try this at home!
making your print ads work for you
first time a man sees an advertisement, he takes no notice of it; the
second time he looks at the name; the third time he looks at the price;
the fourth time he reads it; the fifth time he speaks of it to his wife;
the sixth time he buys.
STANDARD [CLARKSVILLE, TX], February 4, 1860, p. 1, c. 7
a clear message. Your business name, address, etc. are NOT the most
important thing you want to convey. How clear can you be about what
you offer? One advertiser sent us an ad where you have no idea what
they are offering. Is it a book? A workshop? A technique? If people
have no idea what you are talking about, how can you entice them to
take some action? They may assume that if your ad is so unfocused and
unclear, what you have to offer may be too!
Make your ad easy to read. This is not the time to experiment with fonts
(typefaces). Select something that is clear and easy to read. Don't
randomly mix and match fonts. Pick up a few slick national magazines:
look at their ads and see how clear and simple their fonts are.
A few before and afters:
the original house doctor ad above: it had no focus. Really the first
thing you see is "diagnosis available". The "House Doctor"
is actually made harder to read with the heavy shadow (it is best to
have a very light hand with shadows if you use them) so it is really
the second thing you see.
images are not stylistically related...nor are they the same scale,
and they are just randomly placed about the ad.
Available, Treatment Guaranteed, and House Pains Cured are three different
sizes when in reality they are of equal importance.
information is scattered about the bottom of the ad...and yet not in
close enough proximity to seem to fit together.
did in the makeover is to find ONE image that represents "house
doctor". Admittedly it was a stroke of luck....we just looked long
and hard at clip art, searching for things related to doctors (I believe
we found this under stethoscope) and voila! We found an actual HOUSE
ad, those two words are placed right next to the most critical part
of the image, where the hand and stethoscope touch the house. We invented
the line "Who says doctors don't still make house calls?"
just for fun, and we hoped to intrigue the reader.
this was a larger ad than our advertiser wanted or needed, but we were
having fun! We made another version for him (see page 3) that was a
closer fit for his budget. We think it works well, too. [ The BEFORE
is also 72 dpi which is appropriate for the web but not print: we need
200 dpi resolution for print. ]
This is the first in a series of articles on looking good in print.
Stay tuned! Any of you skilled ad designers who want to submit a "before
and after", we'd love to consider it for future publication. With
the inclusion of your bio, your sample ads will be great advertising
for you and your services.
MORE BEFORE AND AFTER EXAMPLES:
WARE created the ClarityWorks ad, left. She had to fit a lot of text
in a small space, and she did it here very nicely. She starts with the
most important information: what the ad is "selling" (writer's
workshop)and follows with Peggy Millin's name. As Peggy is well
known and respected, readers in-the-know will be clued in immediately
that this is a workshop to look into. Note the name of the business
is at the very bottom...really the least important information. Jane's
ads for Peggy have a consistent look from month to month: all have the
same dark background and grey sun and the "open book" white
is JB Graphics,
The Textures ad mirrors its text: "sophisticated fun". It
relies on the insider's recognition of the sophistication of Soho and
the Hamptons and playfully adds Waynesville to that list. This is also
an excellent example of good use of white (blank) space. Compare this
ad with their ad on page 13. They want to run the distinct downtown
sensibility ad first for some months to introduce themselves (Suzanne
and John Gernandt) and their store, as well as the concept of a working
studio, before they start their series of ads focusing on individual