5 Steps to Designing Ads that Work

Best practices for every design project are all based on the same design standards and principles. It also takes good taste and clever execution for a design to be successful and stand out and have an impact. For ads, you have to be a lot more critical because designing ads can be trickier due to the limited space where you have to catch your audience’s attention and deliver the message effectively.


It only takes one look for the audience to decide if your ad is powerful enough to have an influence on them. As a general overview, here are the 5 basic steps you should take to designing ads that work.


Write ad copy that hooks

A person’s attention span is short; if something doesn’t interest them in the first few seconds, they move on. That’s why an ad serves as the perfect bait. It is small and contains a short copy that catches the audience’s attention and leads them to a landing page once they are hooked enough to want to know more about a service or product.


The copy is your ad’s lifeline. With a few key words, a strong copy can spark curiosity and make a connection with the reader. An effective copy is one that can compel a reader to take the desired action.


The copy’s typography should also be consistent with the overall theme and feel of the design.


Let the design tell the story

The visuals should be able to tell the story even without the copy.


Again, consistency is key. Both design and copy should provoke the same emotion the ad intends to convey. More importantly, they should also be consistent with your branding and identity. If you are creating an ad campaign that involves more than one ad, whether you are incorporating different designs with the same copy or a single design with different copies, make sure that there is continuity to create recall.


The design and its visual elements should have a unified message that both tells a story and champions your brand’s aesthetic.


Leverage your USP

What’s your business or brand’s unique selling proposition? What makes you different from your competitors? Make use of your USP in your ad and showcase it in a clever way. Even with the ordinary, you can think of out-of-the-box ways to present it in an unexpected and intriguing way.


Combine various elements to make your visual ad campaign unique, interesting, thought-provoking, and surprising. Be careful not to make the design too abstract and it should be cohesive and easily comprehensible. Ultimately, the end goal should still be delivered effectively to make the audience act upon the call to action.


Encourage interaction

Developments in the digital world have provided opportunities for ads to be more interactive and to offer an immersive experience to the audience.


Creating emotional connection can go beyond the visuals and the message. Social media is a great example of a platform where there is a wide array of possibilities on how you can engage with your audience. Give your ad the power to immerse your audience and create a culture that will become a trend and that the people will want to be a part of.


Leave a call to action

The main point of ads is to catch attention and leave the audience interested for more information. So, the call to action should always be present in your ads, to remind them that more information is available. Further, the call to action should always be clear so that the users know where to click and why they should click.



There may be a lot of requirements and technicalities in designing ads, especially on scaling and number of words. But adhering to technical specs won’t make your ad work if it looks ugly. Don’t be one of those ad designers who cram so much information and elements within that little space, making it look untidy and unprofessional. Use whitespace to your advantage, tell a story, and make sure your ads are of high standard in both design and composition.


For compelling design and content done professionally, the monsters of MicroCreatives, consisting of graphic designers, copywriters, animators, and web developers, handle different kinds of outsourced creative projects, both for print and digital platforms.