Advertising and Graphic Design

Advertising design and graphic design have many similarities but tend to overlap in certain areas. Graphic designers are professional creatives, they use their skills to represent brands. Whereas advertising design can be considered a hybrid of marketing and design. Graphic design will focus a little more on logos, typography, signs, and etc. These efforts are used to represent a business and its values. While advertising design is solely made to sell a product or service.

So, these are the differences between advertising design and graphic design:

Creative Freedom

Graphic designers are able to express their creative side in their work. There are many different fields of design to work on:

  • editorial design
  • illustration
  • identity (logo and branding) design
  • icons and pictograms
  • typography
  • interface graphics and elements
  • big print items such as posters and billboards
  • signs
  • packaging etc.

Advertising design require a more strategic approach rather than creative.

  • Ad designs can be fun but it must look professional.
  • Must include a benefit to the product or service.
  • Ad designs are created as a sales tactic and is used for that purpose only.

Different Approach to Research

Graphic design work with images and texts in order to create visually appealing brand assets. Brochures, logos, advertisements, and websites are just a few. But there is a lot of pre-planning to do before designing.

Graphic designers go through a process:

  • Wireframes: Basic layout with no design yet
  • Comps: The next step that launches the creative process and has design
  • Prototype: A draft to summarize the idea

Advertising design take various things into consideration before starting a project:

  • market research and positioning
  • value proposition
  • project scope
  • consumer research

Difference in Priority

Graphic design has a huge contribution to marketing and tends to help with sales conversion.

  • Enhances company values
  • Gives businesses a personality to help connect with consumers
  • Attracts a broad audience through aesthetics

Advertising design does not focus on the technical aspect of design. So, their intentions for ads are to introduce a beneficial product or service and convert customers.  

  • Create designs for a call-to-action plug
  • Ads are used as a communication tool to consumers for their product or service
  • Advertising will be based for more on TV, radio, and other forms of media, including copywriting

Difference in Style

Graphic designers work with various design elements to create visually appealing work. So, they strictly focus on graphic representation of a business’ core values.

  • Graphic design emphasizes typography. So, they know the difference between: Sans Serif and Serif
  • They put careful detail on letter spacing and line height ratio
  • Graphic designers create contrast through: Color, tone/value, size/shape, and direction

Advertising design work towards a more direct sales shove in their effort. So, their style will not be as fancy as graphic design.

  • The focus is not on design, but the message. The attention is on an effective headline
  • An ad will include a bolded offer behind everything
  • Advertising design may involve a more traditional marketing route and use: posters, billboards, or print ads

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