These are some ads I’ve been working on this week. I try to keep a design sketchbook for ad ideas.
This is an idea for a generic ad. The goal is to sell the gallery using a simple repeated image. In this case it is one of my photos of one of my Adel Rootstein mannequins. The mannequin collection is a feature in the gallery. I think of them as contemporary sculpture.
A large part of my job as a gallerista is designing ads for local magazines and newspapers and I spend a lot of time studying ads in local and national periodicals to see which ones please me, and why.
This sketch uses an image from Nakki Goranin's upcoming American Photobooth exhibit (February + March at PSAW) I wanted to see if I could use several different images and two different typefaces and still maintain the smooth look that I like. The background multiple is the back of a Jello booklet, the foreground is the Photobooth image. I imagine that they existed in the same historical era. This sketch was fun to do but it's unlikely that I will ever use it. Too fussy, ultimately.
There’s a lot of optical competition in most periodicals, which so often look like the designer shook up everything up dumped it on the page willy nilly. Bad overall layout is so commonplace that often the hardest part for me is compensating for having to be part of the mixup. The challenge is to design something that will stand out. Simplicity works. I like to have the image do the heavy lifting, with text acting as a design element . I prefer to have as little text as I can get away with.
The problem I see with most local ads, and a lot of national ones, is that they are a jumble of competing typfaces with no overall sense of composition. It’s hard enough to make people’s eyes rest on a particular ad when there’s so much visual noise surrounding it. When the reader’s eye does lite on an ad, it shouldn’t be a struggle to figure out what the ad is selling.
Another generic. It incorporates an illustration from a children's reader that I picked up in Holland many years ago. This illustration is typical of the kind in my collections and my limited edition reproductions. It was published in 1955, but it must be a reprint of an earlier version. It must be. But I don't read Dutch, so I can't tell. The book is called VIJFDE LEESBOEKJE, and the illustration is by C. Jetses. I gave the illustration a red header, a black border, and added the arrows because they amuse me, add some graphic humor, and point out the physical address and the gallery website.
I did this a couple of months ago and although I've never used it as a print ad, I have used it on the homepage of the Gallery Website several times, and I'm very fond of it. It took me ages to get just the right combination of images, and to scale them properly. The image on the left is one of my photographs from Shipyard Archeology, a series I did a few years ago. The image on the right is from Paint By Number painting, part of the collection that was on exhibit last August here at PSAW.
My ideal ad. Volkswagen, 1964. It just doesn't get better than this.