Designing ads for digital magazines is no easy feat. Just as digital publishing is changing rapidly, so are advertisements. You constantly have to stay on top of trends and consistently stay creative.
Many advertisers want to put together as much information into a space as possible while many users put up digital barricades when it comes to viewing ads. The advantage of a static ad for this situation is that is seems less obtrusive than some interactive, audio or video options. They also have classic rules that makes designing easier and more foolproof.
The key in designing ads for digital magazines is creating something that people enjoy or want to interact with, notwithstanding the fact that it’s an advertisement. Here are Bright Hub‘s Amy Carson’s elemental tips for creating digital magazine ads that are effective in attracting your readers’ attention.
Plan Your Ad Layout: Where Does the Reader Look?
When viewing a magazine ad, the reader’s eye sees the illustration first, no matter where it is on the page. Then they read down from the illustration on. As to where the ad’s main illustration should be, consider this: the “optical center” of the page is one-third of the way down and in the center. Keep these in mind when thinking of the layout of your magazine ad.
Ogilvy Method for Magazine Ads
Every designer should create an ad using the Ogilvy method at least once in their career, but to be honest, most ads should incorporate at least some of these principles no matter what. They were formulated by advertising icon David Ogilvy and are backed up by scientific research.The Ogilvy method in a nutshell is based upon 5 items:
- a very strong visual, either a photo or an illustration
- a caption for the visual, if needed
- a headline
- well-written copy
- a “signature” — logo and contact information for the product/company
Magazine Ad Layout Principles
This is a general percentage breakdown of the different elements of a magazine ad as your rule of thumb guideline
- Visual (the main photo or illustration) — 65%
- Headline — 10%
- Ad Copy — 20%
- Logo — 5%
The percentages are how much space each major element should take up in the ad. The main visual should be very large, and in the top portion of the ad, in order to take advantage of where the reader instinctively looks first.
The headline doesn’t take up a lot of space on the page, yet it stands out because it’s succinct, contrasts with the page, and set in large type.
Copy describes the benefits of what you’re promoting or selling.
The logo should be placed in the bottom right area of the ad, because that’s where the eye is drawn to last.
Use the design principles of balance and contrast when selecting typefaces and type sizes for your magazine ad. Contrast means your type will be readable on the page and vary in size. For instance, brown type on a black background is low-contrast and virtually unreadable. Use dark type on light backgrounds and vice versa. Avoid placing type on busy backgrounds.
Make the headline as big as possible for the layout and set the copy no smaller than 8 or 9 point. It may be trendy to set type super-tiny, but keep your audience in mind and remember that ad design is primarily about motivating people to seek out the product, not showcasing creativity. I highly recommend staying in the 10–16 point range for ad copy, depending on the length of the message.
Should you use a serif or sans serif font? It doesn’t matter — legibility studies are inconclusive. Follow normal typeface selection rules and use what looks nice. The rule of thumb is to select two typefaces for an ad and use a sans serif for the headline and a serif for the ad copy.
Don’t use all capital letters, and use reverses (light type on a dark background) judiciously.
Digital magazines are completely different from print media, giving readers an enhanced online content experience. This shake-up has already reached publishers’ doors. And it’s high time for you to learn more about the new opportunities brought in by the proliferation of mobile and tablet devices. You don’t have to crawl your way alone, Realview can help!