This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

How to design a effective ad

There are three parts to an effective ad: a headline, a visual, and a call to action. You see good advertising all of the time, and you also see poor advertising. The good ads communicate, the bad ads are ignored.

Creating an effective ad is extremely difficult, and the final product is as simple as is possible. And it's the simplicity of the final design that makes it so effective, and so difficult to create.

Start with a headline. If you're like most people, you are unable to speak, or write, without going on, and on, and on, and on. Headlines need to be short, but they need to make sense. Never, ever use abbreviations, thinking that that will help. Always use full sentences. !f you write something that requires a lot of thought for people to try to figure out, they'll just skip over it. People who write advertising headlines are well-paid for what they do, and that's because it's the second-most important part of an ad.

The most important part of the ad is the visual. That's really the grabber. And it has to relate, so you can't just show a cute puppy, or a girl in a bikini (unless you're selling dog food or swimwear, of course!). Images that don't relate may get a glance, but there will be no connection, and people just ignore your ad. Just grabbing attention isn't the same thing as communication, just as hitting someone on the shoulder isn't the same as getting them to listen. And you get one (1) visual. If you can't decide on a visual, you've made a mistake. If your ad has several visuals, it will be just a tangle. Choose one. Of course I suggest one of my cartoons!

And then you need a call to action. That could be a website, a phone number, anything like that. Without a call to action, your ad is wasted. It would be the equivalent of a salesperson who doesn't ask for the sale. Without a call to action, your ad is just a decoration, a pleasing visual, but it's not an ad.

Designing ads is something I've been doing all of my life. No, there's no magic formula, and there are no shortcuts. You can't trick someone into buying your product by hypnotizing them with subliminal messages. This is communication, pure and simple. Make it easy, make it eye-catching, give someone a chance to find out more, or purchase your product or service. My specialty is cartoons, custom-made for advertising.