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Principles of Good Layout for an Advertisement Copy

Principles of Good Layout

The twelve features, qualities, or principles of good layout are as follows:

principles of good layout

Image Credits © Manoj Patil.

  1. Focus on dominant element.
  2. Unity of all ad parts.
  3. Good use of contrast.
  4. Right balance of elements.
  5. Maintain proportion of space.
  6. Follow the eye movement.
  7. Simple and uncomplicated layout.
  8. Ease of readability.
  9. Use of whitespace.
  10. Clarity of ad message.
  11. Good ad atmosphere.
  12. First impression.

Now let's discuss each quality, feature or principle of a good layout.

1. Focus on dominant element

Good layouts have a starting point. It is called dominant element. This element is the most important part of the advertisement. It may be the headline, the illustration, the body copy, etc. The copywriter has to decide which part is the dominant part. Normally, there is only one dominant element in the ad. The dominant element must be large. It must have a bright colour. It must look better than the other parts of the ad. The consumer must get attracted towards the dominant part of the ad.

2. Unity of all ad parts

The advertisement consists of many parts. All parts of the ad have a relation with each other. All these parts must have one objective. The objective must be to inform the consumer about the product and to persuade them to purchase the product. So, all parts of the ad must work together. They must not work against each other. There must be unity among all the parts of the ad. If unity is maintained, then the combined effect will also be good. We can have unity by keeping proper space between words and lines. We can also use the same style of printing.

3. Good use of contrast

Contrast means to use opposite colours, like black and white, etc. Contrasted ads stand out because they appear different. For e.g. If all the ads in a magazine are in colour and if one ad is in black and white. Then the black and white ad will stand out in contrast. We can also use contrast for different parts of the ad. So that each part of ad stand out in contrast. We can also use contrast for a dominant part of the ad.

4. Right balance of elements

The advertisement must have a right balance. Balance means the relationship between right-hand side and left-hand side of the ad.

There are two types of balance:

  1. Formal balance: Here, the words and pictures on the right side are equal to the words and images on the left-hand side of the ad. So, the right-hand side and the left side matches each other in size, shape and colour. They are placed exactly on the opposite side of each other. Such a balance is called a formal balance.
  2. Informal balance: Here, each part of the ad is placed on the page at random. There is no balance between right-hand side and left-hand side. But, as a whole the ad looks balanced. Informal balance is quite difficult to achieve. It requires more imagination and a high level of creative skill. It looks better than the formal balance.

5. Maintain proportion of space

The advertisement must maintain proportion. The entire space must get divided among the different parts of the ad. The division must not be equal. If all the parts have same space, then the ad will not look good. More space must be provided to the dominant (important) part of the ad. Less space must be given to the less important parts.

6. Follow the eye movement

The advertisement must be prepared to cover the movement of the eye. The movement of the eye is from left to right. A person first looks up then he looks down. So, the advertising idea must move from left to right and from top to bottom.

The advertiser can control the eye movement by using the following points:

  1. Gaze movement: According to research, a person's eyes will follow other eyes. That is, if many people are looking in one direction, then a new person will also look in that direction. Such behaviour is natural. So the readers will also follow the gaze of the people, animals and birds appearing or presented in the ad.
  2. Size: Generally, large size parts attract people. So the main part of the ad must also be large.
  3. Pointing devices such as hands, fingers, arrows, etc., are used to attract the attention of the reader.
  4. Cartoons and comic pictures are also used to grab the attention of the readers.

7. Simple and uncomplicated layout

The layout must be simple. It must have very few elements in it. The lesser the elements, the stronger will be the impact (impression). Too many parts of the ad will make it useless. So the ad must have many empty spaces. It must not look very crowded and complicated.

8. Ease of readability

The reader must be able to read the advertisement easily and quickly. The words in the ad must not be small sized. Avoid using capital letters for full paragraphs. Only significant words or sentences must be written in capital letters.

9. Use of whitespace

The advertisement must not appear stuffed and crowded. There must be enough white (blank) space to make it look uncluttered and pleasing. White space will attract the attention of the reader by making the ad look rich and classy.

10. Clarity of ad message

The advertisement must be very clear about its objective. The reader must easily understand the ad message. He must not be confused to grasp the central message of the ad. He must also not have any doubts about the ad.

11. Good ad atmosphere

The atmosphere surrounding the advertisement must not be ignored or overlooked. The surrounding of an ad is also essential to make the ad appear attractive and pleasing. A shabby background or atmosphere makes even an attention-grabbing ad less appealing.

12. First impression

The first impression is the best impression. If the impact of the first impression is good, then the reader will read the full ad message and react positively. He may desire to purchase a product or try a service. However, if the first impression fails to create a good impression, then the reader won't read the full ad message. He may not remember and lose interest in the advertised product or service. In such a case, sales won't happen and the advertisement will fail to achieve its goal.

Therefore, the copywriter must make the first impression of the ad impactful. A positive impact can be achieved by using a catchy slogan, attractive colours, lots of white space, good illustration, so on.

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