So, that magazine ad you decided was a great idea, needs some artwork and the deadline is looming. What now? Firstly, don’t panic. This list will have you sorted in no time and will get you on your way to creating a brilliant magazine ad that’s sure to make you stand out from the crowd.
Time to don your creative beanie and get to work. Even if you’re not a whiz at design, this list will at least help you to look like are when you’re talking to your designer.
Here’s a home truth; if your ad doesn’t look good, no one will want to look at it.A magazine ad can tell/reinforce a brand story, or it can be retail focused. It’s rare that it can do both.
Depending on the creative approach, a magazine ad can use images or typography as its main visual tool. What that means is that either of these elements occupies the main percentage (around two-thirds or more) of the ad.
Once established, other things to consider as part of the design include:
- Photography or Illustration. If you are using either, make sure it illustrates a feature, depicts a benefit and mean something to the consumer. Spend some money and make it stunning; just don’t make it abstract and meaningless.
- Fonts and typography. There are millions of fonts to choose from so use them wisely and select a typeface that best reflects your company or product. Other typographic elements like subheads, point size, justification, line length, lines spacing, hyphenation and kerning need to be carefully considered.
- It’s remarkable what adding a splash of colour can do to make your ad stand out from the rest. A word of caution, though: don’t be garish in your colour combinations, it could have the opposite effect.
Invest a bit of time here. Don’t automatically go with the first good one you come up with. Write at least 50 headlines and cull them until you end up with one that slaps the reader’s face as soon as they turn the page. Remember, a headline can be stand-alone, or it can support the pictorial element.
Good quality photography is crucial. In fact, photos used as part of an overall creative concept can tell the story without the need for a headline or copy. Pro tip: Unless you’re a professional or a very, very good amateur photographer, please don’t do it yourself. Modern printing technology is designed to get the most out of colour imagery. So, quality, professional photography is crucial if you’re using it in a magazine ad.
So, the image is sorted, you’ve arrived at what you think is a killer headline, and now you’re champing at the bit to get stuck into the copy.Before you start rattling off reams of words, think about how they work with the rest of the layout. Chances are there’s not a lot of room for copy. Be concise, be customer focussed, build rapport, identify their problems, and then offer a solution (your product/service). Don’t waffle, though. Just point out the best features. There are plenty of other ways a customer can find more info.
If your ad is retail-based and has an offer or promotion, make sure it’s clear, bold and simple. Consider isolating the offer/promo in a call-out box, or running it as a bold sentence at the base of the copy. Stay light on detail with a pointer to a website, email address or phone number for more details.
Proper logo use
There’s no doubt every advert needs a logo but don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s the most important element on the page. Let it become part of the overall design. Position it so that after taking in the image, headline and copy, the reader can then see who’s talking the talk. Because we’re taught to read from top left to bottom right, the obvious place for the logo is bottom right, so the last thing the reader takes away from the advert is who it’s from. As an aside; don’t jam the logo up against the copy. A logo should have a bit of ’air’ around it so that it stands apart.
The call to action (CTA) is the most important thing you want them to take out of an ad. If you want readers to visit a website, order online, drop into a retail outlet or call a number, give them precise instructions as to what you want them to do. Don’t hide your CTA away either. Highlight it as part of the copy or isolate it at the bottom of the advert.
Oh, and don’t forget the other bits.
Okay, the ad looks great about what about all the other bits? Here’re some other things that you might have to include:The strapline. Often associated with the logo, it’s obvious they need to live together. Rule of thumb is to centre it under the logo if they’re separate elements, but as it’s often a brand statement as part of a logo, you can’t break the two apart — unless you want to incur the wrath of the designer!
The disclaimer. Necessary if you’re running and offer or promotion in the ad. It doesn’t need to be in the same point size as the rest of the copy, but it does need to be big enough to be legible.
The other logos. If they’re required, keep them small and on the opposite side of the page to your logo.
The social media icons. A quick and easy way for readers to know they can find out more about you on social media, but please keep it as unobtrusive as possible. But it’s important to include your @handles and your Facebook/URLpagename not just the logos — it can be difficult to ‘find you’ on Facebook without it.
If all this looks daunting, don’t despair. The basic premise of any good design is to keep it clean and simple. If you’re still having trouble, our expert marketers and graphic designers are more than happy to help out. Email us here to arrange a chat.