Advertising is an industry which generates the big bucks for graphic designers. Newspapers ads, posters, billboards and all such material which is created to attract public’s eye is advertisement designing.

One the other hand, brochures, business cards, letter pads etc. are not exactly a part of advertisement designing because when a person is looking at any of them, he has his attentions already towards it, while advertisement is all about drawing the attentions.

I have been designing advertisements since the previous century, so I today I thought let’s share some tips avoiding the common mistakes that innocent designers often make while designing advertisements.

In advertisement designing, concept is the most important thing, not the design. If you see the example above, you’ll find typography, color combination and many other things but I think it is highly unlikely that it’ll you’ll focus on this billboard if you are driving past a clutter of hoardings…. even though it is a sign for Olympics 2012!

2012 Olympics Advertisement

The billboard above is shouting that design should not be the priority, the concept should be. Advertising is all about making the product sell, even if it’s a great design but it doesn’t catch the audience’s eye or it doesn’t urge them to buy the item, it’s just useless!
Now, here’s another example:

Conceptual Ad

A highly creative ad from a job portal site. Ad from Boundless Creativity

Focus on the concept, not the design, and that’s the key of creating a good advertisement design.

Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.
– Paul Rand

Using Difficult Background

funny coca cola advert

An Ad Stolen from Funny Outdoor Ads

See the example above? so simple yet so so effective! Now imagine this poster with a heavy background…. not good, right? When you have a good idea, to be precise a good ‘concept’, you don’t need heavy graphics.

In clutter of billboards/posters, your ad is likely to stand out only if it is minimal and has a catchy concept. So when you are designing an ad, make sure you are focusing on the concept, not the design.

A good background can be created for easily using Color Scheme Generators.

Designing for Portfolio/Designers

funny Billboard Ad

The advertising company blackmails the public to advertise at once or bare this filth.
Ad from: Clever Outdoor Advertisements

Sometimes, when we are designing, we have several things in mind, such as: “it should look good on my portfolio” or “what would my competitor designers think about this”… forget all this nonsense. When you design, design only for the audience.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you must keep the target audience’s likes and dislikes in mind while you design. For instance, if you are designing for a product which is related to ladies, you should not use hard colors, edgy graphics etc., pink should be the key here.

 For more info on colors, you can visit: Psychology of Colors

 Forgetting to Make the Product Important

I remember seeing a billboard once, it was a shampoo advert but the model had a boy-cut style hair so they didn’t look as important but she was wearing a stylish jeans. At first glance I thought it was an ad for a clothing line.

There are many examples such as this where the main product got overshadowed by something else in the design. This overshadowing element can be the background, a graphic or anything, you must double-check for this kind of a mistake.

Sometimes designers deliberately create such an overshadowing element. A student of mine once told me about a billboard where a very attractive model was sitting on a car bonnet, and the slogan said: “drive her crazy!”. Although I don’t like this kind of ideas, I a product can be sold without needing an attractive, I just wanted to describe the use of overshadowing elements.

Photoshop still doesn’t has spell check, so never forget to check the spelling twice, otherwise you could face a failure like the British Tourism Department’s advert.

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