Does this sound familiar? You have a sale coming up for your store. You excitedly call your ad rep for the local newspaper and tell them you want an ad. They provide free graphic design for your ad, and you think “GREAT!” You tell them the copy, give them what you think are clear directions, excitedly wait for your ad proof, and then womp womp. The ad you get back looks ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE!!! It has happened more than once for my clients. They exasperatedly call me and plea for help. Well, that awful ad might just be your fault! You ask…how can that be? I gave them clear direction! Well, let’s take this example, let’s say you wanted your font to be pink. There are a million shades (ok maybe not a million) of pink.
You have to keep in mind, what you envision might not be what the designer has in mind. So we need to be as clear as possible. Here’s where a brand guide comes in handy. A brand guide is a document that you can send to a designer that has all of your brand colors, fonts, textures, logos, etc. This document will give them that EXACT shade of pink you want. It will tell the designer you want this beautiful font…not that wacky font.
It will tell the designer how your logo should be displayed and what textures you typically use for your ad work. It’s ideal if your ads have a consistent look and feel across all platforms (Print, Digital, etc). Clients should be able to spot your ad and content from a mile away without even having to have read it. For example, when you see those golden arches, do you have to read that it’s McDonalds? Nope.
I always advise my clients to also include previous versions of ads you have used to give the designer a more clear idea of the direction your ad will go. Remember that ad rep is probably working on a ton of different creatives at a time for all types of businesses. The more clear and concise you are will result in a better likelihood of having an ad proof that you are happy with.
Have you ever had this experience before with a print publication? Do you have a brand guide? We want to hear from you! Share in the comments below!