How to Design an Effective Newspaper Ad

by Haley Montgomery; Updated September 26, 2017

Despite the many new media options available, traditional newspapers are still a great advertising venue for many types of businesses and organizations. The keys to maximizing your newspaper advertising dollars include ad size, frequency of runs and of course, the design of the ad. Here are some tips for designing newspaper ads that will give your marketing message the most exposure.

Step 1

Start with a powerful headline that will attract the reader's eye to your ad. Use relatively short phrases with action words related to your promotion. The use of humor, questions, seasonal references or popular cultural phrases can be effective as long as they are readily understood by your audience. If the ad is part of an ongoing promotion or one of several used in various media outlets, keep your headlines consistent. Make sure the headline is presented in a very readable font.

Step 2

Write a concise presentation of your promotion, sale or marketing message. Although your newspaper audience is interested in reading articles, they won't necessarily read your ad. Make sure the message you are trying to communicate is short and straightforward. Use bullet points rather than sentences. Highlight or bold recognizable brand names and promotion offerings. Include a call to action such as "call now," "visit our Web site," or "bring in this coupon."

Step 3

Use black and white space effectively. Because newspapers are mostly words and crowded advertising space, large areas of white or black tend to attract the reader's eye. Consider using minimal teaser text on larger black or white fields for your entire ad or for your headline area. This will make your ad stand out above others on the page.

Step 4

Choose typefaces and graphics that will reinforce your brand. Limit your fonts to three at most to give your ad a clean look. Make sure they are very readable and reflect the tone of your ad, whether classic and sophisticated or funky and trendy. Consider using elements of your logo or simple illustrations and photographs that can be repeated through multiple ad runs and media outlets to offer greater brand recognition.

Step 5

Give your logo and contact info the best placement. For newspaper ads, that means the bottom right corner. Because people read from left to right and top to bottom, placing your logo in the lower right will ensure that it is the last thing the reader sees as he scans your ad. Be sure to include your phone number and Web address with your logo.

About the Author

Haley Montgomery is a graphic designer in Starkville, Miss., where she writes about design, marketing, website development and parenting. Montgomery earned a bachelor's degree in graphic design at Mississippi State University and has worked in the advertising industry for 15 years. Her writing has been published by BrightHub.com and RootandSprout.com. She also writes a marketing blog at DuxDLux.com.