May I Have Your Attention Please? Attention-Grabbing Design for Marketing
The competition for attention is the starting point of any marketing endeavor - you need to make heads turn before your ad can pitch. Designing attention-grabbing marketing ads is no simple task. Fortunately, there are some tried and true approaches as well as quirks you can capitalize on to get your ad its much needed spotlight.
Curiosity, Admiration, Shock
By far the most effective head-turning design makes audiences curious, or makes them admire the design, or makes them look twice with shock. The last one is a specific tactic that may not have favorable results, but sometimes shocking or repulsing audiences in the right way does make for effective increase in recall. But to be on the safe side, let's tackle the first two ways to grab attention: evoking curiosity and admiration. How can we accomplish that?
Through Relatable Design
A good tip is to design your marketing ads to be relatable, that is to say your target market should be able to easily relate with your design. The key to communicating relatable design is visual communication - impress upon your audience with visuals. Once they see it and recognize something they can relate to, curiosity kicks in. Only after they digest the imagery would they get your pitch or read the text of your ad, if their curiosity holds.
Specific target marketing tactics work into this strategy, plus lifestyle marketing. You should know what your market segment can relate to the most. Use those elements and pique their curiosity. A typical way to do that is through appealing to your target audience's emotion.
The ad misericordiam may be a fallacy in debate, but it's all good in marketing. Appealing to your audience's emotion is a fundamental step to making design relatable. And depending on the emotions you wish to take advantage of, you can instigate curiosity, admiration, or shock. The trick here is to use the right imagery that can elicit the right emotions, therefore maximizing your ad's impact. The imagery you use can help your advertisement's pitch by accentuating it, supporting it, or by being the very medium by which it is delivered.
Through Pleasurable Design
Relaxed layouts and nice colors all work towards communicating pleasurably. Ads that are nice to look at can indeed be more effective in delivering their sales pitches. But while relaxing and refreshing sights are pleasurable to look at, beyond images that engender a feeling of pleasure, you can also be pleasurable in terms of communicating your sales pitch through succinct ways. The concision of your advertisements would pleasure your target market through convenience.
Merging these two concepts together makes your design all the more pleasurable. One example of a convergence of these concepts is great typography design where the text also serves as a graphic element. Great typographical design is nice to look at, plus the design itself is conveniently the message.
Through Being Contagious
The precursor of viral ads and videos on the 'Net is the simple act of depicting someone on an advertisement looking at something. When the audience sees that character staring, their eyes typically follow the character's stare to see what he's looking at.
This contagious subliminal behavior is so strong that it can lead to mass behavior. People tend to get curious about what other people are curios of, and they tend to look at what other people are transfixed by. Drawing on this natural contagion is a great way to advertise.
Through Taking Advantage of Facial Recognition
Pareidolia is the phenomenon of facial recognition, where the human mind can easily depict faces in almost anything they see. So long as the necessary features are present – the eyes and the mouth – the human psyche can see faces in clouds, tree barks, and pretty much everything else. This phenomenon attests to how people's attention is naturally affected by faces. But what does this mean for graphic design marketing?
This means you can use actual faces (like so many ads do, using models and Hollywood celebrities) to draw attention to a specific part of your ad. The mere use of a well-known face is enough to evoke curiosity, admiration, or shock. But use famous faces wisely – you don't want them eating up all the attention.
Through Baby Faces and the Face to Body Ratio
You can also take advantage of the natural baby bias of people. Babies naturally draw attention. Plus, they are cute and innocent. This communicates a subconscious inkling to trust them, be protective of them, and be fond of them - and this inkling can potentially spill over to the brand that uses the baby bias in its ads.
A note on using faces on ads though: sometimes it's better to focus on the human body than the face in terms of a face to body ratio. Simply put, you need to ascertain how much of the body of a model is seen in your ad. In general, when a human face takes the spotlight in an advertisement, your target audience tends to focus on the intellect and personality that face portrays. On the other hand, when the body of a model takes more space in an ad, the focus changes to the physical and sensual attributes of that particular body.
Through Surprising Design
Be surprising, if not literally, then by way of deviating from what the senses (including common sense) deem normal. The simplest way to surprise is to take an everyday object and depict it doing or being something entirely impossible.
Imagine the picture of a handkerchief lying on the floor, part of it shattered like chinaware. Definitely a curious image isn't it? It is surprising because the mind expects the norm, and the laws of physics won't allow for shattered handkerchiefs.
The First Step is Always Competing for Attention
Your sales pitch may be exquisitely formulated. Your unique selling proposition may be downright irresistible. But if your marketing ad doesn't get attention, your pitch and proposition are all for naught. The first plane of competition is attention-grabbing - everything else follows from there.