Ad Campaign


You are a lead graphic designer working for an advertising agency. A non-profit organization has recently approached the agency to design an ad campaign to deliver a critical social message to the public. The client would like to see 3 uniquely different concepts based on a benefit to the consumer. Logo will be supplied by the client. The client will then sign off on one of the roughs for final production.

The client has the following criteria:

  • State the issue clearly in the headline and/or subhead or visual.
  • Use meaningful statistics.
  • State clearly the response/action the reader should take.
  • Create a tagline (claim) for the campaign.
  • Tell the reader where to find more information.

The client would like to use the following advertising formats:

  • Web Banner Ad (Leaderboard 720 x 90)
  • Full color magazine ad (8" x 10.75" vertical)
  • Poster Design (11"x17" vertical)
  • Mobile Ad ( Square 250px x 250px )
  • Outdoor Transit or Billboard (research / use local outdoor advertising dimensions)

You will work with your art director on research, idea exploration, and concept development of visual analogies. You will submit thumbnails to the art director, who will then choose 3 concepts to develop into 3 tight roughs. Once the roughs have been approved the Art Director will select one for the final comp.

A tight comprehensive that simulates the designs will need to be developed for the client.

In order to make sure that the job is scheduled appropriately, prints correctly and all electronic files are configured correctly you will be in close contact with the production manager. The final comprehensive designs will need to simulate the final printed pieces as closely as possible. The client has asked that all of the digital files be delivered at the completion of the project.

Photographic Visual Analogies: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Student Examples: 2016

Design Process:

  1. Research social issues at: or
  2. Fill out and submit the research exercise.
  3. Download Ad Council or Amnesty International logo to use in layouts.
  4. Think critically and problem solve.
  5. Research and collect examples of well designed ad campaigns to clarify conclusions in design thinking by collecting examples that...
  6. Communicate concept / composition using thumbnail sketches that...
    • are fast and undetached
    • shows that you can come up with more then one good idea
    • drawn in proportion to the dimensions of the finished piece
    • conveys an entirely separate or different creative concept (minimum of ten concepts)
    • shows emphasis, balance, rhythm, unity
    • shows use of Gestalt principles: similarity, proximity, continuation, closure, figure/ground
    • convey composition, sizing and position
    • shows the relationship between graphic elements
    • shows general shapes of graphic elements
    • indicates photographic or illustrative imagery
  7. Develop creative headlines and photographic solutions for the ad campaign by generating thumbnails using the following creative techniques:
    • visual analogy
    • visual metaphor
    • figure of speech / pun
    • symbolism
    • Icons
    • Life experience
    • The problem is the solution
    • Compare / Contrast
    • Exaggeration
    • Irony
    • Humor
    • Visual surprise
    • Merge things
    • Personify things
  8. Create a concept for the ad campaign that is the foundation of the advertising message; it answers the question, "What's in it for me?" and promotes the benefit through the creative solution or headline.
  9. Incorporate the four components of an ad..
    • strategy
    • concept
    • design
    • copy
  10. Incorporate the five elements of an ad...
    • visual
    • headline
    • body copy
    • tagline / claim
    • sign-off (logo, web address, photograph or illustration of the product or package)
  11. Develop / research copyright free illustrative or photographic images to incorporate into the rough designs.
  12. Submit a style board for each of your rough designs that...
    • shows thinking as it relates to the design principles
    • states the objective and your creative strategy
    • clearly shows quality and award winning industry examples
    • clearly shows creative usage of typography
    • clearly shows usage of color
    • has a visual hierarchy and is organized on a grid structure
  13. Develop creative design solutions that demonstrate effective use of the elements and principles of design by incorporating the elements into three rough designs.
  14. Communicate refined concept, detailed composition and typographic formatting of designs using tight roughs that...
    • work off of one of the previous thumbnail sketches
    • are drawn in proportion or actual size
    • convey type choice
    • convey type size, spacing and leading
    • indicate usage of color
    • convey photographic imagery: 1 | 2 | 3
    • are each an entirely different creative concept
    • are computer generated
    • are repurposed for different media formats
    • printed out in black and white using the template provided.
  15. Deliver a digital comprehensive design that...
    • indicates various advertising formats
    • is printed out in gray scale to be marked up
    • is trimmed to size (or 90% of size)
    • is well crafted and presentable
    • shows visual hierarchy within the body text (usage of book, italics, bold, line / implied line, or shape for type reversal)
    • indicates usage of the design elements: line, shape, texture, value, spatial depth
    • indicates usage of manual tracking, kerning and leading
    • includes the five elements of an ad (visual, headline, body copy, claim, and sign off)
    • has been spell checked
    • is as close to the finished printed piece as possible
    • printed out in black and white using the template provided.
  16. Be productive and use studio (class) time effectively by...
    • attending all class sessions
    • showing up with research materials
    • participating in concept development
    • using class time as an opportunity to get the job done
  17. Assess your work and make appropriate revisions by...
    • gaining peer feedback at the rough stage
    • gaining peer feedback at the digital comp stage
  18. Submit final color design using the template provided on or before the deadline date that indicates entry level graphic design by completing the list of items above.

Design Technology:

  1. Create job folder(s) as instructed by your production manager.
  2. Create typographic, illustrative and/or photographic imagery that is...
    • visually kerned and leaded
    • bezier curves are smooth and precise
    • photographic imagery is cropped, in proper resolution and non-distorted
    • set in the correct resolution to print (300ppi)
  3. Create composite images that look realistic when merged together.
  4. Prepare file dimensions and bleeds correctly for publication.
  5. Save all image files in an image folder within the job folder before placing them to ensure proper links.
  6. Save files for publication, banner ads, and outdoor by...

    • collecting specifications and requirements from all ad vendors
    • packaging all page layout files, graphics, and fonts to meet vendor specifications
    • using logical naming conventions
    • putting files on the server in the appropriate location outlined by your instructor
    • Prepare PDF versions:
      • for print (x-1a)
      • for client presentation (smallest file size)


  1. Creative brief template
  2. Mood board template
  3. Syllabus



  1. Mind maps
  2. Creative Headlines
  3. Visual Analogies / Metaphors


  1. Magazine technical specifications
  2. Column inches
  3. Logo tracing
  4. Extracting images from pdfs

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