Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: 9 Design Rules To Create An Effective Print Advertisement

9 Design Rules To Create An Effective Print Advertisement

Creating a print advertisement can sometimes be challenging for some designers.
Here are some designs rules that you could follow to create an effective one!
Created by Jack Forrest |

Working with design is more than just creating appealing and colorful details. It is especially true if you are creating a design for an advertisement. Designing an effective print ad needs thoughtful ideas and a strategic plan. Eventually, your progress will go back to the design basics and the rules of developing print advertisement.

So, is the same rules for designing advertisements in general? At some points, you will find the relatable guidelines with other kinds of advertising models. But, for an effective print advertisement, you will need a more specific pinpoint. It goes to the fact that you cannot put music, moving pictures in print ads. So, what are they? Read further to find the rules. 


The Rules For The Best Print Advertisement Design 

1. Use An Effective Headline 

One thing that you need to consider about print advertisements is the limited space and details. You can't add interesting music or moving pictures just like video content or TV commercial. It is also hard to pinpoint the message only with the copy. So, the use of effective headlines will be your one and most vital one among other rules. 

What should you do? When it comes to print media, you are far less saturated than digital space. You are more likely unable to play with many elements to avoid over designing. In this case, your advertisement headline should be your main attention. You will need to use a powerful word for the headline to grab your audience's attention. 

The main point is to ensure you can persuade and make them want to continue reading the print media. You will need to ensure the main advertisement title is short and simple. That is the point of the rules. While it is modest, it also has to pique the audience's curiosity. But, to make an effective print advertisement title, you have to learn about the target audience. 

If you know the proper target audience and its demographic, it will be easier to work with an enticing title. One of the tricks behind an effective advertisement title or headline is avoiding the business fact. Remember that the main point is to attract people's attention. So, part of the best rule is don't show the fact before they go to the body content. 

Another good point about this print design is to consider subheadings. Since print ads have a limited surface, ensure the copy is clear yet informative. But if you are working with a longer advertisement, breaking down the information will make your ads easier to comprehend. It is also way more inviting than a cramped ad.  

Generally speaking, a useful print advertisement should have an enticing point that makes readers interested. The rules are to avoid abstract and informational headlines. You can work with a better headline that shows your product benefits. For example, save $300 a year in heating with $10 tools. The advertisement will make people curious about the product. 

Created by Jack Forrest |


2. Be Unique 

One of the reasons why people start to move on to digital advertisement is due to its ability to be unique. However, you can do the same with print media. The rule behind this idea is to embrace your brand in your print. You will need to put your best in your design, text, and ads. Thus, it makes a definite and distinctive point that demonstrates your product. 

Being unique itself should also relate to the brand identity. If you can work with a unique and effective print advertisement, then you are bound to be apart from competitors. How important is it? As part of the design rules, the idea refers to the Unique selling proposition term. It is something that you will need to learn and plan from the beginning of brand design. 

So, how to be unique? The rules of being unique come from your product and competitor research. You can design a print advertisement that looks different and unique after learning about the competitor and market. So, the first thing that you will need to do is know your opponent. 

One of the points of this rule is to choose a competitor's advertisement with similar services and products. Take your time to learn and analyze their promotional strategy. Do they use print or digital? What kind of content, placement, and positioning do they use? It is also a great way to learn about their success and unsuccessful attempts. 

Thus, you got an insight into what you should and should not do. As you learn about their advertising strategy, you also need to know about your brand situation. How is your company better than the competitor? If you know the answer, it will help you tackle all the design rules, including creating a punching headline and an effective print advertisement. 

Created by Nick Barclay |


3. A Clear And Concise Copy Is The Key 

Since you are working for print, one of the rules that you have to follow is using a clear and concise copy. What is it, and why? Truthfully, this kind of advertisement communicates with text and pictures. You cannot add other elements such as video narrative to help the audience get your ad's message. That is why working with a skilled copywriter is one of the vital rules. 

Again, the primary element of a successful printed commercial is the copy. You will need to make it easier to understand so you can deliver the message. To work with the copy, some of the rules are to eliminate ornate and convoluted sentence structure. Try to find the keyword and the proper copy that can represent your brand. 

In this case, most of the advertising mediums (print or digital) will have the same rules. Being concise is the key. No matter if you got a high-end design or cool images, nothing would reach your audience if you cannot portray a clear copy. Is it enough to just take care of the copy? No, you also need to ensure clarity and readability. 

Try to ask other people to look at your print advertisement. Ask them whether they have a hard time reading or understanding the sentences. With that idea, you will know the rules, flaws, and highlights. It is also a great way to find the justified impression from a different point of view. Thus, you can make improvements to your print ads copy. 

What kind of changes do you need to make? Some of the rules checklists are the font type, size, layout, and length. Your main editorial and copywriter should know how to emphasize the product without being too fancy or too much. One of the effective print advertisement examples goes to newspaper ads. 

You can see most of them are very clear about their purpose and advertisement objective. Companies only use a very basic paragraph structure, such as font size, style, and spacing. One of the reasons is to help elevate the print readability level. The advertisement will also work with the white space, background, alignment, etc. Those will be the basic rules to follow. 

Does that mean you have to go basic? No, it is not. The newspaper is a great example of how to use the correct font. You can see that the Serif font is mostly used since it is easier to read. It also works with black and white background. You can get more creative with your print advertisement, such as using sans serif font. So, the rules depend on the use.

The rules will throw you back to the target audience point. Do you want to make a more formal or casual commercial? It will eventually affect your choice of fonts. It also relates to your body copy and overall design. You might have to work with 9 to 13 font points to ensure the print ads are readable. And lastly, check the spelling and grammatical errors. So it looks professional. 

Created by Luca Ricci |


4. Work With Simplicity 

Just because you need to make an effective print advertisement with clear font and punching headlines, it does not mean you have to over-design everything. There are chances that print ads can look too fancy or too much from their font selection. The best text or font copy rules for your advertisement should be in plain font. 

Why so? If you follow the newspaper design that is all serif, the ads will look too basic. One of the best rules to hold is to use plain font and clear information. It is also a good consideration to work with standard black text. Sometimes, working with simple ideas for your body text is the key to easier read content. 

It also goes the same with the other elements. In print media, you are bound to be limited with text and picture design. It shows that you don't have to put every element into the advertisement. One of the best rules that you can use is the "less is more" motto. It highlights that being simple helps accentuate the primary message in your content. 

That is why a print advertisement will have a clear focus. It will focus on the product details, benefits, or positive value. When it comes to text rules, use one to three different fonts and colors. It is also necessary to pay attention to the theme. Thus, you can choose the proper text structure, text hierarchy, tone, layout, and images in your ads. 

Created by Jack Forrest |


5. Play With White Space 

One of the rules that pretty much exist in all of the design ideas is maximizing the use of white space. In print advertisements, digital, or even on the website design, you will find that the white space is your friend. The point of this idea is to work and ensure the space helps you create an effective message delivery. 

How do the rules work? There are many misunderstandings about white space usage. Some people are still trying to fill up all of the white space with information. Meanwhile, an effective print advertisement will only occupy the necessary white space. Thus, the design will not look too overwhelming for the audience. 

So, what should you do with white space? If you want to make a clear, readable, and straightforward design, try to incorporate white space in many ways. One of the rules is to have a proper ratio. Thus, the ads are more reader-friendly and also have visual appeal. At some point, it will make your ads appear more professional and proportionally designed.  

Created by Jack Forrest |


6. Use Image Carefully 

Adding an image is not a bad choice. At some point, you can make a more effective print advertisement since the image helps tell the message. But, the rules of adding images are more than just clarifying the message. It has more benefits for advertisement as long as you are careful at adding images in it. 

The first thing that you can get from the image rules is to elevate the attention spans. An advertisement that only focuses on text might be off-putting or boring. Adding a single image in your print will make people remember the content. At the same time, carefully chosen images will also help communicate your message. 

Another reason to use and adapt the image's additional rules goes to the fact that the image will help attract attention. Remember that you can convey many meanings from a visual. The color, imagery, and details help people to find the meaning. It helps create an effective print advertisement that entices your target audience's attention. 

Part of the rules that you have to consider is to choose the image carefully. A print tends to have a greater limit than a digital advertisement. Thus, you need to ensure the image or visuals are necessary. Avoid using generic photos that are purely used for decoration. Try to choose images that work with your text, information, and product. 

It is also great to pay attention to the image resolution. Since you are working with print advertisements, one of the rules is to provide artwork that is on the full high resolution. The sufficient resolution should be about 300Dpi. Thus, the print result will not get pixelated. The original photography will work the best. And don't forget to not get overboard and too fancy.  

Created by Jack Forrest |


7. Show The Benefits Of Your Product 

Why do people read advertisements? Most of the time, they want a product that fits their needs. In this case, the rules highlight your product benefits. So your audience knows what they got. It is a vital point in advertisements that feature your brand's product and services. It is also a part where people will decide whether they want to take action or not. 

So, you need to always consider the benefit rules. To make it effective, you can show what makes your brand different from others. Since you have a limited location in a print advertisement, ensure you can focus on the solution on the target needs. So, you can shed off some of the problem itself. 

Another good rule for an effective print advertisement is adding testimonials. Some companies and designers add this kind of information in their print to build credibility and trust. You can do the same and show the outstanding benefit that awaits. But, remember to pay attention to the layout, copy, and white space to make everything clear or legible. 

Created by Javid Turablı |


8. Don't Forget The Call To Action 

After you mention the benefits, part of the rules that you will always need in the advertisement is CTA. CTA or call to action has the same role as the headline. You start strong with the headline, so you need to end the print with the same energy. The thing is that you need to ensure your audience knows what they have to do. And the answer is your advertisement CTA. 

There are many tricks to make an effective CTA. One of them is to generate a feeling of urgency. The rules are pretty simple. You can add scarcity points such as limited offers or discounts. It is also a great CTA tactic to include coupons with expiry dates. All you need to do is to urge your audience to take action at the end of the print advertisement. 

9. Make Sure The Contact Information Is Stands Out 

Nothing goes to your bank if your print does not signify any contact information. So, the last rule of the advertisement is clear contact details. The trick to gaining the best sales is to provide a range of options. You can highlight and tell many ways to get in touch through your advertisement details. As an example, contact through the website, number, address, etc. 

At the same time, as part of the vital rules in creating an effective print advertisement, you will need to ensure everything works. Offering ranges of contact service is not a bluff or gimmick. They should be reachable. So, your customer has options to reach you with whatever they find the most convenient one. If you do it right, it will also elevate your brand credibility.  

Created by Jack Forrest |



Those are some of the basic rules that you will need to use for print advertisements. The ideas are not too far different from advertisement design in general. You have to pay attention to the headline, add a clear copy, show the benefits and information, be unique, give CTA, and use images. Since you are working with print, your options are limited. So you got to be smart.  

The Most Updated Logo Design Trends in 2024

The Most Updated Logo Design Trends in 2024

The Beginner's Guide to Illustrate a Children's Book - Kreafolk

The Beginner's Guide to Illustrate a Children's Book

30 Best Viking Tattoo Ideas You Should Check - Kreafolk

30 Best Viking Tattoo Ideas You Should Check

30 Best Abstract Painting Ideas You Should Check - Kreafolk

30 Best Abstract Painting Ideas You Should Check

30 Aesthetic Desk Setups for Creative Workspace - Kreafolk

30 Aesthetic Desk Setups for Creative Workspace

Nike Logo Design: History & Evolution - Kreafolk

Nike Logo Design: History & Evolution

The Complete Guide to Designing Custom Coffee Bags - Kreafolk

The Complete Guide to Designing Custom Coffee Bags

The Essential Guide to Logo Design Grid Systems - Kreafolk

The Essential Guide to Logo Design Grid Systems

The Psychology of Shapes in Logo Designs - Kreafolk

The Psychology of Shapes in Logo Designs

How To Check If Your Logo Is Unique & Unused - Kreafolk

How To Check If Your Logo Is Unique & Unused

Leave a Comment

All comments are moderated before being published.