Print ads are a great opportunity for marketers to explore different creative avenues to increase sales. Even though so much advertising has moved online, an inspiring ad in print can still stand out and grab readers’ attention.
To stand out in the sea of ads that consumers are exposed to every day, pick a focus for your campaign and use powerful images for your designs. Think of a twist that gets your key message and brand identity across that makes your audience stop and look more closely.
We’ve gathered clever print ads from successful brands to kickstart your brainstorming session for your marketing campaign. Browse our downloadable templates and adjust your chosen design in Design Wizard easily and quickly.
Wow Your Audience with Eye-Catching Magazine Ads
Advertising in a magazine begins with picking the right publication for your target audience. Know who your customers are and what they read to find a suitable niche that fits with your business. If you’re not already reading a wide variety of industry publications, ask members of your team for recommendations or research where it’s best to advertise.
Before you get started, consider the space your ad will take up. Depending on your budget, use half the page, a full-page, or a double-page spread wisely to impress your audience. Grab attention with a powerful image and a balanced design. Don’t forget to include a call to action and contact details to make it as easy as possible for your customers to take action after seeing your ad.
Create Dynamic Print Advertisements Using the Fold
This Adidas magazine ad uses the fold to animate the image and give it a sense of life. It’s a dynamic design that makes the athlete in the image crunch, lift weights, and stretch when you turn the page. The agility conveyed here fits well with a sports brand like Adidas.
Choose the image you’re going to use for a double-page spread wisely. Make sure your ad stands out with a unique twist and doesn’t blend into invisibility within the other pages of the magazine. It should be clear that the image is promoting a product or service and is not just another photograph or page decoration.
Make Your Audience Look Twice with a Clever Twist
Whether you think this pregnancy test magazine ad by IKEA is clever or controversial, it certainly makes people look again. A positive result means a half-price crib, which is a great discount for a new family. It might be a strange and daring idea but achieves the goal of attracting attention for the brand with ease.
Create a design that captures your audience’s initial interest and curiosity. When they look more closely, they can find out more in the copy and through your call to action. What’s important here is to make your image and heading eye-catching to reel in your target audience in the first place.
Keep it Simple But Provocative
Volkswagen’s Lime ad harks back to the 60s when the company sold a car labeling it a lemon. Lemon is an expression used to describe production defects and the car was taken off the market. When VW produced their last Beetle to go into their museum in Puebla, they celebrated the historical moment by calling it a lime.
There are no defects this time. The car brand is just moving on with this brand awareness ad campaign. They’re giving one of their most successful products a proper send-off with this simple black and white design that evokes nostalgia.
Simplicity can be a great tool to get your key message across and put the focus on a handful of emotions you want to convey. Think about the associations with your brand you want to create with your magazine ad and how you can do that in a simple way. Your chosen image should spark curiosity while the copy gives more information.
Craft Memorable Print Ads with Interactive Elements
This print ad by car brand Peugeot impressively stretches the car’s interior front view across a double-page spread. The image itself is an immersive experience that is enhanced by the interactivity of a mini airbag that inflates when readers hit the steering wheel. An interactive feature like that instantly makes an ad more memorable.
A small but clever detail incorporated in your ad can turn a simple image like that of a car’s interior into a remarkable promotional design. Brainstorm ideas to add one significant detail and make your ad more interactive. Another option is to include a QR code in your ad design that your audience scans, which sends them to an interactive feature on your website.
Impress Your Audience with a Stunning Cover
The photograph used in our downloadable Design Wizard template pulls you right into a sunny day at a beautiful travel destination. We used a beautiful image in the center of this travel magazine cover to whet the appetite for travel. The aerial view of the city in the sunshine is impressive and easily grabs the attention of viewers.
The serif font Playfair Display SC makes the title and subheading stand out without drawing the eyes away from the image. You can change fonts and pick from a variety on Design Wizard or upload your own brand font to fit with your chosen image.
Grab Readers’ Attention with a Focused Newspaper Ad
If you’re considering publishing ads in a newspaper, make sure you know where your target audience goes to read the news. Depending on your type of business, decide whether a local or national newspaper is the best place for you to promote your products or services.
It’s important to create flow in your design that captures your audience’s attention after reading a news story. A catchy headline should lead their eyes to continue to look at the entire design with your call to action. You can achieve this flow through clever use of white space as well as the placement of logo and copy in relation to the rest of your composition.
Tell a Story with Your Design
This newspaper ad for Alzheimer’s Day by advertising and public relations company Publicis recreates the memory loss of Alzheimer patients visually. The ink dissolves and most of the text is too transparent to read. It’s a powerful way to create awareness for a significant day and cause.
Based on your brand story and key message you want to get across, play with design elements and composition to see how you can tell your story visually. Trust your audience’s imagination to take over and connect the dots instead of trying to tell them what they need to know.
Use the Newspaper Layout to Your Advantage
To indicate the cutting edge of Carulla knives, advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather showed images of fish or vegetables between newspaper columns. The straight lines produced by the columns in the classified ads section represented the precise cuts. The knife with the brand logo on the right side of the page completes the picture and helps to make the right connection.
When brainstorming ideas for newspaper ads, think about how you can use the typical layout in a creative way to promote your product. Integrating your product like that grabs attention, as regular readers spot the change in what they read every day immediately. As everyone’s used to the general formatting of a newspaper, an unusual visual is also eye-catching to the casual reader.
Source: Ogilvy & Mather
Appeal to Your Brand Advocates
Game of Thrones grew into a not only popular but also iconic TV show. This ad uses the iconic shape of the dragon that fans immediately associate with the fantasy television series. Using the shadow of the legendary creature is a creative and eye-catching way to integrate the ad into the layout of the newspaper.
Choose brand elements that your target audience immediately recognizes and include them in your design. This can be a beloved mascot or a striking visual that establishes a connection with your business. Use your design tools to compose a newspaper ad with these recognizable elements in an interesting way.
Count on the Power of Imagination
Artist Felipe Salazar created this dynamic three-dimensional ad out of the columns of text in the newspaper. Using the layout, he creates appliances, counters, and oven ranges that are eye-catching through the illusory nature and 3D effect that makes you look twice.
Let your creativity take you to new and unusual places with your advertising design. Appealing ad design makes your audience stop and look twice. Think about how you can activate your audience’s imagination and make them look more closely.
Source: Corona Kitchen
Include the Most Important Information
Include the most important information your target audience needs to know. In real estate, this often requires more copy, as potential buyers want to know a few more details before viewing a property.
You can create a visual hierarchy by using different fonts and make headlines and the most important details stand out. An easily legible and straightforward sans serif font like Assistant used for the heading and price grabs the reader’s attention.
If you’re submitting your ad in black and white, make sure the contrast of your images and design vary enough to stand out. We simply applied a grayscale filter in Design Wizard to get the best contrast.
Advertise Effectively Outdoors with Billboard Advertising
Before you get started on your outdoor ad design, consider where your billboards will be displayed. Depending on the type of business, you can incorporate the location in your ad. In any case, your ad should not only grab attention because of its size but should stick out from the city or rural landscape with a simple message, readable fonts, and contrasting colors.
The target audience of your billboard is usually traveling, which gives you only a few seconds to grab their attention. Keep in mind that you want to get noticed but you don’t want to cause any accidents by creating an ad that is too distracting.
Lean into Popular Associations
This billboard adopting Ikea’s brand colors for fast-food brand KFC is the result of opening a new restaurant close to Ikea in Majorca. The restaurant’s location became known by the locals as “where Ikea is”, an association that KFC decided to fully lean into. Making use of inside knowledge like that is a clever way to attract your audience’s attention.
Mimicking another brand’s color scheme and logo design can be problematic, so make sure you’re aware of the consequences. If you’re sure about what you’re doing, provocative ad design that demonstrates knowledge about your target audience makes them look twice.
Make Your Outdoor Ad Interactive
This imaginative billboard shows the audience rather than tells them that you find great ideas by reading The Economist. When a person passes under the billboard, the lightbulb lights up using the association of having lightbulb moments when you have great ideas.
An interactive ad doesn’t have to be elaborate to convey your key advertising message. An interactive feature like moving parts or a 3D effect easily attracts attention and free press because of its innovation. The focus is on interactivity, which means the background design should be as simple as possible.
Source: The Economist
Craft Smart but not Too Clever Billboards
This billboard by Indonesian toothpaste brand Formula shows how the product benefits customers in a clever way. Instead of the usual beautiful model smiling down at you with white teeth, this ad takes more action by showing how the man uses his strong teeth to pull off the ad itself.
Rather than going for a complex design, think about a customer problem that you’re solving and how you can merge that with your key message. Take this to your brainstorming session and find a way to visualize this in a simple way. Grab attention but don’t make your audience solve a puzzle or confuse them with a complicated metaphor.
Establish a Connection Between Your Ad and Your Environment
This Berger Paints billboard creates a clever illusion to make the paint look the same as the sky. Areas in the shape of stripes created by a paint roller were cut out to create the effect. The billboard becomes part of the environment, which makes it a memorable ad and emphasizes the key message of natural and eco-friendly paint.
When you convey a message in a visual way it’s much quicker for passers-by or drivers to take it in. A visual cue that creates a connection with the environment surrounding the billboard is an ingenious way to create a memorable design.
Source: Berger Paints
Use Easily Legible Fonts for Printed Ads
Billboards are usually up high and have to be easily readable at a distance. Use large non-serif and bold fonts and make sure the letters are evenly spaced. Upper and lower case sans serif fonts are your best option but keep in mind that a mix of upper and lower case characters are easier to read than having all upper case characters.
In our downloadable Design Wizard template, the key advertising message is encapsulated in the all caps Roboto font inside the blue bar. The vivid blue stands out against the dark background photo and matches the call to action inside the smartphone image. The logo in different shades of orange draws the eyes in as it contrasts with the darker background.
Drive Brand Awareness with Creative Poster Design
Posters are still an effective way to draw attention to sales, product launches, or events. Before you start designing, identify the goal of your poster and who your target audience is. The location of your poster determines the size and color scheme. Depending on the backdrop, you know if you can fit in a smaller or larger poster and which colors might create an eye-catching contrast.
Drive brand awareness with a creative poster campaign and experiment with various printing techniques like letterpress, screenprinting, foiling, or using a UV layer. When you’re brainstorming ideas, try to think of anything that makes your visual stand out from the crowd of ads that consumers are bombarded with every day.
Surprise Your Target Audience
This poster clearly shows the rivalry of the two biggest brands in the soft drinks market. It plays on the competition between the two businesses to shock or at least surprise the viewer. It makes viewers look twice at the bold move instantly making the ad more recognizable.
To make your poster stand out, you need a spectacular visual or an image that surprises your target audience. It needs to be clear at first glance to catch the eyes of your target audience and make them look more closely.
Show that You Know Your Audience
This genius lockdown ad was created as part of the One Minute Briefs Twitter challenge by Sam Hennig. It perfectly sums up the reality of working from home during lockdown for many showing great insight into the daily life of the audience. Although not created by Kit-Kat or Zoom, both brands have praised the concept ad because it’s simple, relevant, and on-brand.
Ads are often a product of their time, so combining a slogan or your well-established brand identity with what’s currently happening in the world in a clever way grabs attention. Showing an understanding of everyday struggles humanizes big brands and creates a more personal connection between businesses and their customers.
Source: Sam Hennig
Tap into Visual Memory
This ad for French eyewear company Keloptic uses the familiar look of Impressionist paintings to raise brand awareness. They use the blurriness of the painting to show a crisper image under the lens of their glasses. Viewers recognize the painting as something they’ve seen before, which makes them look twice.
Combining the use of a product with familiar visuals like famous paintings connects your ad with the visual memory of viewers. Make your poster more memorable by selecting a visual that is not only appealing but also reminds your audience of something you want them to associate with your brand.
Source: VMLY & R
Craft a Funny Poster to Attract Attention
This Chupa Chups ad makes you smile or at least appreciate the humor used in the ad. It shows in a funny visual way that the lolly is sugar-free by pointing out that sugar-loving insects like ants are not attracted to it.
Ad design is where graphic designers can let their creativity loose and have fun coming up with brilliant ideas. Don’t shy away from an idea that might seem a little out there. It could turn into a cleverly executed ad. Try new techniques and test the limits of your imagination to craft something fresh and interesting.
Source: Chupa Chups
Include a Clear Call to Action
The focus of a poster should be on the visual elements rather than text. The interplay of a striking visual with a branded color scheme and other elements of design is what catches the eyes initially. Make sure the copy you include is straight to the point and in an easily legible font. You can keep it as simple as just using a heading and a persuasive call to action.
In our editable Design Wizard template poster, we used the Heebo font for the heading that underlines the message of the image that this is a poster for a photography club. The call to action lets the audience know what they can do to take action.
Craft Effective Flyers Your Audience Wants to Pick Up
Using flyers for your marketing efforts can be an inexpensive and effective way to promote your products or services. Usually distributed on city streets or handed out directly in stores, flyers often include special offers and discounts.
Make sure your flyers include only the most important information like a catchy headline, an exclusive offer, a persuasive call to action, and your contact information. This ensures that your flyer doesn’t become too cluttered and easily digestible. Your key message should be clear at a glance and entice the audience to follow your call to action and resist the urge to immediately dismiss and throw away your flyer.
Raise Awareness for an Important Cause
This editable flyer design for breast cancer awareness month uses the pink color scheme associated with the cause making it easily recognizable. The heading in Yanone Kaffeesatz stands out with the integrated breast cancer ribbon highlighting the importance of the month of October. The script-inspired Sacramento typeface draws attention through the contrast with the sans serif font.
When advertising for a cause, think about the issues you’re raising awareness for and how you can share your message in a creative but more importantly emphatic way. Your flyer design should tap into viewers’ emotions to make them understand. Be sure to offer a solution or call to action to let your audience know how they can help.
Use a Clever Perspective to Take Viewers on a Journey
This incredibly beautiful ad campaign shows a different perspective of famous Russian landmarks to draw attention. The visual of a famous sight initially catch viewers’ eyes and the unconventional angle of what lies below the buildings leads them to take in the full flyer. A different perspective like that creates questions that the call to action and contact details answer implying that to get more information you should go to the museum.
Look at how you can promote your products or services from a different perspective. A new perspective can be your starting point for an interesting ad that surprises your audience. Try taking photos or find stock photos that show an unusual perspective to create your flyer. Experiment with the angles of your copy to find a more compelling way to add to your design.
Source: Saatchi & Saatchi Russia
Use a Contrasting Color Scheme
In our downloadable flyer design, the contrast of the dark background and the illustration of a mask in vibrant colors draws the eyes to the heading. Establish a visual hierarchy by using larger fonts for the most important information and put the copy in order of importance from top to bottom.
Activate the grid option to align your design elements and spread out your copy across your design to make easily readable. Experiment with the shape tool to create a modular design for your flyer in Design Wizard.
Illustrate Your Key Message
These flyers by ad agency Yellow raise awareness about the problems that animals face during Diwali celebrations. With bright colors and cute animal pictures, they keep it light while also showing the terrified eyes to highlight their key message of taking care of pets. The face mask, headphones, and the missing letter ‘U’ indicate that it’s up to humans to protect beloved pets since they can’t shield themselves from loud music or air pollution.
Photos of animals and particularly beloved pets automatically evoke sympathy. Look for visuals that create an instant emotional connection to your ad. Add a twist to your design to fully capture the attention of your audience and provoke a reaction.
Include Directions and Contact Details
It’s easy to take in all the important information from this simple but elegant flyer for an open house event. In our downloadable template, we used a high-quality image that serves as a beautiful backdrop and doesn’t distract from the key message we want to convey.
The white background and black rectangular lines put the focus on the contact information in the well-balanced serif font Lora. Ensure you include directions and contact details in your flyer design to let your target audience know where they can find you.