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

Why you should design your ad before you buy the space

I've been doing Graphic Design for a long time now, and the most common mistake that I see businesses make is to put together a budget to buy space in a magazine, or a newspaper, or anywhere, and not really give much thought to what the ad is going to say, or what it's going to look like.

The conversation is always the same, and it goes like this: A company has budgeted the money to run a small display ad in a magazine, let's say, $10,000 for a year. For many popular magazines, that would be quite a bargain for an ad as small as 4" square. Space is expensive in front of the right audience!

And then the content of the ad is quickly thrown together, either by the magazine itself (magazines will often do that for free) or by someone who knows how to do some type of layout, maybe in Photoshop, or Word. And after the money is spent, there's no results, which puzzles many people.

As a Graphic Designer, this point of view makes no sense to me. It's as if a company has paid to rent space in a theater for a year without really giving much thought to what they were going to show. And not surprisingly, not many people pay attention it it.

I design ads. I also write ads. If you've already dedicated your entire budget for space, you're stuck, because I don't design ads for free. I'm worth what I charge, and I don't work for free. And I actually started my career designing ads for companies that could have gotten it done for free, which should give you some idea of the value of the free "pub-set" ads. And those companies understood that it's not enough to just buy space, you need to communicate a message.

If you've already signed a contract to purchase a year's worth of blank space, and it's used up all of your budget, I'm sorry, I can't help. You've made a mistake, the type of mistake that lots of companies make. If you're not that far gone, I can help. Include a Graphic Designer, and maybe a writer, to help with your advertising, and promotion. At that point you probably won't be able to buy as much space, or run your ad as often. But you will be giving your company a chance, rather than just throwing your entire budget away.

I give free estimates, and can design anything from a full-page magazine ad to a tiny little cartoon ad. If you don't hire me, hire some other pro, it's the right thing to do.