Obnoxious Advertising Design

Obnoxious Advertising Design

advertising design tipsGood advertising design: good information, an entertaining approach to advertising, etc. Sometimes, when we educate our clients about inbound marketing, we like to tell them what inbound marketing is NOT… it is NOT obnoxious.

There are a lot of things that can be obnoxious about advertising, but for the moment, we are going to focus on obnoxious design. Many times, obnoxious design occurs because a designer is selling cheap, canned services. Maybe it can come from a client insisting on an ad campaign that is obnoxious by nature.

Think inbound marketing, folks. Here are some major things to avoid in your advertising design. Are

Yellow star bursts… and their friend the asterisk.

These guys are all over the place in advertising design. The retail industry is a major offender. Sure, yellow star burst quickly communicates a sale… consumers have been trained for years to understand that. Unfortunately, smart consumers also know that 99.9% of the time, the yellow star burst is accompanied by an insidious little asterisk. That little asterisk says, “Hey, my buddy the yellow star burst? I know he says you can get that mattress for $299, but what he really means is that that’s $299 a month for twelve months. I’m here to tell you… that’s a terrible price. Just a heads up so that we can’t get slammed for false advertising.” Avoid the yellow star burst at all cost. It’s hideous and customers are trained to look for that asterisk, m’kay?

Impact is not so impactful (anymore).

Let’s preface this whole thing with one big, fat opinion: Impact is a great font. It’s elegant, readable and spaced well no matter how you use it. It can and should be used in lots of places… but your ads aren’t one of them. Consumers are so sick of seeing Impact that it isn’t even funny. If we had a penny for every time Impact was used to say, “NO MONEY DOWN FOR 6 MONTHS,” we would be running the country. Find a font that no one else is using. Do you want your design to look like everyone else’s?!

Eyewash in advertising design is bad.

Eyewash: graphics for the sake of having graphics. Giant circles, swoops and smiley faces don’t make sense for car ads. If you are designing an ad, make it logical. Anything else is just noise. Also, remember that when you add a million elements to your ads, you are losing some opportunity to be effective. Instead of that smiley face, think about a QR code, a website or a pitch for your social media. Make your advertising design pack a punch.

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Carolyn Byard

Carolyn is Iconic's art director and office dog handler. She strives to build unicorns, and she is completely obsessed with the fusion of beautiful design with strong strategy for unforgettable user interfaces.