Printips: January 2004
Renew, Refresh, Rejuvenate: Redesign
When is it time to consider a redesign of your company's advertising material?
Some may answer, "When its effectiveness drops" or "When
the competition does" or "When we hire a new marketing director".
We agree that these are good reasons, but we also would add that periodic
redesign should be part of your regular advertising cycle. A good redesign
will refresh your ads and renew them for your loyal customers and your
Signs that a redesign may be needed
Your company's advertising material may need a redesign if any of these
* It has been more than five years since you first developed the advertising
* Your company today is much different than it was when the advertising
material was developed.
* The target audience for your product or service has changed since the
advertising material was developed.
Your advertising material may also show signs of aging its typeface, the
layout or the color palette.
Redesigning ads and flyers using the Ogilvy layout
Advertising legend David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather advertising
agency and creator of well-known copy ("At 60 miles an hour, the
loudest noise in this new Rolls Royce comes from this electric clock")
and characters (the man in the Hathaway Shirt; Schweppes and Commander
Whitehead), developed an ad layout formula so successful that it became
known as the Ogilvy. The formula adheres to the order in which researchers
tell us readers typically look at ads:
* Visual (photograph or graphic)
* Signature (advertiser's name and contact information)
Here is a basic Ogilvy layout:
(Carrie: here put in an Ogilvy ad. I will FAX one to you)
The basic Ogilvy layout can be altered to include a coupon (set ad copy
in a three-column grid and place the coupon in the third column); headline
moved above the visual (when the headline carries more weight than the
visual); or copy set in a two-column grid and the headline moved to the
right of the visual.
Other layout options
The rules of good page layout apply to ads just as they apply to other
types of documents. In addition, ads must provoke the reader to action.
The layout of an ad can definitely help accomplish this goal. Besides
the Ogilvy layout, try these other options:
* Z layout: organize the elements of the ad in a "Z" pattern
with the most important element in the upper left corner and the call
to action and signature in the lower right corner.
* Layout with illustrations: photographs, drawing or illustrations can
be used to show how a product is used; show the benefits of using the
product; or demonstrate difficult-to-understand instructions or concepts.
* Simple visual layout: a single strong visual combined with a short,
punchy headline over the ad copy can be a very powerful layout.
* Super-sized layout: Filling the top half or even two-thirds of the ad
space with oversized text or graphics, including bleeding the image off
the edges, draws the reader's attention immediately. Readers associate
size with importance, so reserve this treatment for the dominant part
of the message.
Coupons are known to increase reader response. If you have room in your
ad, do include a coupon. If your ad is small, put a heavy dashed border
around the entire ad to create the feel and appearance of a coupon.
You can also direct the reader's attention by placing the ad's most important
element in the visual center. The visual center is located slightly to
the right and above the actual center of the ad. The visual center acts
as a natural focal point regardless of where the design focus is. Remember
this when you are deciding where to place the individual ad elements.
Using ad templates for redesign
Templates are pre-designed documents that contain placeholders (such as
boxes, dummy text and headlines) that can be overwritten with actual copy
and photographs or graphics. Templates may be purchased or you can create
A template can be a great time-saver, can provide design inspiration and
can augment the design capabilities of an amateur designer. Using a template
as a basis for your ad will also provide consistency among your ads.
If you choose to use an ad template, select one that is appropriate for
the job at hand. Begin by selecting a template whose ad is the correct
size and does not require extensive alterations. Other tips for customization
* Use your own graphics. Substitute your own graphics or clip art for
what was included in the template. Since graphics also include rules and
boxes, you can change the size or location to better fit your needs.
* Alter the type. Change the template's typeface, change the leading (the
space between lines), or type justification. When selecting a new typeface,
be sure not to stray too far away from the original design. For example,
substituting a casual typeface for a formal one will likely compromise
* Change the color. Sometimes a dramatic change can occur when color is
changed, even if the design is unaltered.
* Change the background. Create a reverse (white or light text on a dark
background) to draw the reader's eye. The reverse can be an entire headline
or just the single capital letter that begins the headline. Do remember
that not all typefaces and sizes are suitable for reverses. Fine serifs
can disappear in a reverse.
Need help? Ask us!
If you suspect your advertising material needs a makeover but are unsure
how to proceed, please give us a call at 877-816-4448. We will be happy
to evaluate your existing ads and make suggestions for updating them to
conform to current trends in graphic design and advertising.
Call to action: a marketing and sales device that tells the customer how
to take the next step towards a purchase or execute an activity; often
uses an imperative verb.
Focal point: the area of an ad that attracts the viewer's attention first.
Contrast, location, isolation, convergence and the unusual can be used
to create focal points.
Leading: (pronounced led'-ing) the distance between lines of type, measured
in points. 1 point=1/72 inch.
Ogilvy layout: ad layout formula developed by advertising expert David
Reverse: the technique of printing white or light-colored text on a black
or dark background for emphasis. A reverse reduces legibility, especially
with small type.
Signature: in an Ogilvy layout, the advertiser's name and contact information.
Template: a predesigned document for a particular purpose. For example,
an ad template enables a person to generate an advertisement with formatting
Visual center: the area of an advertisement located slightly above and
to the right of the mathematical center. Serves as a focal point of the
Q. My yellow pages ad representative tells me that my ad will be designed
for free. Is there any reason why I should pay someone to makeup my ad
instead of using the free service?
A. That is an interesting question. The answer is - it depends. If you
have no experience in display ad makeup, then you may want to take advantage
of the free offer, especially if the ad is very small. But before you
let the yellow pages ad representative go, do be sure he or she understands
the central concept you wish to get across in your ad. You may even want
to give the representative the headline, body copy, visual and signature
for use in your ad layout.
Alternatively, we will be happy to design your ad. Yes, there is a charge
for this service. But we will take you through a series of steps designed
to determine the focus of your ad and we will suggest visuals to help
get this point across. You will also be able to see and modify proofs
until the ad is perfect in your eyes.
Contact www.printlocal.com for an estimate of cost and to schedule an
Tricks & Tips
You will find it easier to produce a successful ad if you follow a standard
approach to gathering the ad's elements. Here are the steps we suggest
for easy ad makeup:
Step 1: Read through a few publications and pick out ads that appeal to
you. Analyze what you have selected to see if there is any commonality
- perhaps the use of white space or typography. Note these features for
use later when you are designing your ad.
Step 2: Write the headline for your ad. The headline should be succinct
and express the main idea of your ad. By keeping the headline short, you
will be able to use a large point size to draw attention to your ad.
Step 3: Select the visual. Your visual may be a photo, a drawing or illustration,
or even an oversized alphabet letter or number. Just be sure it is distinctive
and that it enhances or explains the message you are conveying. The headline
and visual should naturally go together.
Step 4: Write the copy. A good way to generate copy is to pretend you
are talking to someone about the product or service you are featuring
in your ad. Remember to emphasize the benefits to the customer or prospect
rather than the features of your product or service. Do be careful not
to write too much copy so that your ad becomes crowded or busy.
Step 5: Organize the ad's signature. The signature is the name of your
company and the contact information. It may also include the ad's call
Now that you have gathered all the elements, you are ready to begin layout
of your ad. You should find it much easier to place the elements now that
you know the size and shape each will take.
When designing an ad, keep in mind where it will be used and how many
other ads it will compete with. If your ad will have lots of competition
(such as in the yellow pages or in the advertising section of a program),
consider these ways to make your ad stand out from all the rest:
Use lots of white space. A large buffer of white space surrounding the
text or graphics in your ad will draw the eye first among other ads that
are full of type and graphics.
Be dramatic. Use an oversized graphic to overwhelm the eye of the reader.
Use contrast. Contrasting type, size, color or other visual effects will
create interest and the reader's eye.