The Six Steps of Effective Advertising

Have you ever wondered what makes a successful advertisement? Well you are in luck because these six steps will provide you with a helpful guide on how to create a functional advertisement!

Step 1: Attract Attention! This can be achieved by using scale, to eventually create a visual hierarchy within your design.

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Step 2: Tell a Story. Implement a headline in your design to add to the concept!

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Step 3: Explain the Benefits of your product!

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Step 4: Sell the Product! Show the product in the advertisement. Ensure it is large enough for the consumer to know exactly what you are selling.

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Step 5: Tell us the brand you are selling. This may appear in the form of a logo.

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Step 6: Tell us how to respond. Where can we purchase the product? You may like to show logos of businesses where you can purchase the product from.

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By applying the principles and elements of design and implementing these six steps in your advertisement, you will be sure to present a coherent and an effective design!


The Art of Typography

Ever wondered how to enhance the type you use within your designs and make it looks aesthetically pleasing and easy to read? Here is a range of common terms and tricks you should know to improve your designs!

1. Ensure the Typeface’s Mood Reflects the Message.

Do you have a favourite typeface you use every opportunity you get? Maybe you use Helvetica because it is clean, simple and easy to read. Let’s be honest we see it everywhere, from independent firms to big corporations all over the world. However, we as designers must ask ourselves are we getting the most out of our font choice?

All typefaces have there own mood or personality. Whether it be groovy, fancy, horror or silly. Majority of fonts aren’t ‘one-size-fits all’, so you will need to determine what message you are trying to convey and select a font that reflects that. This will ensure your design is powerful and communicates your message more effectively and persuasively.


Image found at Design Inspiration.

2. Ensure the Mood is Targeted at your Audience

You have selected a font that reciprocates the mood of the message. Awesome! However, not everyone will interpret the mood of the selected typeface as you have. It is important to consider the target audience when choosing your font, to ensure they respond the way you intend them to. For example, someone might see a certain typeface as trendy, in comparison to someone raised in a different culture setting, who may find the same typeface out of date.

What typeface do I choose when I’m designing for a wide range of people, not a specific group? I hear you ask. Try and pick a more neutral typeface, that doesn’t have an obvious personality or mood and blends in with it’s surroundings. Serifs and San Serif Fonts look effective when designing for broad audience.

3. Ensure the Font Point Size reflects the Design Context

It is important that your audience can read your text, there is no point placing text within the design if no one can read it.

Rule of thumb: Body text should be between 10 and 12 points for print projects and 15 to 20 pixels for web design. Note the ideal size may differ, depending on the characteristics of the font.

4. Visual Hierarchy 

Typographic hierarchy is important to navigate the reader through the information presented in the design. It is important for designs that are text-heavy, for example newsletters, magazines and books.

The basics of setting up a hierarchy in your design involve the following:

•Using text size to prioritize information by importance

•Using sufficient spacing to create an easy-to-scan structure

•Grouping related items together

•Including clear sections (with headings, subheadings, etc).


Photo by Thomas Clare on Behance.

5. Spacing and Alignment is Crucial 

Spacing and alignment can make a huge difference between creating an organised design, to a cluttered and illegible design.

– Tracking is the consistent amount of horizontal space between all letters in a passage of text. Adjusting this setting will make the text look tighter or looser. You should aim to find a happy medium, depending on the typeface that you choose.

– Leading is the vertical spacing between the text.

6. Don’t overlook Kerning 

What is kerning I hear you ask? Often we get it confused with tracking, however it is different it is the amount of space between a single pair of letters or other characters. Kerning is the last thing we as designers check to make sure our type looks professional. Most typefaces have auto kerning, however for large point size it is important to do a visual check and adjust the kerning as required.


Image found at Design Mantic.

7. Ensure you don’t use too many Typefaces and Weight Styles

It is important that we don’t apply to many fonts to our designs, as they will confuse the audience and look cluttered.

Rule of thumb: Don’t use more then three different typefaces in a design.

Selecting fonts to combine in a design can be difficult at times. There are a couple of options to solve this solution:

  1. You can’t go wrong with a basic sans serif and serif font!
  2. Pick a typeface family and adjust the weights and styles. But don’t over do it!


Image found at Inspired Mag.

Hope these tips and tricks help enhance the typography within your designs!

Applying the Principles of Design

Do you ever ask yourself where to place the text, elements and objects when designing a poster, advertisement or brochure? Or do you place them where you think looks appropriate, but can’t justify why you composed your design that way? The design principles are the guidelines required to creating a successful design and provides us with a reason for placing elements within the layout.

Asymmetrical Balance:

Asymmetrical balanced designs are not mirrored on each side of the visual axis like symmetrical designs, however are still visually balanced with elements on the other side of the page. Asymmetrical balanced compositions are informal and often attract a younger target market. It is important for designers to take this into consideration whilst creating material for a younger audience. This is evident in Xavier Esclusa Trias Poster for The San Sebastián International Film Festival, called Zabaltegi.


Symmetrical Balance:

Symmetrical balanced designs create a balanced composition where the visual elements are placed on both sides of a visual axis, mirroring each other. Symmetrical compositions are formal designs that appeal mainly to a more conservative audience. As a result, we as designers should create symmetrical compositions when designing wedding invitations and formal posters for events. For example, Nate Koehler‘s wedding invitation is symmetrically balanced, as it is designed for a formal purpose.


Visual Hierarchy:

Visual Hierarchy refers to the order of importance of visual elements within a composition. It is crucial that we as designers consider hierarchy within our compositions. One mistake that is often made is making all elements on the page the same size or visual weight. This makes it harder for the viewer to establish what to look at first. The poster of the Black Swan below demonstrates how to implement visual hierarchy effectively.

Black Swans

Cropping and Scale:

It is important that designers create a visual hierarchy within their design. It is ideal to have a dominant visual element, known as the focal point. We as designers can create the focal point by incorporating the design principle, Cropping. This allows us to remove the access elements around an image and emphasise the important details.

Scale helps us designers to make sense of our design. It can be used to portray realism or to decorate the design and create a focal point. It provides the design with a sense of visual hierarchy which is important in maintaining a well balanced design.

Cropping and Scale is used in most effective designs and is portrayed clearly in the Modernist Swiss style Posters by Quinn Marin.



Contrast is the key factor to ensuring your design ‘pops!’ It refers to the visual elements in your design being in opposition of each other. This can be achieved through colours opposite on the colour wheel, the thickness of lines and different textures such as smooth and rough. We as designers can implement the principle of contrast in our work to create a dynamic design. This is evident in my design ‘Silence,’ where colour and tone are the obvious elements that contrast in the design.

Disturbing Image

Repetition and Pattern:

Repetition reinforces the visual message portrayed and allows the designer to create a focal point that draws the audience in. Repeating elements within the design will form a pattern and can be used to attract the audiences attention. However, the image does not necessarily have to be all the same size, by implementing the principle of scale and visual hierarchy, and adjusting the opacity level of the image, you the designer can subtly reinforce the message. This is observed in my design ‘He stripped away her self-worth layer by layer.’

Layer by Layer

Figure & Ground: Negative Space is the ‘space in between’

Figure and Ground is also known as positive and negative space where figure is referred to as positive space, whilst ground is known as negative space. Initially, as designers we start off with a blank page, this provides us with our ground or negative space. When we add elements to the page we are adding figure, which becomes positive space on top of the negative space.

Check out artist M.C. Escher’s was widely regarded the king path-forger of negative space! Escher created numerous tessellations that focused on one shape leading into another via figure and ground. This is evident in his woodcut print Sky & Water I.



In conclusion, there are many different design principles out there to try. Some rules may not always apply to your specific project, but implement them where you think it is appropriate, to ensure your design is successful!