Presenter: Scott Qurollo, Partner, pearl brand communications

Scott begins with a humorous disclaimer that his presentation will “not make you as cool as Don Draper or land you a job at a big New York ad agency. It may however give you a leg up on your competition through better layout, and possibly make you more effective at promoting your product.”

While referring specifically to ad layout, these basic elements of graphic design can be applied to any piece of design.

Determine your goals

  • What’s your message?
  • Who is your audience? This will drive your style and layout.
  • What information needs to be communicated? Call to action, contact information.

Determine the elements of your layout

  • Graphic
  • Headline. Grabs attention, conveys your message.
  • Body copy. Provides support for message, draws reader further into ad.
  • Signature. Most typically this is your company logo, identifies who is running the ad.
  • Call to action. Not necessary if it is a branding ad.

Start designing with pencil and paper

  • Rough sketches save time
  • Strive for dominance and balance. Dominance gives design a focal point; balance draws the reader in and creates a “feel good” reponse

Use C.A.R.P. techniques
C=Contrast: creates intrusiveness (attention getting), adds interest to a page. Create contrast with color, dimensions (both within the ad and within the page).
A=Alignment: used to unify and organize; elements need to visually connect; find a strong line and use it.
R=Repetition: adds drama and visual interest; creates unity; underused! Use your copy as a visual element.
P=Proximity: grouping items creates unified elements; used to simplify and organize. Stand back from your ad and squint at it, counting the number of elements you see. If you have more than 5, start over, it’s too much for the reader to digest.

Evaluate your ad, review your ad from the consumer’s viewpoint and ask yourself:

  • Did I achieve dominance and balance?
  • Would it stop me?
  • Would it differentiate me from the competition?
  • Do I understand the message?
  • Is it persuasive ?