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  • Ashley Painter

Do's and Don'ts of Print Advertising

Print's not dead - just exploited.

"Print is dead, print is dead, print is dead."

You've probably heard it a million times over the last decade and a half (I certainly have). Yes, it's true that we're in a digital marketing world now but that doesn't mean print is obsolete. For some industries and business - like small businesses looking for visibility - print marketing is still very relevant. Whether you are designing an ad for a direct mail piece or the local high school booster club, here are some tips on how to approach designing a print advertisement.

DO: keep it simple.

Think of a print ad as a mini billboard, not a mini brochure. While it may be tempting to take this opportunity to get all of the information YOU find important in front of a potential customer, too much text is going to be overwhelming. 3-4 pieces of information are max, wherever you send them next will have more.

DONT: write in full sentences.

How many ads, that you weren't actively looking for the product, have you actually stopped and read the paragraphs of text? If you must fit a lot of text, use bullets to break it up.

DO: ask for previous versions of the publication.

This gives you a chance to see what other advertisers - and your competitors - are doing.

DO: choose beautiful imagery with high contrast colors.

As with text, the simpler, the better. Imagery should grab your audience's attention to get them to the information you want, not distract them.

DONT: be afraid to shake things up.

Two page ad spread? Stretch an image across both pages to create cohesiveness.

DO: think outside of the box.

Every restaurant is going to post a photo of their food. Choose one food photo, or choose a snap of your entry sign with your name on it, which doubles as the logo in the ad and frees up more real estate for other copy.

DONT forget to include contact information.

Your phone number or website is best. A QR code is even better.

Bonus: 7 examples where print advertising is still relevant

1. Brochures, rack cards & sales materials

2. Magazine like Delaware Today

3. Direct mail programs to connect you to widespread geographic areas

4. Participation in community-sponsorships (little league, 5K, etc.)

5. Inclusion in a trade show program

6. Announcement of a move or new location

7. ROI tracking and coupon offers

Need a hand with designing your print campaign? Get in touch at and let's chat! In the meantime, visit my graphic design services page to learn more about my work.


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