We want you to know quality advertising design when [or if] your graphic artist shows it to you.
Although we tell you about advertising design on this page, our goal is not to teach you how to be a graphic artist. [And we assume that you want to focus on your business anyway – not on becoming an advertising design expert.]
The advertising design information on this page should help you to understand more about effective communication, and how your customers interpret your ads.
Advertising Design: Attention Is Always First
This one is simple. If people don’t notice your ad, your chance of success is exactly zero. Your advertising design absolutely must get attention first.
Research indicates that 85% of ads don’t get looked at, no matter how much they cost to produce. You have to be seen if you want action. Just imagine losing 85% of your customers because your ad doesn’t stand out from the crowd. [Or think about increasing the response to your ads by SIX times because they do get noticed].
Advertising Design: Imagery
Strong imagery is the best attention getter. A picture is truly worth 1,000 words when it comes to getting attention. Ads that feature large visuals [60%-70% of the ad is the photo] score the highest for stopping power.
But you need to make sure that you get the right kind of attention. A big, beautiful, full color picture of a naked model will get you a lot of attention, but not the kind you want. Don’t let a great picture dictate your advertising design. It is critical for your imagery to match your message. Your pictures have to match your copy, and together they must convey your intended message.
This is probably the most common mistake in advertising design. The pictures don’t have much to do with the product or service, or they don’t convey the right message. If the photo sells lust or humor, and you are selling security, the mental contrast will confuse all but the most determined readers. People will pass you by because the reason they were attracted to your ad [the picture] does not match what you are selling. You have attracted the wrong attention with your advertising design.
Advertising Design: Contrast
If imagery is the first way to get attention with your advertising design, then contrast is definitely the second way. Your ad must contrast with the other ads on the page. That is why it is critical for designers to see the actual medium you will be advertising in. If your ad just blends in with everything else on the page, you are wasting your money. If your graphic designer doesn’t care where your ad appears – fire them.
Even worse than blending in, your customers might mistake your ad for your competitor’s ad. You want your advertising design to give your company a unique look that contrasts with the other ads around it.
Advertising Design: Be Different
If imagery is first, and contrast is second, then being different is the third way to get attention with your advertising design.
People are attracted to unusual, new, funny, different things. You need to push your advertising design as far away from your conservative side as your willpower will let you. It may be hard, but do not listen to that little voice in your head telling you to do a quite, calm, conservative ad. This is about results. Get a little crazy with your advertising design.
If you live in North America, then you have seen the very best advertising in the world. Americans are subject to the highest quality advertising ever created – every day. Judge your own advertising design by the absolutely brutal competition that you face. Your ads must come out on top. Professional Advertising is about getting results, and being a little different is definitely part of the formula.
How Many Customers Do You Really Need?
This question may seem odd coming from us, but we are serious. This is about maximizing your advertising dollar. Do you really need to reach everybody, or just enough people to keep your business growing stronger every year?
At advertising design agencies, it is often said that the best work ends up on the cutting room floor. Businesses often want their ads to be on the conservative side. Not too loud, not too risky. Loud, attention-getting ads are cut. But there is a trade off made with this decision.
Conservative ads don’t get attention. They are conservative. They will, in the long run, make your business look highly professional and traditional. But the conservative strategy of advertising design is about the most expensive path you can choose.
Do you really need to be thought of as conservative? Even IBM now has dress-down Fridays. Dell computer uses a loud teenage spokesperson. Merryl Lynch uses a bull in a china shop. Maybe, [maybe], if you are a bank, a hospital, a non-profit, or a funeral home, conservative advertising design is the way to go. But conservative ads don’t get attention. And you need attention.
We are not endorsing risky advertising design here. At Professional Advertising we actually like to play it on the safe side. But ask yourself, how many customers do I need? If my loud-happy-funny-sexy-strange-bright-weird shaped-purple and pink ad gets the attention of half of the people out there, maybe that’s all I need. If you leave some of the conservative people behind with your advertising design, that’s OK.
By getting attention with your advertising design, you will maximize your advertising dollar. Conservative advertising is very, very expensive. Don’t go crazy, and always keep your target market in mind, but stretch to get attention with your advertising design. S-T-R-E-T-C-H to get ATTENTION!
Advertising Design: Using Photos And Illustrations
This one is also easy. Pay for the best, most appropriate photo or illustration available. Buy it, own it, keep it, and use it forever. Maybe it costs $100, or even $300 dollars. It is absolutely worth it.
There is an endless supply of fantastic photos available to you. There is a perfect photo out there for your business. Our databases have tens of millions of super high quality photographs and illustrations. Find the right one that conveys your message, and you are half way to a highly effective ad.
Alternatively, if you use a poor photo, you have just cut the effectiveness of your advertising design in half. Remember, companies that cut corners on advertising design production are wasting a huge percentage of their advertising budget. Pay for high quality production up front, and use it forever. The cost of production is trivial in comparison to the cost of the media. Don’t waste your money by skimping on good advertising design.
And of course there is a question of photo reproduction quality in the media you choose. Every newspaper is printed on a different type of press. Every press is different, and every printer is different. It’s your designer’s job to know how to get the best quality photo reproduction from the specific press that is being used. You don’t want your photos to look like mud in the newspaper.
Advertising Design: The Psychology Of Color In Advertising
Understanding how your customers interpret color in your advertising can be very important. First, different cultures interpret colors in different ways. Yellow represents jealousy in France, sadness in Greece, happiness in the United States, and is sacred in China. The moral, of course, is know your target audience.
Red is for excitement in advertising design. It is commonly used for automobile and food advertising. Red is passion and sex, danger, velocity, and power.
Yellow is a great attention grabber in advertising design. It is sunshine, warmth, and happiness. It is the first color your eye processes.
Blue represents reliability, trust, security, and technology. This is why businesses often use blue, green, teal, or gray in their advertising. Blue is also coolness and belonging.
Black represents sophistication and strength. It is elegant and seductive. For the right product, black is a great color.
Green is a cool, fresh color. It is nature and spring.
Purple is royalty. It is dignified and refined.
Pink is soft and feminine. It is security and sweetness.
White (white) is for cleanliness and purity in advertising design. It is youthful. But that doesn’t mean it is for young people. Young people [teen and tween] prefer more trendy colors, like mauve and teal.
There is also white space to consider in advertising design. Without white space, you can’t read the text. Photos lose their impact, and the ad loses balance. White space may be the most important component of your advertising design.
Gold is expensive and high class.
Orange is playful. It is autumn leaves, warmth and vibrancy.
Silver is prestigious. It represents cold and science.
Don’t forget that every season has its’ own colors, and fashion changes [every few minutes]. If you are trying to be trendy with your advertising design, then you have to keep up with the trends.
Is all of this important? Everything in advertising design is important.
When color is used correctly, it adds impact and clarity to your message. When color is used incorrectly, it can compromise your message and confuse your target audience.
Color can draw attention, lead the eye, and add emphasis. It can be used to show continuation and relatedness, or it can differentiate. Color certainly generates emotions and associations. Color has meaning for people, and you need to make sure that your colors say the right thing to your customers. Don’t let poor advertising design destroy your marketing campaign.
Here’s a quick example. In finance, the color red means loss. In engineering, it means hot or danger. In the medical field, it means danger or emergency or health. You want to make sure that you don’t send the wrong message by using the wrong color. A high quality graphic designer will know the difference.
Advertising Design: The Elements Of Design
The elements of advertising design are the components of an advertisement that the graphic designer plans. The following list will help you to better understand what you graphic artist is talking about.
Color – Colors are considered in terms of intensity and brightness. As seen above, how color is used in your advertising design can have a big impact on how it is interpreted by your customers.
Value – Value describes the lightness or darkness of a color.
Line – A line is exactly what you think it is – a continuous mark connecting two points.
Shape – Shapes are two dimensional, or flat. A shape is height and width only in advertising design.
Form – Forms are three dimensional – height, width, and depth. You get volume and mass with form.
Texture – Texture describes the surface of an object. The artist renders the object to give an idea of how it would feel to the touch.
Space – In advertising design, space describes the distance between and around objects.
Balance – Balance describes the equality of objects in your ad. With symmetrical balance, both sides of your ad are the same. With asymmetrical balance, each side is different but equal. Radial balance means the ad is balanced around a focal point.
Contrast – Contrast describes the degree of difference between objects. It gets attention and adds excitement.
Emphasis – Emphasis and contrast are really the same thing in advertising design. The artist creates a focal or emphasis point in your ad by making it contrast with the other parts of the ad.
Proportion – Proportion describes how the individual elements of your ad relate to each other and to the entire piece.
Pattern – A pattern is exactly what you think it is – something repeated over and over again.
Rhythm – Rhythm gives your advertising design the feeling of movement or action. The artist places objects or creates patterns so that the eye follows a path. The path the eye follows in advertising is very important, because you want the reader to end up at your call for action [like at your phone number]. If the reader’s eye stops at the wrong place in the ad, your call for immediate action may be seen too soon, or not at all.
Unity – Unity describes how the whole advertisement works together as a complete unit.
Variety – Variety describes the complexity of a work. In advertising, especially direct mail, a large amount of variety keeps the reader engaged and involved with the piece. The longer the reader is engaged, the better the odds of delivering your message are. That’s why some ads are rather busy – they keep the reader involved.