Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Simple Ad Layouts That Feature The Product

I'm nostalgic for old time simple generic product ad layout. I love these ads because the layout is completely functional. It's designed to show off the product. The products themselves are so much fun to look at that they don't need fancy layouts to distract from them.


I love the generic typefaces in the instructional text. The headings are much bolder and tell you the main point - they draw you in to read the smaller text. Hierarchy of importance and control of function and purpose. Alien concepts today.

Man, wouldn't you kill for this Howdy Doody skullless floating facial parts mobile??! What a great idea. I'd love to do this with some of my characters. Or my friends.

All this stuff is handsomely and carefully arranged with logic.

I sent away for this very ad and ordered all these breakfast eating accessories. You can't imagine the thrill I got when the package actually arrived in the mail. From then on I refused to eat breakfast in anything but my Huckleberry Hound Bowl and Yogi Bear mug.

Package Art Layout

The covers of old cereal boxes had more design in the layouts. The whole image was designed to be bold and have a non-ambiguous shape that you could see all the way across the store.
Bold graphically expert fun images tell you that the product is very tasty.

Compare to today's layouts:

Chaos Theory Layout

a lot of modern layout has no layout at all. Look how much harder it is to tell what you are looking at in this cluttered thoughtless box art. This sends a message that the food will taste like landfill.

Who is it that forces every box artist to put that crappy airbrush dirt all over the characters on every product? Is there some sort of Airbrush God that won't allow any variety in rendering cartoon characters? This style has to be the absolute worst way to render cartoons - ever. And it's all there is anymore! It takes all the cartooniness out of the image and makes the characters hard to make out. Somebody pleeeease explain this to me.

There's another theory of modern layout that drives me crazy - "book design". Ever buy a book about some vintage art, cartoons or toys because you actually like those cartoons and toys only to find out that the book has been designed so you never get a full image of any of the things you bought the book for? Or the images of the most intricately detailed toys are really small, and a tiny simple image is blown up far beyond what you need? Or there are acres of blank white space around tiny images and then 4 tons of text explaining to you why you should love these images that you can barely see?

That's layout that purposely competes for attention with the subject of the book or product , which is considered very stylish these days. I don't have any examples handy, but I'm sure if you are a collector, you've had this same frustrating experience.