An effective ad is an essential element of any successful marketing campaign. It is a visual introduction to a company and the product or services offered. It also provides potential customers with important information, such as the benefits of a product or service and contact information.
There is no magical formula for combining illustrations, photos, colours, typefaces, and other graphic elements to create ads with incredible pulling power. In practice, design has a minor effect on sales compared with: the needs of consumers; the nature of the product, its benefits, features, function, and appearance; the price of the product; the persuasiveness of the ad’s message; the seller’s reputation; and the availability of the product. In other words, usually words, not pictures, are the great communicators.
However, a well thought-out ad design and layout can make your ideas zoom out of the page, have a major effect on how easily and effectively your message is communicated, and subtly encourage your reader to take action and buy.
To put it differently, although ad content more often influences the outcome of a consumer’s decision, it is more often ad design which invites them to consider it in the first place.
Advertising Trends magazine suggested the following tips, among others, in an article titled, “Tips for Successful Print Ad Designing.”
- Do not place a period at the end of a headline. Periods tend to indicate to readers that there is no need to read on.
- Begin headlines at top left. Studies have shown that the reader’s eye naturally falls to the upper left corner.
- “Serif” typefaces are regarded as the most legible font; nearly every newspaper in the world uses them due to their high readability. Readers are comfortable with them.
- Avoid color headlines; researchers have noted that readers find colored headlines distracting. Studies have also shown that the darker the color, the greater the comprehension.
- Keep the text black if possible. Black text on a tinted background also increases comprehension. It is easier on the readers’ eyes than the black and white contrast.
- Avoid reverse print (e.g., white text on black background).
- Keep your layout clean, including using consistent type styles.
- A traditional ad layout is: photo/illustration over headline over body copy. This is not etched in stone, but it has been proven effective.
Remember that for every advertising rule, there is an exception that is just as effective. But the one rule never to be broken is that you can never run an effective ad too many times.