Ad Design, Good, Better, Best

by | Nov 20, 2017 | Publishing Industry

As a graphic designer, I am often called upon to design ads suitable for print publications. This task is not only fun but also challenging. Without a well-developed ‘eye’ and proper knowledge as to what goes into designing an ad, you may find yourself struggling when you attempt to accomplish this task on your own. However, with only a few little tips you will be well on your way to creating appealing ads that draw customers to your business.

The first and most important step is to know the size of the ad and how, in a general sense, it will be laid out. Are you planning on having a picture that takes up the whole of the ad space or will the picture fit inside the space allotted? Most print designs which include a photo have that photo covering the entire background (all the way to the edges). To accomplish this, you have to add space all the way around the edge of the ad. This allows the paper to slip and still ‘bleed’ to the edge of the paper when printed. The bleed area varies from print shop to print shop, so be sure to ask their requirements. The typical range varies from 1/8 – inch to 1/4 -inch.

The next thing to do is to decide upon the content you wish to use. As authors, we’re usually promoting our book(s).

The things that you might consider including are:

  1. Your book’s cover image;
  2. The ISBN;
  3. Where it can be purchased;
  4. A quick sentence or two about the book. This could be a ‘hook’, or a review, or just a quick synopsis. If it is a self-help book, you will want to focus on the benefits rather than the content.

Let’s talk about the images for a minute. Print images are much different than online images when it comes to image quality. While lower resolution images work well on the web, print images you use absolutely must be high resolution. Low resolution is 72 dpi or dots per inch while high resolution is 300 dpi.

As you can imagine, if you tried to print a low-resolution image, it would be muddy at best. Think of it this way: you have a square with 72 dots in it. Now, take that same square and add 228 more dots. Which is going to appear more intensely colored? The answer is, of course, the one with 300 dots. Don’t even think you can get away with making it bigger. You can not.

Perhaps this image will help explain this concept.

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Now comes the fun part, putting it all together. If you are not a designer you probably should take some time looking at book ads found in magazines and also online. Note those that you find attractive and appealing. What do they have in common?Look closely. The difference between a good ad and a great one is not just in the design but in the results.

What is it that the advertiser wanted to accomplish? They want them to purchase their book, right? With regards to your own ads, give them the information they need to be able to purchase your book and then tell them what action they need to take. If you do not ask they will not act.  Furthermore, you may want to consider tracking your ROI (return on investment), you should add a code to your ad for buyers to use.

So, don’t just plop your cover image and some text on a square. Put some real thought into the design of your ad so that your ad will get noticed.

Ginger Marks
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Ginger Marks

Graphics designer, author, business owner, and FAPA Board Member

Ginger Marks is the founder of Calomar, LLC (calomarllc.com). Her publishing and design business tagline is “We Make YOU Look GOOD!” and that is her promise. For more information, visit documeantpublishing.com and documeantdesigns.com.

Mrs. Marks is the author of Presentational Skills for the Next Generation, the Complete Library of Entrepreneurial Wisdom (clewbook.com) and her annual Weird & Wacky Holiday Marketing Guide (holidaymarketingguide.com), all of which are available at Amazon.com.

She also offers insight into business through her ezine, Words of Wisdom, available at her website, where you can also download copies of her free reports and tools for business.

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The Florida Authors and Publishers Association is an organization for authors, publishers, independent publishers, illustrators, editors, printers, and other professionals involved in the publishing industry.