10 Principles of Effective Advertising

by Matt on December 7, 2008 · 79 comments

in Graphic Design Tips,How-To

I would like to start by thanking my new sponsor, FoxyCart.

Design is what powers advertising, and it is becoming more and more crucial for a company to have an effective advertising campaign. The purpose of an ad campaign is to bring in new clients, buyers, users, and customers. That can be hard, especially today when people are going to be more careful with what they are buying. That is why it is important for an ad to be effective. Here are 10 principles of what an effective ad consists of. Keep in mind that there are many different types of advertisements, and not all of these tips apply to every ad.

1. Grab People

A good advertisement must grab people almost immediately. It is very important that your ad can be able to grab someone who glances for just a second. Force people to take a second glance instead of simply moving on.

This is an excellent ad that will make almost anyone look at it. You’d think having a huge ad would be an advantage, but some companies don’t use size like this ad does.

2. Be Clever and Creative

I know you probably hear this everywhere, but it is very true. It is very important to be clever in an ad campaign. It attracts people and represents the brand in a positive way. Think about it. If you see an extremely smart ad, you probably want to learn more. A clever ad represents a clever company.

3. Speak Loudly

The louder you talk, the more people hear you, right? Well, the same concept applies to advertising. You want your ad to say something, and you want it to be heard. A “loud” advertisement isn’t just a big one, though. It can be achieved in many ways.

It doesn’t get much louder than this, but keep in mind that louder doesn’t mean big.

4. Don’t Make Them Think (Too Much)

One of the common guidelines, especially in web design, is not to make people think. You need to get the message across in a clever way, but it shouldn’t make people think too much. A person should know what the ad is saying as soon as they look at it.

Here is an example of a clever ad that doesn’t make you think too much.

5. Colors That Pop But Make Sense

Depending on the ad, you usually want your colors to pop. Color choice is a very important aspect of advertisements. You also want your colors to work with the feeling of the brand. Your colors need to work with the environment in which the ad is being placed. Appeal to the targeted people through color, but don’t make the colors distracting. As for exactly which colors to use, well that depends on the type of ad. If you are making a an illustration for a “fun” brand, use a collaboration of bright colors. If the ad is more serious, possibly use a more simple color scheme. Apart from that, the colors depend entirely on the company and type of ad.

6. Be Informative

Every advertisement must convey a message. Ads visually represent a message.

This is a great ad which visually represents the fact that FedEx”s trucks are twice the size of UPS trucks, and therefore carry more packages.

7. Stand Out and Be Memorable

Being unique and memorable are two essential components of a good ad. Your ad should be unique and completely different than anyone else. Be original.

8. Give Off a Feeling

Every company and brand has it’s own mood or tone. You need to show that in the advertisement. Someone should be able to tell the company’s tone by looking at an ad.

9. Show Not Tell

A good advertisement is one which shows instead of telling. How can this be done? Try using a more visual way of representing a concept instead of text.

I really like this ad because it is simple and easy to understand. By visually combining the elements of building and coffee, they show you that they are building new stores.

10. Use Humor: Use a Metaphor

Humor is a useful technique for attracting people to an ad. Metaphors can be a great way to add humor. Humor is not always appropriate, and sometimes it just doesn’t work for the brand or company, but when it does, use it.

I think Nike has some pretty great ad campaigns. This one incorporates humor and an obvious message.

What do you think?

Feel free to contribute other tips via comments, or just tell us what you’re thinking.

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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Tulu Tulu September 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm

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Tulu Tulu September 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm


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