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Business, Politics, & Society

4 Design Tips From Advertising Experts Goodby & Silverstein

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Mar 3, 2020 • 3 min read

Advertisement design involves the skills of many departments, including creative directors, art directors, graphic designers, and copywriters who all work together to design the materials for ad campaigns. Some help craft the visual concept of the campaign; some have the end product as their focus. The intention of a campaign is to create long-term brand affinity with a narrative, aesthetic, or intention that stretches for sometimes years. The associated ad copy generally reinforces brand awareness or contains a call to action, and it always aligns with the design of the advertisement as a whole.



Jeff Goodby & Rich Silverstein Teach Advertising and CreativityJeff Goodby & Rich Silverstein Teach Advertising and Creativity

Advertising icons Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein teach you how to break rules, change minds, and create the best work of your life.

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Who Are Goodby & Silverstein?

Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein were destined to meet. After graduating from Harvard, Jeff was a writer and illustrator, with illustrations published in magazines like Time and Mother Jones. Early in his career, Rich worked as an art director at various publications including Rolling Stone. Their worlds collided when they both worked at the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather in San Francisco. Before long, they decided to form their own agency—Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

GS&P is one of the most powerful ad agencies in the United States. They’re the team behind some of the biggest brand strategy campaigns—like the Budweiser lizards and the “got milk?” ads for the California Milk Processors Board. Their client list has included brands like Doritos, Pepsi, Cheetos, BMW, Xfinity, the NBA, and Nike. Jeff and Rich were named Adweek’s “Executives of the Decade” and GS&P was recognized as “Agency of the Year” numerous times by multiple publications.

Goodby & Silverstein’s 4 Design Tips

Ad agencies often spend a lot of time and money trying to refine the perfect ad campaign. Advertising design requires a keen eye as well as graphic design skills. Some of these include color psychology, which helps you know how the different hues of a color palette affect your message. Whether you’re looking to make an infographic, update a logo design, publish a magazine ad, or create a poster design, you must recognize that the design process goes beyond aesthetics. Sure, you’ll have to choose the right font sizes and mix combinations from the color wheel, but you’ll also need time, patience, and strong visual communication skills. Here are four tips for improving your design sensibilities:

  1. Pay attention. To observe the world around you means to see it as a constant expression of design. Every detail matters—from the fonts and typography of an ad, to the background image of a poster, to a tagline’s readability, to the way high contrast colors make design elements pop. Notice how things around you are designed, and use that awareness to inform how you design things yourself.
  2. Curate your own environment. A big part of design is creating a personal environment that nurtures your creative perspective (i.e., the way in which you choose to decorate your desk, design studio, or office). Even your own website design or social media design can display an overall sense of your style. Trying out your own design ideas and becoming comfortable in your own creativity can instill the confidence to lend your design services elsewhere.
  3. Focus on a brand’s identity—specifically its values. You should be able to recognize and understand how visual cues and representation are used to explain something’s identity. You can do this by studying successful campaigns and ad formats of the past, whether it’s digital advertising or traditional print design. View different marketing campaigns and consider their specific brand strategies and target audiences to see how they work together. For instance, Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein filmed actual people searching for milk for their wildly successful “got milk?” campaign. This helped them realize that the ad wasn’t about milk’s health benefits but was rather about how milk was a staple in households. They used this idea of milk’s necessity to reignite the public’s interest in the product. That’s the whole point of advertising: knowing how and when to change the public perception of a brand by reestablishing the brand’s value systems.
  4. Constantly consume design. You should constantly consume design inspiration, whether that means following incredible visual artists on Instagram, holing up in a library with a stack of design tomes, sitting on a street corner and committing the architecture to memory, or reading up on the best print advertisements or Internet marketing strategies of all time. Adopt a posture of curiosity and allow yourself to use that curiosity in ways that make you feel good. Find avenues where great design is happening and soak it up.
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