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Designing a Print Ad

with Craig Smallish

Video: Welcome

Learn how to produce engaging and powerful concepts and compositions for print ad campaigns.
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  1. 3m 2s
    1. Welcome
      1m 22s
    2. Course case study
      1m 40s
  2. 10m 33s
    1. The competition
      3m 14s
    2. What captures attention?
      3m 45s
    3. Communicating the message clearly
      3m 34s
  3. 8m 43s
    1. Introduction to our case study
      3m 16s
    2. What's the message?
      2m 53s
    3. What's the demographic, and where will the ad run?
      2m 34s
  4. 10m 51s
    1. Concepts are the main ingredient
      3m 28s
    2. Concept one: "Spacious Rooms"
      2m 4s
    3. Concept two: "Room Service"
      1m 11s
    4. Concept three: "Reflections"
      1m 13s
    5. Ad copy and content
      2m 55s
  5. 11m 16s
    1. What are thumbnail sketches?
      3m 14s
    2. Exploring with thumbnails
      2m 1s
    3. Thinking outside the page
      2m 27s
    4. Challenge: Thumbnail sketch
      1m 42s
    5. Solution: Thumbnail sketch
      1m 52s
  6. 15m 35s
    1. The designer's palette
      2m 25s
    2. Photography: The camera doesn't lie
      3m 43s
    3. Illustration: The style's the limit
      3m 13s
    4. Typography
      4m 11s
    5. Design trends
      2m 3s
  7. 13m 22s
    1. What's most important? Guidelines for composition
      2m 12s
    2. Contrast is more than black and white
      2m 20s
    3. Resources and references
      3m 20s
    4. Challenge: Reference photo
      2m 59s
    5. Solution: Reference photo
      2m 31s
  8. 12m 24s
    1. Location is everything
      4m 6s
    2. Refining the ad layouts
      3m 48s
    3. Tweaking, tuning, and variation
      4m 30s
  9. 10m 41s
    1. What is a final comp?
      5m 2s
    2. Styles and mood: Comp support materials
      1m 46s
    3. Preparing the presentation
      3m 53s
  10. 4m 6s
    1. Presenting to the client
      4m 6s

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Designing a Print Ad
Video duration: 0s 1h 40m Beginner


A successful print ad campaign entices the reader visually, and then delivers on its promise with a compelling message. This course details the process of constructing ad layouts for print—emphasizing the importance of visual hierarchy and how the power of composition can embolden your underlying campaign message. Using a client brief for the Landon Hotel brand, Craig Smallish explores three creative concepts and then takes the most successful concept through the complete development process, from obtaining reference material to refining the layouts. Along the way, you'll learn how to produce rough thumbnail sketches; select photos, illustrations, and typography for your design; and balance the contrast and placement of assets. Plus, learn tips for presenting your print ad campaign ideas to your clients.

Topics include:
  • Establishing the campaign message
  • Developing your first ad concepts
  • Creating thumbnail sketches
  • Choosing the best media to convey your message
  • Managing contrast in a composition
  • Refining ad layouts
  • Preparing a print ad presentation for clients


HI, I'm Craig Smallish, and welcome to designing a print ad. A great ad design, will entice the reader. And then, while their captivated, it will deliver the message. Sometimes, they're not even aware it's happening, and that, is the hallmark, of a great print ad. How to design engaging print ads is the focus of this course. The ability to use graphics applications like Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop is important.

But it is also important to recognize that designing a successful print ad or print campaign involves much more than simply producing pleasant or professional looking graphic layouts. First, ads created for print publication must be successful at gaining the reader's attention. Secondly, they must deliver the client's message. This holds true for any graphic design communication project, and it's especially true for print ads. In this course, I'll discuss the creative process for developing a print ad.

And I'll also identify methods for effectively producing ad designs that are as powerful at gaining attention as they are at delivering their message. Ultimately, it's the power of a great concept, coupled with a great composition that makes for a successful ad. Now, let's get started with Designing a Print Ad.

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