad is an important element, but this doesn’t mean you necessarily have to centre everything. Try to add balance by strategically placing elements such as graphics, type and logos in such a way that your ad flows well and all the elements are evenly distributed across the space. If one side is heavy in type, place a large-scale logo or graphic on the other side.

If an ad is well-designed, it will look just as good upside down. So, turn it upside down, hold it at arm's length, and see if the arrangement looks good. Remember, less is more in advertising. Be strict on word count. Get all the important information in, but in as few words as possible. People have very short attention spans and often won’t read every word.

If you plan to outsource your design, make sure you are comfortable with your chosen designer. Remember, how happy you are with the end result; depends completely on how well you brief them. If you are not sure what you want, find a designer who is willing to work with you in developing your design, and make sure you allow time to tweak the artwork a few times.