In the world of online advertising, creativity is essential. A catchy design can make the difference between a successful campaign and one that’s forgotten the next minute.
The best news is that, despite what most people think, creative skills can be learned. All you have to do is practice with an online advertisement maker and surround yourself with excellent sources of inspiration.
You can do that by analyzing advertisement case studies and by looking at successful advertisement posters. Stay curious and learn why those image advertisement examples were such a hit. Then practice and find ways to include what you’ve learned in your daily tasks.
To help you get that creative mindset, here’s a list of 40 advertisement design ideas that will inspire your next masterpiece.
1. Include a Call to Action
The best advertisement design examples are the simple ones. But they wouldn’t be anywhere near as successful without a clear call to action. Let your audience know what you want them to do—it’s that easy.
Take a look at this digital advert from Quick Fox Design. The message is simple and easy to understand, while the creative design and the Batman reference make it an ad to remember.
2. Create a Connection
People love to be surprised. Adding a not-so-obvious visual cue makes a poster design memorable for everyone.
In this poster, the moon mimics the cap of a Coca-Cola bottle, and its reflection on the water looks like the bottle itself. This is an excellent example of a subtle visual metaphor that guarantees a successful picture advertisement.
3. Keep It Simple
Simplicity is the key to a memorable image advertisement. Take a look at this simple advertisement design by Lay’s. It’s got everything it needs to be successful, and nothing more: a chip, a smile, and a sea of yellow.
The result is an optimistic, happy, and sunny minimalist advertising poster that makes you want to enjoy a bag of delicious chips.
4. Get Creative with Shapes and Logos
If your brand’s logo is well-known, don’t be afraid to use it in your design. Just pair it with an image that reflects the advert’s message, and you’re good to go.
Here’s a great example with Audi, a beautiful and minimalist advertisement poster design that promotes the official maintenance they offer.
5. Tell a Story
Telling a visual story is not an easy task, but when you succeed, you’ve hit the jackpot. Create a story where the brand’s product turns into a well-known character, and you’re halfway there.
Just take a look at this Christmas advertisement poster design from McDonald’s, where the ice cream becomes Santa Claus.
6. Let Images Speak Louder Than Words
An image speaks louder than a thousand words, right? But how can you make your image that suggestive? You can use advertising appeals and tie them to an image concept that people can relate to.
I know it’s easier said than done, but that’s why we’re here to inspire you. Here’s one of my favorite advertisement design ideas from Nivea, where they showed quite successfully how their product can benefit you.
7. Use Visual Mimicry
Taking advantage of similarities between visual elements that usually don’t belong together works great in advertisement design, but only if the combined elements tell a story. This way, viewers are invited to decrypt the story and read between the lines to find out what the advertisement is about.
Here’s a picture advertisement for World Kidney Day, where broccoli is used as a kind reminder to eat right to stay healthy.
8. Use Iconic Images
Iconic images are so well-imprinted in people’s memories that they recognize them anywhere. Use this powerful tip to make your next advertisement design idea come to life.
Here’s a beautiful example from Hertz, where the bubble gum that’s stuck to the shoe’s sole becomes the Eiffel Tower with the aid of imagination.
9. Suggest, Don’t Show
Using suggestions to make a product’s properties obvious can be the path to successful advertising design. All you have to do is think about the features you wish to highlight and find a creative way to suggest them using images and words.
Here’s an example of a tabasco ad that suggests hot just by showing a pair of steamy eyeglasses.
10. Illustrate a Message
A powerful message goes a long way when it comes to creative advertising. And if you pair it with an excellent illustration, you get a masterpiece that goes straight to people’s hearts.
In this creative campaign that promotes reading, the “Become someone else” message was illustrated innovatively.
11. Don’t Be Afraid Of Unusual Associations
Did you know that red onions can help prevent breast cancer? Now you know. That’s why it’s essential to have the courage to promote unusual visual associations when they work and make sense.
Get inspired by this memorable image advertisement for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
12. Share Your Vision
When it comes to art and picture advertisement, your vision is unique and valuable. Let your vision guide you to implement creative advertising design ideas.
We’ll exemplify this tip using this heartwarming example of a Mexican Transplant Association campaign that wants to encourage people to become organ donors.
13. Embrace the Power of Imagination
The greatest nation is imagination, right? And that’s especially true when it comes to advertising design. Great advertising lives by telling stories. If you want to achieve true greatness, get your audience to use their imagination.
This creative campaign lets us use imagination to realize that the real predator in the ocean is plastic.
14. Use Visual Metaphors
A visual metaphor communicates a product’s benefit by relating them to something entirely different, with similar qualities. The easiest way to do that is by finding visual similarities that other people missed, making viewers look twice.
Here’s a great example of using a visual metaphor to showcase an idea by Carrefour.
15. Show, Don’t Tell
Sometimes, a good image advertisement doesn’t have to tell the whole story. It’s enough to show a little bit and let the viewer’s imagination take over.
Here’s a beautiful McDonald’s advertisement campaign for McDelivery Day by DDB Singapore. The print advertisement was inspired by the symbol of a late-night (the lit window) and turned it into well-recognizable menu items.
16. Make Unusual Associations
We’ve already mentioned how inciting the viewer’s curiosity works wonders when it comes to advertisement photos. Now, let’s talk about how hiding some of your content can stir and make your target audience want more.
Just look at this example from Intel, which took this advice quite literally and made this ad comparing their processors with a chocolate bar, completed by the message “The inside is the best part.”
17. Raise Awareness
If you’re working for a social cause, especially if it’s not such a common issue, the best thing you can do is raise awareness. Ideally, you should do this by sharing a warm, emphatic, yet creative message while offering a solution simultaneously.
This outdoor advertisement created by BBH from India has it all. They used a beautiful visual metaphor of a fingerprint that becomes a labyrinth, showing that not knowing how to write can lead to children being lost (literally).
18. Use Your Brand in a Creative Way
When in doubt, stick to what is widely recognizable about your brand. But try to integrate the shapes or logos people are used to getting from your brand creatively.
Here’s a great advertisement design example from Absolut Vodka as a part of their Absolut Nights campaign. They used the iconic vodka bottle shape as a part of images that suggest fun and togetherness.
19. Keep It Short and Sweet
When it comes to advertisement design, sometimes the best ideas are simple and straightforward. All you have to do is stop trying to complicate everything with cryptic messages and associations.
Here’s an example of Volkswagen’s campaign that uses a simple message and visual to show that using a seatbelt can save your life.
20. Appeal to Your Fanbase
If you’re a love brand, it’s easy to appeal to your fanbase and show them your appreciation with an advertisement campaign like this one from Pepsi. But you can find creative ways to show your love for fans no matter how big or small your brand is.
21. Use Simple Shapes to Tell a Story
Using a simple shape like an oval, a square, or a circle in design, can tell a story if used creatively. How to do this? Easy. Find the most prominent shapes that define your product and use them to your advantage.
Here, the oval shape represents a common ground between a coffee bean and an Easter egg. That’s Nescafe’s creative way of saying “Happy Easter.”
22. Appeal to Visual Memory
When in doubt, use an image everybody is familiar with, like a famous painting, a photograph, or other artwork. It will appeal to the viewer’s visual memory, and your image advertisement will be easier to remember.
Here’s an iconic example from Lego—an ad series that recreates famous paintings using lego pieces.
23. Illustrate Your Slogan
Sometimes, to get a creative advertising idea, all you have to do is take a second look at your brand’s slogan. You might find image advertisement ideas that you previously missed.
Here’s a beautiful example from KitKat, where the “Have a break, have a KitKat” slogan is represented with just a few icons.
24. Be Clear. Crystal Clear
Creatively illustrating your product’s main features is the best way to get your advertisements noticed. Be clear and transparent (pun intended) about how your product is, and you’ll have an advertisement design to remember.
Here’s a great example of a mineral water advertisement poster design that takes water’s main quality and transposes it to a watermelon.
25. Use a Negative Emotion
Sometimes, putting the spotlight on a negative emotion, such as fear, works excellent in advertising, but only as long as you can come up with a solution. All you have to do is find a problem that can be fixed or prevented by your product, execute a brilliant image advertisement, and you’re good to go.
This creative example by Fabian Dotor for Nissan got my attention with the aggressive shark made of nails. One of the worst nightmares of any car owner, am I right?
26. Make It Memorable
The smallest detail can make a difference and transform a minimalist image advertisement into a truly remarkable one. Find that detail, and your work will surely be remembered.
This ad with a bottle’s bottom and a tomato’s stem for Heinz is one of the most memorable minimalist advertisement design examples. It speaks of freshness, natural flavors, and creativity with a simple but significant association.
27. Use Negative Space
In advertising design, we refer to negative space as the area around and between the subject itself. Many advertising design examples use negative space to show another view of the story they want to tell.
But very few have used the idea itself in such a creative way as this example from Fiat. The poster was designed to help raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving, and it states, “You either see the letter or the dog. Don’t text and drive”.
28. Make People Look Twice
Creating memorable advertisement photos is all about capturing your audience’s interest and curiosity. Then, they might be interested in finding out more about the product.
Take a look at this poster advertising example from Ariel by Saatchi & Saatchi. They managed to make you look twice to find the product’s main selling point: immaculate clothes.
29. Use the Power of Nature
If you want to show that a product is environmentally friendly, you can always start by integrating some nature-inspired visual metaphors into your image advertisement design.
Take a look at this adorable ad campaign for Mini Cooper. It shows that the car is small, eco-friendly, and attractive by placing a miniature in the middle of nature.
30. Appeal to Pop Culture
Appealing to pop culture for creative advertising examples is a great way to connect with your audience.
This print ad from Band-Aid is perfectly illustrating this trend. The poster highlights their bandages’ flexibility by showing the Incredible Hulk’s hand with a bandage on it.
31. Use Hot Imagery
Everybody wants to create a hot advertising poster design, right? And if the product is also hot (like Tabasco hot), you can use your imagination to create a beautiful analogy.
This example compares someone’s lips after they tasted Tabasco to a volcano eruption. And the result is spectacular.
32. Use Visual Contrasts
We all know that contrast is one of the most powerful principles of design. contrasts work great together when it comes to picture advertisement. Contrasts have the power to attract us and make us wonder about the advertising’s message and purpose. Don’t be afraid to use contrasting elements if they enhance your message.
Here’s a great example from McDonald’s. The creators of this ad combined two elements that, at first glance, have nothing to do with each other: mobile phones and hamburgers. But when you read the message, it actually makes sense: it’s an ad about mobile ordering.
33. Emphasize Your Message
A powerful message can be successfully combined with advertisement photos that illustrate it creatively.
Here’s a great example by MAC, as a part of a campaign that fights against drinking and driving. The image attracts the viewer’s attention so that the message will surely be remembered.
34. Use Emotion to Your Advantage
People respond to emotional advertising, so don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage. Here’s a beautiful example from FCB, Israel for Igul Letova. It uses a powerful visual metaphor to suggest how students with learning disabilities might feel.
35. Use Anthropomorphism
We are wired to see human characteristics everywhere, even where they don’t exist. That’s why we sometimes see faces in clouds. Anthropomorphism works in marketing and advertising because it builds trust, and humanizing products can make them feel more likable.
Max Shoes used anthropomorphism to humanize their shoes and paired the imagery with creative advertisement photos and a powerful message: you are what you wear. The result is both attractive and creative, as you can see in this picture advertisement example.
36. Appeal to Sensations
Sensations are more powerful than rational thinking in advertising, so appealing to senses to enhance a product’s characteristics will always provide excellent results.
Let’s take a moment to analyze this example from Chupa Chups. You can actually feel the pear’s taste in your mouth as you look at this advertisement poster design. It works because our brain immediately sends signals to our taste receptors when we look at something delicious.
37. Play with People’s Perception
When we see an ad or picture advertisement, we already know what to expect. Playing with people’s preconceptions and giving them a twist can be successful if done right.
In this advertising design example, you expect to see a beer commercial, and that’s exactly what you see at first glance: a glass of Guinness. But wait. When we take a second look, you can actually spot a stack of mobile phones, then you read the message, and it all becomes clear.
38. Use the Power of Typography
Typography advertising is making a powerful comeback these days. A great message can be enhanced by beautiful typography. Just look at this stunning example that illustrates a poem creatively, and find ways to play with words and images for your own advertising.
39. Use a Clean Design to Draw Attention
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and that’s true for advertising as well. Sometimes, you don’t need elaborate designs to tell a story. You just have to use a powerful symbol that everybody is familiar with.
Just look at how a few simple lines can send a message in this great minimalist ad from McDonald’s.
40. Use White Space
We already mentioned how negative space or white space is a booming trend in advertising. And when it’s combined with a meaningful message, it can give birth to a true masterpiece.
Take a look at this heartwarming example from McCANN and how they used white space to encourage people to adopt.
In a Nutshell
Successful advertising is all about breaking barriers, seeing things differently, and finding new visual ways to tell a story. When you get inspired by creative design examples and advertisement case studies, you can learn to think differently and get the courage to experiment with new advertising techniques.
I hope these advertising examples had the same effect on you, and now you feel inspired to create something memorable.
That’s was one of the most interesting advertising articles I’ve read! Some very useful tips. Thanks very much
Great article, I will try and apply these suggestions in my Graphic Design qualification I am doing at the moment. Thank you
I will have to take these elements into consideration to improve my graphic design abilities.