How to Design Ad Images Like a Pro


Whether you want to run a mobile & display ad or a paid social advertising campaign, the foundation of your advertisement will be visual. That’s right, the visual elements put the “display” in “display advertising,” and without a good image to capture and hold your audience’s attention, your call to action will most likely flop, no matter how well written it is.



So, how do you create a good advertising image? Here are some tips:


Know where your ad is going

Are you posting your ad on Facebook? Sending it in an email? Will people be viewing it on their laptops, phones, tablets? Knowing these things will be the first step to deciding how you craft your design. This will affect several elements of your ad from the size of your images to your overall messaging.


For example, a Facebook ad will reach a different audience and might be viewed on different devices than an Instagram ad. Knowing which platform you want to advertise on will help you think ahead about the sizing of your designs. Some platforms require different sizing than others. 


In the same way, you’ll need to think about what devices a majority of people use to view those platforms. Many social apps such as Instagram and Facebook are often viewed on phones, whereas blogs are often read on desktops. Knowing this will help you get a good understanding of how many different designs you’ll need to create. It’s generally a good idea to create designs for mobile users, as well as desktop and tablet users. Meeting people where they are with a responsive design is the first, and arguably most important step to getting your message across. If your ad isn’t responsive to different devices, your message won’t reach its users. 


Lastly, researching the demographics of your platform will also help you understand how to craft your message. The kinds of people who scroll through Facebook might be different than those who use Instagram or read blog articles for example. Knowing who your message will reach can help you decide what that message should be in the first place. Different demographics will receive messages differently so it’s important to anticipate how people will react. 


Start with good images

The images you use are the most important piece of your advertisement–meaning they’re worth investing in. Whether you’re working with graphics, photos, or with both, be sure your images are clear and high quality. Having poor images or low quality graphics will not be well received by those seeing your ad.


If you choose stock images, make sure you have permission to use the images. Never use an image that includes a watermark and always make sure you have permission to use an image. This could mean asking the image’s creator, paying for the use of an image, or even hiring a photographer to grab your own photos. In any case, never use an image that you’re unsure of the copyright on. One ad is not worth being sued over!


Apply the rule of thirds

If you’re unfamiliar with the rule of thirds, here’s a quick breakdown: Think of breaking up your design image into three equal parts going from left to right. The rule of thirds suggests placing the subject in the right or left third of the image, leaving the rest of the space open. This method actually creates tension in the minds of your audience. Just as a writer wants to create tension in a novel to hook readers and draw them in to finish reading, you can create that same tension in your visual element by using the rules of thirds.


A simple way to apply the rule of thirds to your graphic design or photo is to imagine or draw a grid of two lines horizontally and two lines vertically to divide your image into nine spaces. Place the subject of your image, whether that be a person, thing or the body of text, on one of the four places those lines intercede.


For example, if you own a style boutique and would like to showcase some of your outfits along with some text about them, you would place the outfits on the left two interceding dots and the text on one of the right interceding dots. This strategy creates visual asymmetry, making your advertisement look more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, as well as creating visual tension, which will keep your audience’s attention. Forcing them to choose between looking at the outfits or reading the text first will spark their curiosity about the one they didn’t choose, making them more likely to view both.


Use visual elements to reinforce your brand identity

Using your brand colors in your images can be a subtle but effective way to reinforce your brand identity. It may seem an obvious step to take when creating a graphic, but it may not occur to you when choosing images. You can use a tint or a filter to change an image to match the colors of your brand, but beware. Many of these filters can be overpowering and will be recognizable to your audience, which can undermine your message instead of reinforcing it. Instead it’s best to choose that already include your brand colors and then add a very subtle filter or tint to make those colors pop.


Fonts are another visual element that can be used to reinforce your brand identity. How do you want your brand to be viewed? Are you a fresh, fun brand? Then choose a fresh, fun font. It might be worth it to try out multiple fonts and see which ones resonate with the audience you’re targeting. Your font can simultaneously complement your other visual elements and really underline the message your content delivers.


If you don’t know where to start, a good place is to take a look at your logo and website. Get a feel for the colors that you use, or make note of which fonts you use in your headings and paragraphs. Using these same visual elements in your ads can create a cohesiveness across your business. That way if someone clicks on your ads, or remembers them for later, that strong sense of branding will stick with them and give them more confidence in your business. 


If you still feel unsure of where to start or how to begin and would like help building your paid social ads or creating your mobile & display advertising campaigns, contact Hyport Digital today to get the most out of your marketing.


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