ON February 20, 2018

Advertising & Graphic Design: Helping a Local Non-Profit Get Focused


Along with financial contributions, Dedicated Managers, Inc. often donates resources to help a local non-profit, Foster Kinship.  Recently, Foster Kinship asked for some help with their announcement for an upcoming fundraising event.

Here is the organization's original flyer, created by one of their volunteers in Microsoft Word.

Original Tennis Event Flyer

Their flyer had a great start.  It was beneficial that the organization tried to create the flier as a first step because it forced them to gather all the relevant information about the event.

So ultimately, they just needed some professional help with presenting that information in a more efficient and aesthetically pleasing manner.

As far as advertising goes, the flyer is missing a few simple goals.  The goals below are a great start to designing an effective advertisement:

  • Single, obvious focal point
  • Instantly understandable
  • Solve a need/problem

Beyond technical aspects listed above, the flyer could also use some simple help to make it look a little more professionally refined such that the flyer's presentation helps build the organization's professional brand.  The creators of this flyer had their hands tied in that they the were using the wrong tool; likely the only one they had available.  Microsoft Word is a phenomenal tool for documentation, but its layout capabilities are insufficient for advertising.  A layout tool like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator is needed to achieve a professional design.

Single, Obvious Focal Point

An advertising message needs a single, obvious focal point.  The original flyer does not optimally achieve this goal.  The design has multiple headlines (the large blue and red text) competing for the viewer's initial attention.  The creator did try to make the sole red headline the focus, but since size is also a factor of attention, the same-sized blue text competes for the viewer's initial attention.

Having multiple focal points makes a viewer have to do work to figure out where to initially look.  Thus, the ad is not likely to grab the attention of as many people as a design with a single focus.

Instantly Understandable

The headline should not be complicated and should be instantly understood.

People are bombarded by so much information in their daily experiences that they don't have the time or energy to comprehend any information they are not actively seeking.  If work is required the advertisement becomes part of all the background noise and gets filtered out and therefore becomes unseen.

In other words, a passerby will ignore your message/advertisement unless you make it extremely easy to quickly understand.

When looking at the organization's original flyer, two of the headlines present the same information.  "Annual Tennis Tournament" appears twice in headline text.  Presenting the same information twice is unnecessary and makes the viewer expend extra effort to understand the message.

The headlines also contain unnecessary information.  Even if the creator were to have dropped the blue headlines, leaving only the red headline, there would still be room for optimization within the red headline to achieve an instant understanding of the message.

The "1st Annual" is unnecessary information; it doesn't need to be a part of the headline and should be dropped.  Maybe in 5 or 10 years, it would be worth adding the quantity to the headline for recognition purposes.

Thus, a single obvious headline with clear focus which is instantly understandable for this advertisement should simply read "Tennis Tournament".

Solve a need/problem

Finally, the flyer should instantly strike a nerve with its intended audience's needs.

When trying to get a passerby's attention, the designer should try to instantly strike a chord with one of the passerby's core needs.

These needs are likely thoughts that are always on the passerby's mind, even if they're just currently "on" in the back of the person's mind.

If the advertiser/designer instantly touches the nerve that responds to a core need with a message, the person's attention will be garnered; even when the presented information is out of focus and in peripheral vision.

In the case of a tennis player, one core need is to compete and play tennis.   So the message needs to be instantly conveyed to the passerby that there is something that can fill this need.

Thus, the previously chosen "Tennis Tournament" fulfills this goal.

Adding the date as part of the headline focus also helps the user understand how soon the need will be met.

Making the Flyer Look Professional

Pretty much all the other information is merely supporting details that the passerby will choose to discover upon actively trying to fill their core need.  So all the additional knowledge can be presented in an "informational" area.

A couple of quick design tricks will help make the flyer more professional looking.  A professional look will help the advertisement get more attention than an ad that isn't as aesthetically pleasing.  It will also help build the organization's brand as a highly professional entity in all of the organization's aspects.

A visual cue which supports the three goals above will help catch a potential viewer's eye.  In the case of this ad, a pair of tennis rackets (signifying competition) and a tennis ball help the viewer instantly understand the subject of the ad.

A shiny background helps make the ad "pop" for yet another chance to catch a passerby's eye initially.  Gradients are one way to make the ad pop by creating the appearance of "shine."

Below is the flyer after some professional help has been implemented, using the goals and points noted above.

Notice that all the information is the same.  Its just shown differently and has an extreme point of focus that fills the need for the intended audience.

In conclusion, using a few simple goals in an advertisement can really help get your message received by your target audience.  Make your advertisement easy to instantly understand with a single focus point and be sure to trigger a core need of the viewer.  Even without professional aesthetics, your ads will perform better when trying to achieve these simple goals.  If you have the capabilities to make the design aesthetically pleasing, you'll have an even better chance of success.

And if you need further professional help with any aspect of your business, including advertising, please contact us at Dedicated Managers, Inc.

Las Vegas, NV
United States
Toll Free: (800) 661-5653
Local: 702-985-4142
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