I wrote this all by myself a long time ago actually. You MAY NOT take any portion for reprint anywhere else. If you’re nice enough to ask, and if you say “please,” I may (likely) grant you permission for usage.
- #1 rule-of-thumb = you have to be SEEN. To be seen, you have to to be CLEAN.
- Clean = few typeface families (ideally only 2 kinds and plz not more than 3 unless you’re really good).
- Clean = balanced. Balanced can mean everything centered along a vertical center access; or the design can be asymmetrical yet BALANCED + eye-pleasing.
- Clean = not too many photos or graphics
- Clean = not too much information or copy; remember less = more. Scrutinize every word of copy. If you can do without, throw it out.
- Although there are always exceptions and good advertising layout can take the form of many different layouts, generally you want ONE simple headline and ONE central graphic image. Or better yet — ONE (and only ONE) main focal.
- Don’t have different elements in the ad compete with one another. Hold the HARD COPY COMP ad at arms-length and blur your vision slightly. Your logo should be obvious and one other element should also stand out (be it a photograph or headline or combination of these two.)
- Our eyes are drawn naturally toward the bottom right — where our eyes naturally want to go and the perfect spot for logo and contact info.
- Speaking of your logo, be sure to have a good 1/8” – 1/4” clearance of white space on all sides of your logo so it stands out instead of blending in with the rest of the ad content.
- Every element in the ad should have a GOOD & meaningful purpose for being there. If in doubt throw it out.
- Don’t be afraid of unconventional ad sizes. Readers are used to seeing blocks of rectangles filled with busy information and graphics and are use to skipping right over them. EX: If you run a 3 col. x 5” ad, a 1 col. x 15 will cost the same but the size will stand out regardless. Don’t forget to request outer edge positioning (& right-page preferred).
- Be consistent, Once you have determined your style / your graphic “look” — that is your logo plus your choice of typeface(s), borders, and other graphic elements (illustrations, sketches or photos) that best represent your business — stick with these decisions. By staying consistent with your graphics, and by incorporating these same design elements across the board — throughout your corporate communication — advertising, brochures, in-store POP and signage — you are crafting your IDENTITY. After time, consistent graphics will bring you better recognition will formulate your image to your publics (consumer and trade).
- Consistency does NOT mean the same look quarter after quarter; or year after year. On the contrary, if you don’t vary your design somewhat, then you risk being overlooked by regular readers who have become accustomed to your same old advertising.
- When you want to refresh your campaign but you don’t want a complete overhaul, try changing 0-3 design elements at a time but always leave 2-3 elements ulaltered. For instance, change your headline typeface and photo style — but then don’t touch your ad border, logo and contact info in this makeover.
Look at where advertising is working. Take clues from successful businesses in other industries. Observe & observe + learn + learn…