10 Characteristics of a Great Print Ad

April 15, 2016

Great print ads capture the imagination, create brand recognition, and inspire consumers to purchase products every single day. Every day, we consume hundreds, if not thousands, of advertisements, whether they’re being mailed to us, we read them in a magazine, or we see them on billboards as we drive to work.


For every great ad we see, there are many more that aren’t so great. Where a good ad captures attention, we might look at a bad one for less than a second before realizing we aren’t interested. For businesses, having great print ads is an absolute must-do.


What makes an ad good? In our opinion, a great print ad:


  1. Draws attention. If the ad doesn’t draw attention, it’s never going to get noticed. Bright colors, big, bold text, and eye-catching images are all great ways to draw attention.
    Remember, however, that the reader’s attention should be drawn all to one place, and not scattered all over a cluttered ad that’s hard to follow.


  2. Holds interest. What good is an ad if the reader doesn’t read enough to see what product it’s for or what it’s selling? After catching the reader’s attention, great ads hold onto it long enough to make a lasting impression.

  3. Is easy to remember. Great ads leave a lasting impression precisely because they’re so easy to remember. Whether it’s a creative image or a catchy tagline, something about your ad has to stand out enough for readers to be able to remember it.

  4. Has a clear, simple message. Great ads aren’t often crowded with lots of text—they have simple messages and are easy to follow. The simpler and more concise your message is, the likelier it is to be remembered as time goes on.

  5. Isn’t confusing. Too much clutter is a bad thing. Resist the urge to try to cram as much information as possible onto the page.

  6. Openly announces what it’s for. Are you selling a product? A service? Advertising a short-term sale? Trying to build brand recognition? Whatever your goal is, make sure it’s clear what your ad is for so readers know exactly what it is they’re looking at.

  7. Relates to the brand. How many ads have you looked at, thought were interesting, and then couldn’t recall what they were for down the road? If the ad doesn’t clearly relate back to a brand, cause, or product, it probably won’t have the results you want down the road.

  8. Is in line with the rest of the brand’s marketing. As we recently mentioned on our blog, great marketing strategies tell a story. Great ads play off of that story and look similar enough to the rest of a company’s marketing that it’s clear they’re related, even without the logo and tagline.

  9. Has a call to action. What are you asking someone to do? The easier it is for a reader to make a connection, the more likely it is that they’ll take action.

  10. Gets results. Last, but not least, great print ads get results. It isn’t good enough to have a great ad that does nothing—it should drive people to your business.


Most people know a great print ad when they see one, but these 10 characteristics should hopefully help nail down exactly what it is that makes some ads stand out, and others fade into the distance.


Do you need help with the design and execution of a great print ad for your business? There's no one better than our team here at WGi. We have international awards and clients who rave about our graphic design and speed to market. To learn more or request a quote, contact us today.

Please reload

© 2018 Web Graphics, Inc.

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon