So much design, so little time.

Full disclosure: I waited way too long to do this blitz. I actually ended up staying home every day this week, so what I ended up doing is turning to one of my all-time favorites… looking at magazine ads. After all, what good is an ad if it looks bad? The design elements that I’ll be looking at in this post are rhythm, symmetry, color, and minimalism.

Rhythm

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This is a breakdown of a bunch of swatches for different shades and types of lip makeup. Each swoosh of makeup is stacked on top of the other. If I’m not mistaken, I think the image evokes a regular rhythm – the individual swooshes are uniform in size and length (for the most part) and are the same basic thing. They create a ladder that can be linked/pointed at from the descriptions at the sides of the Ladder o’ Lip Stuff. However, it does also seem like they might have a flowing rhythm as well. Each individual swatch is a different shade (obviously) and texture. There is also a sense of movement to them. You can tell which direction they were “painted” onto the page. Either way, there is a repetition of the same basic element: it is makeup, over and over again. Each piece draws the eye either downward or toward the description of the color.

Balance

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They sure made this shampoo look fancy. This ad is “heavy” on the top and the bottom. There’s a huge shampoo bottom in the bottom, and a huge flower with some text (that looks a little cluttered) in the top. I would say this could be balance using approximate symmetry. The two pieces of the ad are somewhat symmetrical – they are similar in color, somewhat similar in size, but they are very different in shape. The balance struck between them in the approximate symmetry, however, is used to imply that this shampoo gets all its good stuff from these passion flowers. The shampoo might as well be that flower.

Color

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This ad is just straight up blue. Obviously, blue is the color of water (duh), but this ad really drives home the idea that it’s summertime and vacation time, and you need some sunscreen. The tube is just lying around in a pool of very clear blue water. The color blue is one that relaxes you, and the sunscreen is almost like a stand-in for you, the person looking at this ad and wishing you were sitting in some nice pool under the sun… where you would need some Neutrogena SPF 100+ sunscreen. I think this ad also falls under minimalism (single item as the focus of the page, the text around it is small and unobtrusive), but I had another minimalist ad up my sleeve.

Minimalism

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This ad uses a picture of a single apple sitting on a wooden spoon to emphasize the fact that this particular applesauce uses no added sugars. It’s a minimalist design for a minimalist applesauce (that sure sounds weird). There is a LOT of open space left on this page. It could easily be filled with more apples, more bragging about how they haven’t added more sugar, or bigger pictures of applesauce bottles. They chose to keep the single apple on a spoon as the focal point of the advertisement to drive the point home that the applesauce is just apples. Having the apple sitting on the spoon implies that it’s the only ingredient. I think this is a great ad because the message behind it is clear. The caption helps to communicate that message, but the overall design of the ad – a single apple in the center of an empty table really does seem like, “oh yeah, they definitely don’t use extra sugar. It’s all about those apples.”

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