When I worked for my school’s newspaper, I created many ads each week for businesses in the area. Overall I created about 75+ ads. Then at the end of the week after ads were approved, I would place them in the paper (we used Indesign).

The challenge

Sometimes I would just tweak an ad and be done. That might mean changing what the coupon says, or adding a phone number. But other times I had to make mock ups that could take upwards of a few hours. I got faster and soon I was mocking up ads in less than an hour, depending on if I already had good pictures and or logos to work with.


Finding information

When I did mockups, I would try to find their best logo and images if they didn’t give it to me already. They rarely did. So half the time I was scanning the internet. Once I found those I would check out their website and/or facebook. Usually I’d find more information and even pictures. I’d get their address, phone number, any deals they were having, and looked for something I could use as a catchphrase, or hook.

Working with constraints

Then I would note the size of the ad and create the artboard in illustrator. The hard part now was getting all that information to look good in the amount of space I was given. Sometimes clients wanted WAYY to much information on their ad. I learned the client is always right and that as a designer I was the one who needed to figure out how to make it work. Sometimes, we would tell them they need to narrow down their paragraph of text to the most important points.

Showing the client

This was definitely my favorite part because sometimes the client would ask for one thing, I would create their version and my version. Once they saw them both, they would realize what they had asked for wasn’t what they wanted and go with my version. However, this wasn’t always the case 100% of the time. Sometimes I would try to say less, and show them two versions but they would pick their ad with all the text.

Successful ads



Leymaster_8H_10-10-14_Artboard 1


















Ads that weren’t so successful

The Glass Slipper

This first ad was one that I wrestled with for about a day. The client wanted the image you see here, and then wanted a bunch of information in the ad. So I had to figure out how to display the image in the space I had, without it looking disconnected from the text.

glass_ 4B 10-16_14-01

I tried cutting the bride out of the background in photoshop. That didn’t work well because of her vail. The vail still showed the background of green leaves. Eww. So I couldn’t take out the background. What to do. That’s when I tried the opaque bar on the right. At first it was a golden color from the image, yeah, that looked awful. Then I made it white.

Finally I worked with the hierarchy of the type for a while, then font and color. Then we sent it to the client. They wanted the logo to be hot pink (because that’s the true color of their logo). We put their hot pink logo back in there and they liked it. Hot pink just didn’t go well – I didn’t even include it here but just so you know, the ad with the hot pink logo is the one that ran.

Massage Therapy Center


This ad was interesting. The client said they were located on the 2nd floor of World’s Gym. Well, that’s not really an address. That’s what ended up on their ad though. It just sounded unofficial to me. Anyway, I continued. They didn’t have a logo and I’m still not sure if they’re a business or just a part of World’s Gym. If so I shouldn’t put the World’s Gym logo on the ad.

So the only graphic I included is on the bottom, and it’s a picture of flat rocks piled on top of each other. The client wanted the quote in there so I added that to the bottom of the ad. Overall the ad was cluttered, didn’t have a logo to distinguish it from the rest, and just needed better hierarchy. But the client liked it and ran it.

Some ads look great, others get run and don’t look so great, and others look awesome and never run. That was my experience working for a newspaper.