Creating the perfect ad is a fundamentally imperfect practice. There’s no set of all-powerful guidelines that, when followed, will lead to unrivaled success. However, that’s not to say there aren’t some general principles that can point you in the right direction. Enter the Gestalt Principle.
The Gestalt Principle states that “the human eye sees objects in their entirety before perceiving their individual parts, suggesting the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In other words, people tend to visualize something in it’s entirely, rather than breaking it down into its individual components and analyzing them. This has many applications in varying mediums, but in advertising it means that consumers take in all aspects of your ad at once and judge it as a whole. Think of it like an orchestral concert. While each individual instrument may be well played, it’s the piece as a whole that sticks with you, and it would only take one out-of-tune player to ruin the experience.
This means that everything from the layout and content to the colors and font can have an effect on what consumers take away from your ad, often without anyone realizing it happened at all. Some of the factors that can come into play are:
- Layout – It goes without saying that the layout of your ad is critical. Having relevant information spread out all over the place, disconnected and separated by unrelated content doesn’t help anybody.
- Pictures – Pictures generally need to be relevant to the message of the ad. A shot of some children playing in a field, while lovely, will not really help people remember your Auto Repair business any better.
- Tone – Is the ad striving for “experienced professional”, “warm and friendly” or something else entirely? Keep things consistent.
- Font – This ties in heavily with the tone. If half of your ad is in traditional text and half in handwritten type, it could create an odd disconnect that would alienate potential customers.
- Color – Various colors and patterns can be used to do everything from capturing the personality of the business to calling attention to key selling points.
These are just a few of the myriad factors that need to be taken into account. That said these are by no means absolute rules. Examples can be found everywhere of successful ads doing unconventional things. The main point is to create an ad that is well organized and easy to understand while simultaneously answering questions and educating the consumer on why your business is the best available to help them.
For further discussion on creating a successful ad, see: