This semester at University I am studying ‘Design For Advertising’ and the first project we received was based around how to professionally design a creative newspaper ad. I am going to go through the process I used to create one along with some tips on the way.
In short, we were to design a creative newspaper advertisement / campaign for the factitious chocolate company sweets2u.com and the purpose of the campaign was to create awareness of the new and exciting chocolate delivery dot-com.
The sweets2u service is based on chocolates arriving the next day anywhere in the country, along with a personalised message printed on a personally selected decorative card.
We were asked to find an interesting way to advertise this service to the nation.
We were given no other information (not even a budget) and we had to find out what would be the best way to raise awareness of this new business so this meant we had to research the size, the number and where to place the advertisements.
Where to advertise?
Before we even began on trying to come up with an idea we had to try to figure out the best place to advertise in a newspaper and for the best price that would be within the budget of this dot-com company. We researched newspaper demographics, prices, sizes and distribution numbers and finally came down to choosing to advertise in the Weekend Australian newspaper.
We chose this paper because it suited our target market of high socio-economic business people, mainly 25-60 year olds who would be more likely to send chocolate via the internet and had the money to do so.
What size to advertise?
After knowing what paper to advertise in, we had to choose the size and where to advertise in the paper and also compare prices with other newspapers. We did this by looking at newspaper advertising rate charts and by making calls to the advertising departments which proved to be a lot easier than working it out ourselves from the website rate chart. We had to take into considerations things such as colour loading (30% more to use colour) and what side of the paper to put the ad on which some papers charged more for.
We finally chose to advertise on page 3, on the bottom right side of the paper which you can see in the diagram to the right. The actual size was 20cm by 10 columns which is 20cm X 37.6cm in this particular paper. The cost for this would be AUD$40,368 inc GST for a full colour ad and that would be distributed to 305,000+ people.
What is the Unique Selling Point (USP)?
After we had decided on what paper and size to use, we could now begin creating an ad. The easiest way to sell a product is to find a unique selling point and after a bit of brainstorming and discussion we came down to these USPs for sweets2u.com; They delivered chocolate conveniently via the use of the internet and they offered personalised messages, something that you don’t get when you buy chocolate any other way. These were the USPs we focused on.
After choosing the USP’s I brainstormed ideas of which you can see one of my very messy mind maps below. I generally go pretty crazy with these things and jot down as many words that come to mind within a space of about 5 minutes – this is just a method that works with me. There are many other methods on how to be creative.
After I brainstormed, I did many rough (emphasise on the rough) sketches and came up with about 70 different ideas. Below you can see a few based around the same ‘Chocolate Delivered’ theme.
I didn’t think the ‘chocolate being delivered’ theme was working too well as the ideas were too basic so I then started thinking about ideas on the USP of the service being personalised. I came up with quite a few ideas however the one idea that I ended up using actually came to me while I was trying to get to sleep… is anyone else like that?
After I had the idea firmly envisioned in my head I finally started on the execution of the ad. Below you can see my original rough (again, rough being emphasised) sketch of the proposed ad. It depicts a pair of briefs, chocolate and socks hanging on a clothes line with the tag line “Very Personal”.
The body copy underneath will read;
Choosing a present is never easy but don’t resort to socks or undies this time, instead let us do the work for you.
We will deliver chocolate anywhere in Australia overnight guaranteed…
…all you need to do is log onto www.sweets2u.com and write a personalised message to go with it! You don’t even have to leave your house.
I then went down to the shops bought some chocolate (mmm) came back, grabbed my camera, some of my undies (sorry you had to see them) and socks and went outside, pegged up the items on the clothes line and shot my scene. I experimented with different shots, combinations and lighting and after about 50 shots came back and reviewed them. You can see 4 variations below and the chosen image below it.
After choosing the shot above, I clipped out the background to simplify the scene.
I then added a nice blue cloudy background to set the scene a bit more.
I then played around with the text, body copy and positioning logo until I was happy. Below you can see the final design – you will have to click on it to be able to read the body copy. The fonts I used were Franklin Gothic Demi for the body copy and Salamander for the heading. (If you have read the post 30 fonts graphic designers must know and own you would know that the font Franklin Gothic is great for newspapers!)
And upon completing the advertisement I got to eat the chocolate! It was a sweet reward.
Mistakes To Avoid When Designing For Newspapers
Here are some mistakes to avoid when designing for newspapers along with some other tips.
Too much clutter Don’t forget the importance of white space. If you can’t fit in all the information you had hoped to, consider going with a larger sized ad, or editing down your information to a more manageable amount or get creative… how can you say your whole message in just a few words or a picture?
Unclear message Make sure you know what you are trying to get your reader to do before you start to design your ad. Keep this objective in mind at all times and review your ad when you are done to make sure this has been accomplished.
Errors Even though it may seem easy to proofread such a small set of type, sometimes errors show up and are glossed over no matter how many times you read it. To be safe, have someone else review your ad for you also… this goes with almost all graphic design work. This is actually one of the top 15 mistakes designers make.
Lack of contact information This common error is particularly frustrating for readers. You may have convinced your reader to contact you or purchase your products, but if they can’t easily find contact information, they will probably not bother to look much further. Always have a call to action.
AIDA – Try to remember this acronym… AIDA. Attention, Information, Desire, Action. Get the consumers attention, give them the information and desire for your product, then give them a call to action.
One More Tip – Another thing I noticed while researching effective newspaper ads was that any ad that had a solid block of colour as its background (with a lot of white space) really grabbed your attention straight away… you couldn’t turn the page without looking at it. This was one of the reasons I simplified my advertisement by removing the white background and adding the blue sky.
On another note, if you like creative advertising, you must check out out this list of 192 creative advertisements.
Hope you enjoyed reading through my design process and as always, constructive criticism is welcome, as well as any comments or questions. How was my copy writing? Could I improve on it?