We recently put this handy little visual guide together for Santa Cruz Waves and their magazine clients. We’re hoping it help educate local business owners on what makes an effective ad.


Well-designed, focused ad

  • 0.5 – 1 inch “Safe Zone” around edges for copy.
  • Clear headline / call to action, focusing on a single service or benefit.
  • Clean, well-composed photo or image, supporting the tagline / headline / call to action, unifying the ad. Try and keep it to one or two images.
  • Effective contact info.

    Cluttered, unfocused ad

    • Copy is too close to edges, causing unease and tension.
    • No clear one call to action. The more copy you have, the less people will read your ad. Also, note that the copy seems to float around the page, with no real alignment.
    • Too many images, making the piece too complicated and confusing.
    • Too much contact info, becomes overwhelming.

    This was primarily created with print ads in mind, but many of these pointers can be used across many mediums!