Art direction and design of an ad play important roles in communicating messages through print ad forms. However, should they be merely perceived as tools for communicating the messages? Or do they have bigger roles?
Fortunately, some of the best brands in the world know very well how to utilise design for their own merits and create distinctive identities. Designing identities for the brand is important. As Zinkhan (1993) said, the design identity must convey the brand’s image to distinct itself from the competitors. At the same time it also has to communicate the brand to the internal audience within the corporation because they are among the audience as well(pp. vii – viii)
One of the best examples of design identity is from Absolut.
The best thing about Absolut’s series of ads is that how they can impose their identity in various different context yet still look good and natural (tip: click the URL and find out for yourself). Not to mention the typeface, which is another defining identity of the ad series. As Robin Landa said in her book, selecting typeface with aesthetic value is as important as the attention paid to the whole imagery (Landa, 2010, p. 131) especially if the whole imagery represents the brand’s identity.
Landa, R. (2010) Advertising by Design: Generating and Designing Creative Ideas Across Media, 2nd ed, Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons
Zinkhan, G.M. (1993) ‘From the Editor: Advertising, Design, and Corporate Identity’, Journal of Advertising, 22(4), pp. vii – ix