Successful and creative ad design isn’t for the weak of heart or the straight-laced. There are a countless number of variables that are taken into consideration, all of which start with a solid creative brief and understanding of your audience. Outside of your brief and your audience, we typically welcome a band of western gunslingers and cattle rustlers, sea-hungry pirates, late night disco-maniacs, commissioned surreal painters, snarky critics, and cold war assassins to the party in order to devise and formulate a festival for your senses.
Beginner, freelancer, or experienced art director, there are a few key ad design tips that everyone should follow:
Keep it Short, Sweet, and to the Point
The most effective print ads are those that reflect simplicity in a focused message; whether through images, graphics, or an unforgettable headline. Statistically the average human attention span is 12 seconds, which is less than 9 seconds of the attention span of your average goldfish. In addition, the average human reaction time to visual stimulus is .25 seconds. With statistics such as those, it is imperative that your ad layout design is both simple and memorable.
Everyone enjoys a creative metaphor. For those who don’t know what a metaphor is, it’s a figure of speech that connects two contrasting things or thoughts based on a commonality. As consumers, we gravitate towards things that we can see, touch, taste, or hear.
Through a metaphor your audience is able to easily connect with your messaging, product, and service on both a visual and psychological level, while tugging on their memory strings as well.
Call to Action for the Masses
It goes without saying that your ad should display a clear call-to-action (a.k.a. a CTA) in order to instruct your audience, mobilize a group of people, or entice them to want to belong. This can be achieved through visual repletion, body copy that reflects a sense of urgency, identifying a benefit, use of color, or by developing a minimization of risk in taking action.
“I See What You’re Saying”
Show your audience what you are talking about as opposed to relying on extensive copy. Remember time is money so keep it direct, simple, and impactful. You will want to evoke an emotion, connection, pain, benefit, or a sense of humor in your visual storytelling process.
Say it with Type
Headlines are one of the most important elements in ads, so don’t ever be afraid to use them as part of your graphic messaging – either through the use of custom or illustrated fonts. Surprises in headlines work wonders, because the human brain enjoys novelty as opposed to the expected. In addition, questions that prime our curiosity can transform into powerful brain influencers and invite users to become explorers in your brand.
Kill’em with Emotion
Ads are powered by creating both thought and emotion. However, digging into a person’s feelings over sticking with rational content tends to perform up to 31% higher verses ads that are focused on something a little more balanced and lucid.
While there are countless methods, techniques, and graphic design rules that you can apply—the opportunities for effective solutions can be never-ending and extensive. In the end, creative thinking, a handful of risk, countless cups of coffee, a reliable band of creative peers, and the successful development of a solid concept brief is imperative to your ad’s outcome.