View From Afar: Setting Up An Ad

View From Afar: Setting Up An Ad

Before you can get to the fun part of designing your own flier (playing with the image editor!) you have to do the “bread and butter” part of working out the basics. Such as:

A) What size leaflet?

B) How many colors?

C) What style headline do you want?

D) Which graphics do you want to include?

E) The bells and whistles. What Size Leaflet?

Basically, there are two regular sizes if you want to print your own fliers. They are A4 or A5.

A4 is the standard paper size for a PC printer and A5 is A4 folded in half. I personally think that A5 is the better size for fliers because,

#1) it is a more comfortable size for the customer to handle.
#2) it fits into mailboxes easier.
#3) it is much cheaper to produce.

How Many Colors?

Here, I am not talking about colors in graphics (where, usually, full color is best). I am referring to “text colors”.

Two colors are the most effective and the easiest to take in. If you use more than two colors, your customers will not find it comfortable to read. Although, what you can do is this (if, for example, the paper you are printing on is white and the text is in blue and red): You can create a block of red or blue and have a “cut-out” so that the letters are white. [Editor’s note: This style of lettering is commonly referred to as “knock out”]

What Style Of Headline Do You Want?

Nearly all of the many articles I have read about advertising or marketing emphasize the paramount importance of the “headline” in an advert. This headline can be short (e.g. “Where’s the beef!”) or long (e.g. “The loudest noise you will hear inside a Rolls Royce traveling down the road at sixty miles an hour is the ticking of the clock.”).

Both of these headlines are from very successful ad campaigns. A headline can be provocative, humorous, or just informative, but it has to be “eye catching” and carry the reader forward to the next part of the ad. The name of your company IS NOT a headline! Even Coca-Cola and McDonalds do not use their name as the headline in their advertising.

Which Graphics Should I Include?

A one page, one side flyer only needs one picture or graphic. This graphic can be a picture of a beautifully clean carpet in an ideal setting or if you have a humorous headline, it can “tie in” with that headline or a “before & after” set of photos. (Ok! I know I said, “use one picture”, but a before & after photo set may be counted as “one photo”, if you so desire!)

In my opinion, you do not want a picture of “yourself” cleaning the carpet. In the minds
of those viewing your ad, your picture being there is an “inconvenience”, no matter how
hard you try for it to be any other way. Potential clients just want to see your results. I have often seen a picture first. Soon after, that picture will have given me an idea for
the headline of a flier or poster.

The Bells And Whistles.

One of the most enjoyable things about many image-editing programs is their ability to
“filter” images. Image-filters are the effects that I spoke about in my previous article.

Effects like:
#1) “drop shadow”
#2) “solid lettering page curls”
#3) “feathering”, and many, many more are possible.

They can add a certain “life” to your work and can be used to emphasize the areas of your ad that you want to bring to the reader’s attention. Conversely, it is very important
to remember not to use image-filtering effects too much! Too many image-filtering effects can distract your viewer.

Take a good look at professional advertising and you will notice just how careful use of
this “bag of tricks” gives a more interesting overall appearance. You would be surprised
to know how many of the effects you see in these ads, you can easily create yourself!

In Conclusion…

If there are two things I know about potential customers, it is this:

#1) All customers (it does not matter if they are residential or commercial) have one interest only: “What’s in it for me!”

#2) They are all short on time!

Every day, we are totally inundated with information. It is estimated that we receive upwards of twenty times the amount of information that we did thirty years ago and thus, “standing out in the crowd”, is only that much harder. You, quite literally, have only a few seconds to catch the attention of your reader! This can only be done with a clearly laid out ad with all your “benefits” very clearly stated.

All of the things I have written here are based solely on what I have learned over the years and what I have read on the Internet, in books and magazines, etc. My personal experience in the advertising industry was selling it the far distant past.

I have found an excellent freeware image editor called: GIMP. In the next issue, we will use it to build a flyer!

Harvey Fish

November 30, 2005 / by / in
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