Advertising design refers to the creation and organization of visual artwork used in advertisements (ads) for products and services. The designs used in advertising are created by graphic designers, and advertising agencies as well as the advertising departments of corporations employ these professionals to create and execute brochures, direct mail, web ads, and print ads. The design elements used include fancy lettering, borders, cartoons, illustrations, and photographs. The main difference between ad design and regular mainstream artwork is that advertising art must be designed to reach and compel the target audience to purchase products and services.
People who design advertising are not only talented in the art of creative design, they understand marketing and how to promote products and services through visual communication. Whereas a freelance fine artist may work on one creative piece of artwork for months, a graphic artist must constantly keep generating original pieces to meet campaign deadlines. Examples are all around, and include the banner ads on websites as well as newspaper ads for products such as shoes and watches. Graphic designers also create logos and symbols used in advertising to help inspire consumers to develop brand recognition, such as McDonald’s® golden arches.
It’s important to realize that, although advertising design is used to promote virtually every product and service sold today, it’s not something new. For instance, the logo for Bavarian Motor Works’ popular BMW automobiles was first created in 1917. The signature light blue and white used in the design are the traditional colors of Bavaria, Germany, where the cars are manufactured. The striking triangular check pattern is said to symbolize the rotation of a propeller. BMW’s logo design has worked well for the company’s advertising and has undergone only minor changes in the font and outlining details since it was created.
The illustrations and lettering used on packaging for foods and other products are also considered a part of advertising design, since consumers are influenced by how a product looks when they decide whether to purchase it or choose a competing product. Graphic designers who work in the advertising industry usually require a four-year degree. Since creative jobs in advertising are competitive, a graphic designer may intern at an ad agency while still in school and then begin at an entry-level position after graduating college. These design professionals often work with copywriters who write the words used in ads to create complete pieces.