One of my pet hates as a designer is ugly, cluttered design. Whether it be a website, a brochure or a press ad, it’s something that I come across far too often.

We’ve all seen an advert that has multiple strap lines, copious amounts of imagery, enough body copy on there to create a short novel, topped off with a big dollop of ‘make my logo bigger cream’. This type of advertising instantly repels consumer engagement. It’s an off-putting bombardment of unclear messages, and more often than not these types of adverts simply get overlooked by the customer.

So what’s the solution?

When it comes to content, you (understandably) may feel the need to list every single service you offer, use all the associated imagery, display every different way to get in touch, proudly list all of your well-regarded clients AND include 5 different CTA’s. Naturally, you want to inform and educate the consumer about your business as best you can… but this isn’t always the wisest choice when it comes to advert design. Less is definitely more.

The key to consumer engagement is clean, crisp, concise messaging. If the information is easy to digest, then the consumer is far more likely to spend time reading the ad. Stripping back your content captures the core principles of the company and key selling messages better than trying to sell everything your company offers in one go.

Further consideration is needed with:


Is imagery even needed at all for this particular ad? Too many images can look chaotic and detract from the core message. In some instances imagery is best left off, depending on the size of the advert space you are working with.

White space

Remember: white space is key. This is how the designer emphasises the key elements on the page without overcrowding. White space allows the consumer to immediately process the information and digest the key messages easily.


How much copy is needed? Try to reduce copy to a minimum, this will make the key messages jump out of the page and immediately allow your target market to see what the advert is all about. The shorter the key message is, the better. Punchy tag lines are memorable and leave a lasting impression.


Is the typeface easy to read? The use of a bad typeface can be detrimental to your advert design. It is important that it is a clean typeface suited to the overall company brand. Typographical elements can often hinder an advert design if it’s too dramatic. When fewer elements are used within a design, typography becomes all the more powerful!


Your logo doesn’t necessarily need to take up a quarter of the page. We’ve all seen those adverts that look like they have had a healthy smear of the logo enhancing formula applied, and it’s not a pretty look. When a logo takes over the ad it becomes intrusive and detracts from the rest of the content. Keep your logo to a modest size. The consumer will still know who you are without it hitting them in the face.

By applying all of the above principles to your marketing materials you’re sure to capture the attention of your desired audience and leave a lasting impression that will have your customer wanting to know more.

Here are some examples of well-executed marketing materials, which put into practice what I have preached:



Need help with your marketing materials? Cornerstone can help with design, content creation, idea generation and much more! Get in touch today.

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