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What Elements Make Up a Print Ad?

written by: Laura Jean Karr•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 5/22/2011

The key to a successful print advertisement is in how it is created. Here we take a look at the desktop publishing elements of a print ad one by one.

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    Why Are Print Ad’s Relevant?

    Even in today’s internet age, print ads still contribute to presenting product information. A good print ad in today’s world can go from a web page to a newspaper and still pack the same punch. For example, a print created company logo and well done slogan can be more memorable with consumers than that of changing an ad’s design for each printing. This makes cross publishing a cheaper way to make an impact and stay on the minds of consumers for a specific product base.

    Print ads are used in many areas that are outside just newspaper advertising. Ads for print can be seen in magazines, brochures, flyers, business cards, posters and billboards. The key in bringing all those areas together for advertising success begins with the basics for printing. The base of any ad creation starts with utilizing the elements of print a ad in the best way possible. Here we are going to break it down and take a closer look at each element that goes into a print ad. The examples that are used here are all from vintage Pond’s Cold Cream print advertisements due to their public domain release. The Pond’s Cold Cream brand name is now ©2010 Unilever.

    For more information on creative advertising through desktop publishing, see Tips for Creating Newspaper Ads and Top Free Print Ad Design Programs.

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    Body of a Print Ad

    PondsColdCreamAdExample The body is one of the elements of a print ad that forms a basic structure to the ad itself. Inside the body of an ad is where the informational text goes. This text area forms the “meat" of the ad. For example, in a advertisement for a beauty product the way it should be used or perhaps make the skin feel will be blocked together as text in the body of the ad. In the image to the left is an example of vintage ad body from a Pond’s Cold Cream 1960s ad.

    Notice that the body is at the bottom of this example. The body itself, being one of the elements of a print ad does not need to go into a specific area. The body can be anywhere inside the ad and the only thing that determines where the body should be placed comes from the overall design of the advertisement. Print ad design has come a long way since the 1960s but the Pond’s example is a good one for showing the relevance of body information. Click on the image to get a better view.

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    Art of a Print Ad

    pond'scoldcream2 The artwork of a print ad adds the “pop" into the design. This means that the art is what draws the consumers eye to the ad and entices them to read through the body information. Art being one of the elements of a print ad can be anything from a decorative background, border of the brand logo itself. An example of eye catching ad art can be seen in the image to the left. Click on the image to get a larger view.

    In this vintage Pond’s cold Cream ad the art of the ad takes center stage. Vibrant colors on the beautiful lady draw the eye right to her and then he eye if drawn to the body of the ad so that consumers can find out why this lady is she radiant. This is not always the case though, as in more modern ad’s which rely on vector type images to catch the eye focus more on brand logos for the main ad design art.

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    Title of a Print Ad

    pondscoldcream3 The title of a print ad can be a logo or main slogan of the brand that draws the eye to the name or maker of a product. A good title is one of the elements of a print ad that has more power in the overall design than that of the body. Some print ad’s will even skip the body element in favor of just showcasing the art and the title to provided the information of a product.

    For an example, in this Pond’s Cold Cream ad shown at the left you can see why the title holds the ad’s impact over the body. Large, bold titles can draw the eye to a brand and set the stage for the rest of the ad’s information.The main title in this ad is the quotation comment, where the header title at the top of the ad serves more as a sub-title for the brand. Click on the image to get a larger view.