Ad Campaign


You are a lead graphic designer working for an advertising agency. A non-profit organization has recently approached the agency to design a public service announcement (PSA) to deliver a critical social message to the public. The client would like to see 3 uniquely different concepts that raise awareness, change public attitudes and/or behavior towards the social issue. 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, subhead and/or visual.
  • Use meaningful statistics.
  • State clearly the response/action the target audience should take.
  • Create a tagline (claim) for the campaign.
  • Tell the target audience where to find more information.

The client would like to use the following advertising formats:

  • Web Banner Ad (Leaderboard728 x 90)
  • Full color magazine ad (8" x 10.75" vertical)
  • Poster Design (11"x17" vertical)
  • Mobile Ad ( Display Ad 300px x 250px )
  • Outdoor Transit or Billboard (research and 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, one concept will be chosen for the final comprehensive design. The final comprehensive design will need to simulate the final printed or digital ads as closely as possible.

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 Production Manager will help you determine a technology strategy for producing the design. You will also package and deliver all necessary files to the Production Manager for archival purposes.


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

2018 : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

AAF National Award Winner : Morgan Lynch

NOTE: 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




Develop the marketing strategy and design brief.
Think critically and problem solve.

  1. Read chapter 12 "Advertising" in Graphic Design Solutions by Robin Landa.
  2. Research social issues at: or
  3. Download Ad Council or Amnesty International logo to use in layouts.
  4. Fill out, print and submit the research exercise.
  5. Define the project's objectives.
  6. Define the target audience and write a tagline for the campaign.
  7. Research and collect examples of well designed ad campaigns using Communication Arts, Type Directors Annual, Design Inspiration or Print's Regional Design Annual.
  8. Collect examples that...
  9. Choose examples that clearly are concept driven designs and show the following creative techniques...
    • Visual analogy
    • Visual metaphor
    • Figure of speech / pun
    • Symbolism
    • Icons
    • Life experience
    • The problem is the solution
    • Compare / Contrast
    • Exaggeration
    • Humor
    • Visual surprise
    • Merge things
    • Personify things

Obtain Step 1: Research sign-off from your process instructor.


Design (Thumbnails / Concepts)


  1. Create a mind map to relate words and images to the product.
  2. Brainstorm concepts and solutions.
  3. Develop quick concepts, in thumbnail form.
  4. Incorporate the four components of an ad..
    • strategy
    • concept
    • design
    • copy
  5. 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)
  6. Verify that your work meets thumbnail criteria:
    • Generate as many thumbnail sketches necessary to...
      communicate a minimum of 10 different concepts / main ideas
    • shows composition variations for each concept
    • are fast and un-detailed
    • are drawn in proportion to the dimensions of the finished piece
    • clearly conveys photographic or illustrative imagery: 1 | 2 | 3
    • conveys composition, sizing and position
    • includes typographic, photographic or illustrative imagery
    • shows general shapes of graphic elements (images, text, etc.)
    • displays readable headline type
    • are concept driven
    • indicates that you can come up with more then one good idea
  7. Submit your 10 most promising concepts to the art director for review.
  8. Determine the 3 best concepts to develop.

Obtain Step 2: Design (Thumbnails / Concepts) sign-off from your process instructor.




  1. Assemble a mood board to:
    - communicate potential visual styles to an art director or client

    Include the following...
    • images / artistic techniques
    • color palette
    • typography choices
    • award winning industry examples
  2. Generate a mood board using gomoodboard.
  3. Using a text document provide links to your mood board. Place file on the server for review.
  4. Obtain feedback from your art director.

Obtain Step 3: Mood Boards sign-off from your process instructor.




  1. Develop three roughs from the thumbnails selected by your art director that meet the following criteria:
    • work off of the previous thumbnail sketches
    • indicate type choice (typeface, case, type style, etc)
    • are drawn in proportion or actual size
    • indicate usage of color
    • incorporate the design elements
    • are computer generated (or a combination of hand drawn / computer generated )
    • convey copyright free typographic, photographic or illustrative imagery
    • Tells the "story"
    • addresses and relates to the target audience
    • communicate a "clear" or "understandable" message
    • are repurposed for different media formats
    • printed out in black and white using the template provided.
  2. Present your designs in PDF format.
  3. Take notes of any suggestions for improvement.
  4. The art director will then sign off and approve one design concept to be taken to final stage.

Obtain Step 4: Roughs sign-off from your process instructor.

Technology Strategy


  1. Determine the skills and steps necessary to produce your design.
  2. Discuss your technology strategy with the production manager.
  3. Choose the appropriate software to create graphic artwork by understanding the difference between vector and raster images.
  4. Ask the production manager about any issues you are unsure of.
  5. Create job folder(s) as instructed by your production manager.
  6. When it is clear that you understand how to produce your design correctly and efficiently, the production manager will sign off/approve your strategy.

Obtain Step 5: Technology Strategy sign-off from your technology instructor.

Final Design


  1. Create all native files (raster and vector images).
  2. Assemble text and images using the appropriate software.
  3. Include necessary logo and copy for the event (who, what, when, where and how).
  4. Use layers to isolate graphic elements in order to manipulate / change individual parts of the design.
  5. Use manual tracking, kerning and leading.
  6. Use the document grid and ruler guides to align text and graphics.
  7. Show visual hierarchy within the body text.
    (usage of book, italics, bold, line / implied line, or shape for type reversal)
  8. Print black & white laser proofs to check for correctness and accuracy.
    (Spell check and Proof Read!)
  9. Create PDFs for design approval.
  10. Make backup copies of all files after each work session.
  11. Present your final design to your art director for sign-off/approval.

Instructor / Class critique...

  1. Print out the full color designs for review (actual size or sized to fit 11"x17").
  2. Have a "Color Digital Comp/ Peer Review" of your design.
  3. Review suggestions for improvement.

Obtain Step 6: Final Design sign-off from your process instructor.


Design Revisions


  1. Using the suggestions for improvement... make necessary copy and design revisions.
  2. Submit final full color design on a 11"x17" using the presentation template on or before the deadline date that indicates entry level graphic design by completing the list of items above.

Obtain Step 7: Design revisions sign off from your process instructor.

Final Deliverable


  1. Create job folder(s) as instructed by your production manager.
  2. Prepare raster and vector images correctly for commercial printing by...
    • setting the correct printing resolution for a 150 lpi halftone screen (300 ppi)
    • cropping and sizing the image to match the rough layout
  3. Clearly name layers to isolate graphic elements to be used for future applications and allowing another designer to easily manipulate / change individual parts of the design.
  1. Use effective file management and follow instructions for saving files to appropriate volumes by...
    • using descriptive / logical file names, formats and extensions
    • using a dedicated folder for working files
  2. Using the print preparation checklist have a "Technology Peer Review" of your project files before meeting with your instructor.
  3. Check to see if overprints, knockouts, and rich blacks are correct.
  4. Verify:
    • Correct raster file sampling and preparation.
    • Correct vector file preparation.
    • Correct spot color usage.
    • Files are built to vendor size and specifications.
  5. Use standard PDF presets for file preparation...
    • for print (x-1a)
    • for client presentation (smallest file size)
  6. Complete service provider package.
  7. Copy all final documents to the server folder(s) specified by the client and production manager.
  8. Use a back up filing system.

Obtain Step 8: Final Deliverable sign-off from your technology instructor.

Assess your work for both Process and Technology and hand in the sign-off booklet.

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