Top secrets to create great ads and billboards

Moscow City Day celebration in Gorky park. Corona theater from Italy

People see a lot of ads and billboards every day. Internet banners, street billboards, ads in magazines invite us to imaginary worlds of happiness, luckiness, beauty and success. All we need is just to spend some money and buy what they offer.

What makes us stop and look more carefully at some ads? Why some pictures catch our eyes and make us thinking that we want that dress or suit for us, or those toys for our children, or maybe online educational course on interiors design for mother? In other words, what makes ads successful and attractive for clients and how designers can create such materials?

First of all, successful ads should be visually attractive. It does not necessarily mean that a beautiful young lady wearing bikini should be shown on the picture (though it is not a bad idea at all). “Attractive” means “attracting attention”. It is widely known that, for example, red color is a great element of attraction, so I would recommend using bright and happy colors such as red. At the same time, I would recommend to create both color and black-and-white variants of ads. For example, being put in a colorful fashion magazine, the black-and-white ad could attract attention of readers because it would differ from most of magazine pages.

Second point – the ad should be relevant to the goods or services which are subject to advertisement. Let’s take pictures of children as example. In some countries it is legally prohibited to use images depicting children in advertisement of goods which are not intended for children. In other countries there is no such rule, and pictures of children are widely used in ads. In my opinion, though cute children may look very attractive, I would not recommend to use children as models in ads of car rent services or bank services, for example. Such add may look visually attractive, but as children normally have no connection with such services, consumers of such ads may be misled by the advertisement. Another example of irrelevant ad I noticed is when a man model poses in ads of goods which are intended for women only, such as stockings. Well, provocative ad can be interesting, but does it always work good? I have doubts. So try to find a good balance between creativity and relevancy.

Point number three – the ad should show clear and strong connection between goods/services and people, to create impression that these goods or services are made for people (and not for money only). Speaking about photography and banners design, there are many tools to show such connection, and one of my favorites – use of a connecting color. A connecting color means a color which is presented both on the product and on a model posing for ad. For example, an insurance company logo is made in green color, and a person on the photo (a young smiling man in suit) should also wear something of the same color, for example, a tie. Another tool is similarity of shapes, shape of company logo and shape of any elements of ad. Let’s take a travel agency logo which looks like a bird-in-flight silhouette. It will obviously look great if a person on the add would hold in his/her hands (or put on a shoulder) a bird which spreads its wings.

Generally speaking, I believe that a successful ad image should be happy. People should look at it, enjoy it and realize that in this world happiness and joy are something real. What people need to reach them? Maybe they need something to get or to give, it’s up to them. But the good ads can really help to make the right choice!

Ekaterina Bykova

Photo credits: Ekaterina Bykova.

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January 30, 2018


Many thanks to you for reading and feedback!

January 29, 2018


Nice blog! Thanks for sharing!

January 26, 2018


Thank you very much for your feedback!

January 25, 2018


Interesting, thanks for sharing. "Generally speaking, I believe that a successful ad image should be happy" I agree with you.

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