iindigo is a trading name of Mark J Draper © 2021 All Rights Reserved

Heaton Moor, Stockport, UK


iindigo.co.uk provides digital services such as website setup, design and hosting.

Advertising in print media might seem old-fashioned but it has a lot of benefits if you're a local business, it gets you in front of potential clients in your immediate area.  A client recently contacted me with an urgent request for help, she had paid for advertising space in a local magazine but needed to provide her advert to them in a matter of days for it to be included...and she had no idea how to make an advert or what they're print requirements meant.


The advert was for a new start up and the advert would be included in a local publication distributed to over 10.5k homes, a brilliant opportunity that came with a set of specifications.  



What do Trim, Bleed and Type mean?


Height and width are obvious, but what do the other measurements mean?



The target size.  Publishers hope the page will cut (trimmed) to these measurements, however they need to have some margin of error along these lines as the cutting process won't be millimetre perfect.



The built in margin for error for times when the page is cut slightly off target.  This is very common and normally only by 1 or 2mm so you generally leave 3mm extra around the entire advert.



The safe zone, the area that won't be cut.  This is where you put your key text/pictures/logo as they won't be accidentally cut during the production process.


Here's a rouge example to demonstrate how all 3 impact your advert, your aim is to keep everything important in the green zone.


How to create an effective Advert


Knowing the size and requirements allowed us to move on to crafting the advert.  We didn't have much space, it was only a small ad, but you should follow the same guidelines no matter the size.


An advert about you is actually about your customer

You're advertising to get new customers, they don't know you and don't care about you.  While you might want the advert to be about how great you are it actually needs to demonstrate what is in it for them, why should they care?


Key elements of an advert

When creating an advert you should consider the following:


  • Headline: Give a clear benefit to the reader at the top of the ad.
  • Sub-header: Support the main headline (not always used if tight on space).
  • Copy: A short explanation of the headers, can direct people to your website for more information if required.
  • Image: A suitable image to support your message and connect with the reader.
  • Contact details: Who you are, how to get in touch and a call to action, for example 'Call...", "Book...", "Visit..." at the bottom of the ad.
  • Colours/fonts: If you have brand colours and fonts look at incorporating them so there is a natural transition when visiting your website.


It sounds like a lot of different elements and it's important not to overcrowd the advert.  Leaving space forces you to work on your message to make it as clear and concise as possible.


Sales Models

If you're struggling to come up with copy for your advert you could try using different sales models, for example the AIDA model:


  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire 
  • Action


For example I might generate the following for my website and consultancy business:


Attention: Starting a new business?
Interest: We help entrepreneurs start their next venture
Desire: iindigo will work with you to build your website, host your content, and get your business on the web.
Action: Book a free consultation via...


Alternatively the Pain-Agitate-Solve model:


Pain: Being frustrated by a lack of understanding of what it actually takes to start your own business.
Agitate: Frustration of not knowing what to do, how to do it and whether you will succeed.
Solution: iindigo offers business consultation as well as website design and hosting to help you start your business.


I have a confession to make, I didn't write the above, I cheated!  If you're struggling to come up with ideas for marketing or website copy I highly recommend the brilliant Nichesss (aff) which is a website that uses advanced artificial intelligence (GTP-3) to write copy for you.  You enter details of the topic you want help with and after a short wait the AI generates suggestions. 


They're not 100% ready to use, but they are a brilliant way to give you ideas to work with that you can refine.


That's exactly what I did for my client, I provided a range of examples and it proved a huge time saver the final advert copy was based on the examples the AI had written.


Creating the advert


When it comes to creating an advert you could pay someone to make it for you, or you could use online tools and make it yourself.  There are a lot of online design tools, I personally use and recommend Crello, a web based graphics design tool with lots of templates and photos.  As well as being a great design tool it also has the ability to output the final designs with crop marks in PDF print format.


Using the advert text I came up with earlier here's a demo of me making an advert in under 3 minutes (don't worry, it's been sped up!)


Crello has a lot of options and features and comes with a load of social media templates as well.  In this case I set up a canvas based on the printed advert size rather than use a template as they'd have been the wrong dimensions.  If you look closely you can see I turn on the print bleed marks and that ensures I make the photo the correct size, without those the photo wouldn't have filled the page correctly and it might lead to white space being printed.


Once completed hit download and you're given a range of options, including a Print PDF option.  This creates a PDF showing the crop marks (another requirement of the magazine) and it looks like this.



And that's it done!  You could output this as a normal image file for use on social media, Crello can resize designs to different dimensions, so this could be turned into a Pinterest or Instagram post.


If you're starting a business and need help, be it website design and hosting or business coaching and support for areas such as this then get in touch and let's make something awesome happen.

28 April 2021

How to create adverts for print without hiring a designer

How to create an advert for print publication