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


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


Design Process

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 and submit the research exercise.
  5. Define the project's objectives.
  6. Define the target audience.
  7. Identify the competition and its selling points.
  8. Define the client's unique selling proposition.
  9. Research and collect examples of well designed ad campaigns using Communication Arts, Type Directors Annual, Design Inspiration or Print's Regional Design Annual
  10. Collect examples that...
  11. 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
    • Irony
    • Humor
    • Visual surprise
    • Merge things
    • Personify things

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


  1. Create a mind map to relate words and images to the product.
  2. Brainstorm concepts and solutions.
  3. Assemble a mood board to measure the client and art director's response to visual styles.
    Include the following...
    • images / techniques
    • color palette
    • typography choices
    • industry examples
  4. Generate a mood board using gomoodboard.
  5. Create a simple HTML document with links to your mood board and place on the server for review.
  6. Obtain feedback from your art director.
Obtain Step 2: Mood Boards sign-off from your process instructor.

Develop concepts

  1. Develop quick concepts, in thumbnail form.
  2. 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 of the product or service through the creative solution or headline.
  3. Incorporate the four components of an ad..
    • strategy
    • concept
    • design
    • copy
  4. 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)
  5. Verify that your work meets thumbnail criteria:
    • Generate as many thumbnail sketches necessary to...
      communicate a minimum of 5 different successful 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
    • conveys composition, sizing and position
    • includes typographic or illustrative imagery
    • conveys photographic imagery: 1 | 2 | 3
    • 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
  6. Submit your 5 most promising concepts to the art director for review.
  7. Determine the 3 best concepts to develop.

Obtain Step 3: Design (Thumbnails / Concepts) sign-off from your process instructor.

Submit rough layouts to the art director.

  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. After the art director approves your roughs, make any changes indicated.
  3. Present your designs.
  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.

Meet with the production manager.

  1. Determine the skills and steps needed to produce your design (digital strategy).
  2. Discuss your digital 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.

Produce the final comprehensive design (digital comp).

  1. Create all native files (raster and vector images).
  2. Assemble text and images using the appropriate software.
  3. Includes logo and copy for 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. Indicates usage of manual tracking, kerning and leading.
  6. Use the document grid and ruler guides to align text and graphics.
  7. Shows visual hierarchy within the body text.
    (usage of book, italics, bold, line / implied line, or shape for type reversal)
  8. Make backup copies of all files after each work session.
  9. Print a color laser proof and check for correctness and accuracy.
    (Spell check and Proof Read!)
  10. Create PDFs for design approval.
  11. Present your final design to your art director for sign-off/approval.

Instructor / Class critique.

  1. Print out the full color design for review.
  2. Have a "Color Digital Comp/ Peer Review" of your design.
  3. Make necessary copy and design revisions.

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

  1. Verify and 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.

Complete final file preparation with your production manager.

  1. Create job folder(s) as instructed by your production manager.
  2. Prepare raster and vector images correctly for commercial printing.
  3. 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
  4. Using the print preparation checklist have a "Technology Peer Review" of your project files before meeting your instructor.
  5. Check to see if overprints, knockouts, and rich blacks are correct.
  6. Verify:
    • Correct raster file sampling and preparation.
    • Correct vector file preparation.
    • Correct spot color usage.
    • Files are built to vendor size and specifications.
  7. Use standard PDF presets for file preparation...
    • for print (x-1a)
    • for client presentation (smallest file size)
  8. Complete service provider package.
  9. Copy all final documents to the server folder(s) specified by the client and production manager.
  10. Use a back up filing system.
  11. Submit final full color design on a 11"x17" and PDF 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 8: Final Deliverable sign-off from your technology instructor.


  1. TBD



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


  1. TBD

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