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Advertising Portfolio Tips:



SVA advertising, school of visual arts


  "There is no deadline  

  for improving an idea" 


There is still over a week to make your work better. These executional tips can help you improve your work. We will discuss further in class how it relates to your portfolio pieces in progress.



Make sure everything is at its peak: Concept, visual, design, layout, typography, words, voice, tone, and details of your execution.

Is your idea persuasive enough, or does it just look good? Does it meet the goal and objective indicated in the assignment?


If you have a good campaign idea, add some integrated work that relates to the concept.

For example, you have a great print campaign, now how can you leverage the idea and connect to the target digitally--in social media or online ads, or is there a guerilla advertising or ambient tactic. Or even a pr stunt. Also, your choice of media should strengthen the idea. In that case, comp up the ad in that context for your online portfolio.



No two campaigns should have the same layout. At this point, you should be beyond just finding a stock photo and putting a headline on it. As an art director, you decide where on the page you want a viewer to look first, second and third. As a writer, you also decide the order a viewer digests your words and idea.



Analyze your work and see if any of it can benefit from an additional design influence – as long as it’s relevant to the concept. If sticking with your original design, can it be simplified? Is the design complicating the message for the viewer or helping the message? Also, are you using your strengths or passions from other visual areas to show off your skills: Illustration, fine art, photography, color, video, motion design, painting, typography, etc. 



Make sure you’ve got the best visual for your idea. Art Direction is about choices. Even if it was approved before in class, see if you can find or create a better one. Do not rely on just Google for images. We've given out about a dozen other resources. You should be reviewing appx 2-3,000 images to find one great one. We do at least that many and more.

Also, as art directors, you should look at an image and see what tweak you can do to make it more unique— as we did in class. You all did some really cool stuff. Color adjustments, curves, texture, levels, saturation, highlight adjustments, etc.

Via Photoshop or other image manipulation software or site. Any decision should be in keeping with the tonality of your idea. Retouch out distracting elements of your visuals. Neutralize distracting colors that jump out. Cropping your images for interest or effect can be as important as selecting them. We will show writers how to easily do this as well.



All images must be hi-res enough for however your portfolio is viewed. It is not just dpi that is important, but also the final size your image will appear.
We will discuss image quality individually.



Type influences. Your font selection, size, placement, and design is the voice of your idea. It should relate to your concept and the feeling/tonality of the campaign. Type is its voice. Sure Helvetica is timeless, just don’t use it for everything. Also, think if it’s relevant or not to give your type an effect. Just don’t make it gratuitous or random. Pay attention to kerning and letter spacing. Also consider if your type, headline or tagline is better suited as part of the image rather than placed over the page.



Your overall art direction should be based on your ‘idea.’ It should also get your ad noticed and make people want to stop and read your ad. If you don’t get their attention they can’t be influenced by your idea.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking everyone is interested in your idea because you are. Or that everyone will get it because your advertising peers like it.

Draw your prospects in for the right reason and reward them for stopping by.



Double-check your words. Does the headline sound too much like a headline? Attempt three ways to say it differently. Can you tweak the language to be more provocative and persuasive? Can it sound more conversational?


Review our 'Seeing Things Differently' presentation to freshen and sharpen your visual thinking and see if you can surprise a creative director with something they never saw before.



Push yourself to make it GREAT! Don’t forget to put work in progress in your class Google drive folder.

P.S. Photoshop vs InDesign vs Illustrator:

Basically Photoshop is an image manipulation program and InDesign a layout program. I recommend that you use them both. But stop using Photoshop for layouts. It's called 'Photo'shop for a reason. Prepare your art in Photoshop and import the art into a page(s) in InDesign. This way it’s easier to focus on layout and design and type options. Also, do not use Illustrator for layouts. It is for Illustrations and line work and designs and vectors. But does not offer the layout options of InDesign.
When you import your art into InDesign, you can duplicate the page and then try various layouts—a different one on each page. Different logo placements/sizings. Different crops of the visual. Or import different versions of the visual. Then you can easily toggle back and forth between pages and make decisions. It is much more useful than doing different versions in Photoshop. You can also tweak type better and it’s much easier to navigate the pages than folders or groups in psd. This is also how it’s done in the real word in an agency.
It’s also easier to print from and will help you keep pages a consistent size. You can also create different size layouts within a document. 

Don't forget that the size/proportion of you layout will indicate to the viewer what type of ad/media they are viewing. Ad Proportions>

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