On Wednesday of this week, an anonymous individual decided to place their own, handmade ads on a Chicago Blue Line train. After sitting across from the ads for a solid 20 minutes, I had some critiques. The following are some tips for that person regarding effective advertising.

Understand what it is you’re trying to get someone to do with this ad. Is it just a brand advertisement? Meaning you just want them to see your name and associate it with your service/product. Or is meant to be a conversion-based advertisement? Meaning you want them to take some kind of action.

If it’s meant to make me take an action, be sure you’ve thought through that process. If you want me to visit a particular web page, make sure you look at what that web page says. Is there a logical connection for me if I saw this ad, and then went straight to that ad.

Understand where you want the person’s eye to go. What should they see/read first, second, third, etc? You do this by establishing a hierarchy among your elements before you take it to a design. Once you’ve established the most important elements, find a way to make those be seen first. This can be done in a number of ways including type size, color, placement, imagery, and more.

Knowing where your advertisement is going to appear is very important in the design process. How do we know if the typography size should be 50pt or 950pt unless we know where people are going to see it.

For a magazine, this would work really well. It’s in front of someone, in their hand, they can examine the intricacies of your design. On a train, the person is already sitting a good distance away from the words. This means you’ll want to use a larger font size to ensure legibility, and ultimately, the communication of your ad.

I hope this helps, and keep up the hustle! I like what you’re doing.

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