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Designing an effective print ad doesn’t necessarily mean following all the design rules. In fact, sometimes it’s more effective to break the rules in order to create something that truly stands out. But even so, there are some elements that really need to be included in order for an ad to have its desired effect.

Understand Your Audience

The number one most important element of a print ad is that it must make a connection with its audience—which means the audience has to be clearly defined and understood. Making that connection starts with the headline, and should continue with each element of the ad.

Include A Call To Action

Also highly important is the call to action. This is the take-away message for the viewer, the action that the ad is designed to encourage them to take. The typical call to action involves making a purchase, but in some cases it might simply be encouraging the viewer to make contact.

Have a Clear Purpose

Similarly, an effective print ad also has a very clear purpose, whether it’s to inform, sell, or generate leads. This is aided by having a clear call to action, but other design and textual elements should also focus in part on emphasising the purpose of the ad.

Be Memorable

A good ad is also memorable in some way, but this can be a tricky concept to get right. Creating a humorous or clever ad is great, because it helps to make the ad memorable, but if it hinders the ad’s purpose in any way, or makes it difficult for the viewer to understand the call to action, then the ad isn’t doing its job.

Provide Information

And finally, a great print ad provides all the important information the reader needs to carry out the call to action, as well as enough information to make them want to carry it out. But it also needs to provide this information in a way that’s easy to read and comprehend, so that the viewer quickly understands what to do.

You don’t get much time—typically just a few seconds—to grab the viewer’s attention and state your case, and the need to incorporate all of these elements effectively can make designing an effective print ad fairly complicated. Including all of these essential elements is the best way to ensure an ad achieves its desired effect.