Posted in Marketing

12 pointers for practical retail advertising print ads

  1. Do not place a period at the end of a headline. Periods indicate that there is no need to read on.
  2. Begin headlines at top left. A reader’s eye naturally- falls to the upper left corner.
  3. “Serif’ typefaces are regarded as the most legible font; most newspapers use them due to their high readability and readers are comfortable with them.
  4. Avoid colour headlines because coloured headlines are distracting. Studies have also shown that the darker the colour, the greater the comprehension. Keep the text black if possible.
  5. Black text on a tinted background also increases comprehension. It is easier on the readers’ eyes than the black and white contrast.
  6. Avoid reverse print (e.g., white text on black background).
  7. Keep the layout clean, and use consistent type styles.
  8. Don’t let the design overshadow the message.
  9. Have a logo professionally designed.
  10. Make sure the ad contains clear information about where you are when you are open and how to reach you.
  11. Make sure the ad reflects your product and image.
  12. Establish a consistent look and maintain it. (Repetition builds recognition and trust.)

PS: Have you tried the retail improvement club yet?


5 thoughts on “12 pointers for practical retail advertising print ads

  1. Sheldon – not sure where you get the ‘boring’ bit. What I tried to communicate is that the actual offer (advertising proposition) should be on target & effective and that design should not get in the way of that. AND that we should understand how consumers read ads…


  2. Well you didn’t say any of those things. And anyway, what does “on target” and “effective” mean? Surely we don’t intend to create ads that are “off target” and “ineffective”?

    Maybe tip #13 could be “Ensure your headline has the benefit to the reader clearly stated. They don’t care about you or your product, they want to know what’s in it for them.” (In fact, your headline for this article is a good example 🙂


  3. Well, we can disagree with some stuff in there.

    I think that if all you competitors run ads with black text on white, you would totally stand out by doing the opposite. It shouldn’t be a rule.

    And the first one about the period, honestly, non-sense.



  4. Tom – appreciate the input. The idea behind the post was to consider what works technically (particularly) in print advertising. ‘Standing out’ is always important – it goes without saying. HOW you stand out is important and WHY you stand is important. Simply being different might get you noticed but won’t necessarily lead to a sale (for example).
    We’ll have to agree to disagree about the first point then. (Not saying there are creative exceptions, but it is a comment aimed at the DIY retailer/advertiser who may simply whip something up in Word and paste it into an ‘ad’. But exceptiosn prove the rule I think…)


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