How to design a color page magazine advertisement

Color page advertisement sample

H’mm, well, I’m not going to explain everything about print advertising in one little blog post. However, having just supplied a page ad for a magazine I thought I’d explain a bit about the process I went through from the initial ideas to supplying the final artwork.

Supplying initial ideas

Some designers will tell you that they always design one option for themselves and one for the client. One very beautifully “designed”; the other more commercial. Personally, I like to supply two or three options, all of them for the client.

Try to show the client variety in your options and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the different designs so that you can understand exactly what is needed.

Choosing great typefaces

Sometimes I like to use a combination of a serif and a sans serif typeface. Here the title is in the elegant Didot font and the body is in Futura, mostly Futura Light. Also instead of making body, or even title fonts, in black, I’ve experimented with different shades of gray.

Dealing with photography

If your advertisement has a product image in it – or any image for that matter – it is necessary to get it to reproduce as well as possible.

Page ad photo originalPage ad photo re-touched

The photo that was decided upon for this ad was of a mature man modeling the product. There were a number of things about the photo that were improved upon (blotchy skin, dirty fingernails, wrinkles, etc.) The original photo is on the left; the re-touched photo on the right.

To make these improvements in Photoshop I used the Clone Stamp Tool (S) to get rid of blemishes and the Dodge Tool (O) to lighten areas.

Lastly, I changed the image’s mode to CMYK and made sure in Image Size that it was roughly the size it will be when reproduced with a resolution of 300 ppi.

Writing great copy

I could write a lot more about this subject, especially about the headline. This headline actually came from the client and, along with the picture, fulfills most headline criteria. It is attractive, attention-grabbing and clear.

Always be at pains to make the text as simple as possible, being informative about the benefits of the product or service.

And … don’t forget the spell check.

Supplying the artwork

Make sure all images and logos were high resolution and CMYK. Also make sure that the text was CMYK, especially that the black or gray text is made out of K (key black), without any C, M or Y. There should be no RGB colors in the artwork.

I laid this out in Adobe InDesign and exported it as a PDF/X-1a:2001. I finally checked it in Adobe Acrobat Professional where you can see all four plates separately to check that there aren’t any rogue elements in the ad that may cause problems later.

I have written further information about preparing artwork for print and supplying artwork to printers in this website.

Did this help you? If so, please share!

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  1. says

    Yes, Chuggin, that’s one of the most important things – although there are many others in advertising design that I could have mentioned. I’ve always loved Didot and Bodoni for headings.

  2. says

    Nice article. Creating an advert design like this, I think it’s important to start with a really nice, vibrant image. No offence… but the photo used in your design isn’t very inspiring, but I guess you can only use the images supplied by the client.