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DESIGNING THE AD

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Sunanda K. Chavan
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DESIGNING THE AD - September 14th, 2010

DESIGNING THE AD

Art refers to a system of principles that guides us in creating beauty. In advertising, art shapes the message into a complete communication that appeal to the senses as well as the mind. So art refers to the whole presentation- visual, verbal and aural- of the ad.

The term design refers to how the art director and graphic artist conceptually choose and structure the artistic elements that make up an ad’s appearance or set its tone.

A layout is an overall orderly arrangement of all the format elements of an ad- headline, subheads, visual, copy, captions, trademarks, slogans and signature. A layout gives a physical presentation (look and feel) of what the ad will look like. It helps the creative team to develop the ad’s psychological elements- the nonverbal and symbolic components.

It serves as a blueprint once the best design is chosen.

There are two phases in the design process for advertising (print, television). In the conceptual phase, the designer uses thumbnails, roughs, dummies, and comprehensives- in other words, non final art - to establish the ad’s look and feel.

In the pre press or production art phase, the artist prepares a mechanical – the final artwork with the actual type in place along with all the visuals the publisher or printer will need to reproduce or print the ad.

• Thumbnail sketches

It is a small, very rough, rapidly produced drawing used to try out ideas. The artist uses it to visualize a number of layout approaches without wasting time on details; the best sketches are then developed further.

• Rough layout

Here, the artist draws to the actual size of the ad. Headlines and subheads suggest the final type style, illustrations and photographs are sketched in, and body copy is simulated with lines. Roughs are presented to clients- particularly cost conscious ones.

• Comprehensive:

It is generally quite elaborated with colored photos, sub visuals, a glossy spray coat etc.

• Dummy

It is a form of rough design used to present the hand held feel of brochures, multi page materials, or point of purchase displays.

Thumbnails / Rough Layouts

The elements, faces, figures, groups, products, and places, must be well composed. Thus, these elements must have balance, proportion, perspective, contrast, and gaze motion.

Various terms

The optical center of a layout is the balance point always vertically centered and slightly above horizontal center of the layout around which element “weights” are placed. It is the focal point for the arrangement of art and copy elements in an ad.

Balance in visualization is concerned with visual weight. Large elements of copy and art weigh more than small units; black is heavier than gray; certain colours have more weight than others; asymmetrical outweigh symmetrical ones; even white space has weight.

A layout can be formally or informally balanced. Formal balance is placing of the elements symmetrically with the left side the same as the right side. Informal balance places the elements in balance around the optical center asymmetrically but “equally” by considering their size, shape and “visual weight”.

Proportion deals with size relationships. Certain unequal proportions of size to size are more exciting to the eye than are regular and predictable ones. The idea visualizer should experiment with different divisions of white space as well as the proportional relationships of the elements to the white space.

Perspective deals with relationships that involve distance. It is a way o creating the illusion of moving into the distance. The visual illusion of distance is created by making objects smaller as they move away. Shapes can be made to look three-dimensional by the use of overlapping lines and converging lines.

Contrast is the factor that provides emphasis and attention to various elements of the layout by rearranging and comparing their different intensities, proportions, and perspective. Contrast enables you to provide a unit of dominant interest – an optical focal point which needs attention.

Gaze motion considers the layout arrangement of copy and art elements designed to lead the eye through the message of any advertisement. Certain motions are more dynamic and rapid, leading the eye differently and at a rate different from the more static and organized layout.

The idea visualiser should decide which suits the message best.

There are several basic formats and compositions of layout that can get you started.

1. The big picture uses a dominant visual in a formal balance with headline and body copy below. It is simple and direct and can be used for almost any kind of verbal/visual concept.

2. The big copy layout may have visuals, but they are supplemental to the body copy. An alternative use of the big copy layout is to make the type and typographical style so dramatic and appealing that they function as the visuals.

3. The omnibus layout uses many visuals in spatially divided sections each with its own headline and copy. The individual spaces are separated by a variety of visual and graphic devices.

4. The mortise layout either uses copy or visuals to form a border or frame, around the other. It is formal in nature but the verbal visual content can create the dynamics.

5. The free-form layout combines copy and visuals into irregularly aligned or superimposed relationships using combinations of each to cause perspectives and interesting divisions of white space. This provides dynamic movements and gaze motion through the elements of the advertisement.

6. The scatter layout abounds with many different movements, and while it may seem undisciplined and brash, it is produced from an organized plan designed to present a readable message.

7. The continuity strip uses many more elements of headline, text, and visuals than the average type of layout. It resembles a film or comic strip and is utilized for narrative messages, demonstrations of a process, or assortments of merchandise.
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