“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” How many times have we heard that phrase used to reference a variety of things? Today, I am going to use it in reference to a print ad. As an advertising agency, if we were able to create print ads to match our personal preferences, or to showcase the things we think are beautiful, all of the ads we design would start to look the same, and we would want to change them constantly to fit our changing tastes or moods. In our office, it takes a creative team of people to develop ads for our clients, and we don’t put pencil to paper (or really, graphic to desktop) until we ask ourselves and answer no fewer than 20 extremely important questions. It’s our job, and we have a great working system for it. It starts with the development of a creative brief.
Here are just a few of the things we think about when creating an ad:
1. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but strategy is in the hands of the creative team. Let them work their magic.
2. What is the objective? This is a step easily skipped, but if you don’t figure this out, how are you going to measure the results?
3. Think about the target audience. Who is going to see this ad?
4. Consistency. Is the ad consistent with everything else you are doing? Does it represent the look and feel of your company’s personality and brand?
5. How can you make the ad communicate the message quickly and directly?
6. What will you say to create the desire to take action?
7. How can you make it memorable?
8. How are you going to make it “jump” off the page?
Since a “good” ad is relevant to the person seeing it, and that can change with anyone’s personal perspective, remember to think about the things above. Don’t think about whether it looks good or beautiful through your own eyes. Ask yourself if it was successful in achieving the objective you set for it in the very beginning. That’s what makes a great ad.