We may be living in a digital age, but print publications still play an important role in business and marketing.

Just take the following numbers into consideration:

As much as 82% of consumers trust print ads the most when making a purchase decision. Also, 77% of consumers say that print drives higher levels of recall.

In short, you shouldn’t neglect the impact of print advertising when considering your future campaigns.

In this article, we take a look at and analyze some of the most inspiring print designs of 2021: brochures, billboards, magazine ads and catalogs that grab the viewers’ attention, deliver the key message across and excel at visual inventiveness.

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1. CareServ By Solinity Marketing

[Source: CareServ]

Standout features:

  • A music album theme
  • A three-tone color palette
  • Design follows the tradeshow theme

CareServ is a provider of nursing services specializing in elderly care. Their brochure and giveaway materials, created by Solinity Marketing, were designed for a tradeshow where CareServ was presenting. 

This print design was custom-made according to the theme of the event "so they could stand out from the rest." Its cartoon rendition features a raccoon playing a guitar on-stage, with teal color surrounding the central imagery and providing the backbone to the large, bold fonts and the URL for the event on the CareServ's website.

The print design's overall feel is slightly "grungy" owing to the faded-out effect and "scratches" on the surface. The mascot makes a reappearance on the inside package which consists of a CD nested in a hardcover envelope.

The mock music album design is rounded up on the back cover, with "Our Latest Hits" messaging and a "tracklisting" of CareServ's set of services. This print design was accompanied by a series of similarly-designed posts for social media to provide consistency for this campaign.

2. Love After Lockup By Dixon

[Source: Love After Lockup]

Standout features:

  • Great color editing
  • Consistent use of the show’s logo
  • Creative storytelling on every image

Love After Lockup is a WE tv reality show whose promotional material and print design is created by Dixon creative agency.

The campaign consists of several designs for billboards, magazine ads, pamphlets and other print collaterals promoting the series.

One of them depicts a convict holding hands with his significant other, with the camera focusing on their hands and the prison’s barbwire in the background. The other one, pictured in the prison’s interior, shows the inmates’ mugshots with their partners standing in front of them.

The former is quite bright and vivid, while the latter is more brooding in terms of color palette, although they both have certain common denominators that lend cohesiveness to the campaign. For example, the fonts used are the same throughout and the general color editing is quite consistent in both ads.

The show’s branding is quite prominent and consistent, thanks to the distinctive use of handcuffs in letters “O” in “Love After Lockup” and the show’s tagline “Love With Conviction.”

3. Calzado Footwear Catalog By 22DG

Calzado Footwear Catalog print design
[Source: Topper Catalog]

Standout features:

  • A unique concept of sports being planets
  • A minimalist cover in a vibrant color
  • “Stealth” black effect on the inside

22DG studio is a creative force behind Topper’s footwear catalog which opts for a very simplistic cover but gets really complex and imaginative on the inside pages. The agency articulated their approach as having “[each sport be a standalone planet since every sport is a world of its own.]”

Awash in a sea of royal blue, the catalog’s cover is minimalist and almost pedestrian, not at all indicative of its inside contents. White lettering in a bold sans serif font stands out quite vividly and the hardcover binding adds sturdiness and better quality to the overall print design.

On the inside, the catalog opens with a “stealth” black effect, with lettering slightly debossed for a very premium feel. The actual catalog is contained within a blue insert sleeve, which contrasts well with black. The publication even contains a CD with the electronic equivalent of the catalog.

The printed material is divided into different sports. Each sport is accompanied by an elaborate illustration depicting a court and athletes in action. The unique catch is that the court and the athletes are standing on or inside the sport’s ball as if it was a planet.

Next to each page with a ball/planet is Topper’s footwear for the specific sport in all the angles and zoomed-in details. This is the catalog’s main part and it provides enough info for the reader to make an informed purchase decision based on the stats, measurements and other details.

4. Lively By Division of Labor

[Source: Lively Billboards]

Standout features:

  • Humorous messaging
  • Vibrant, contrasting colors
  • Attention-grabbing approach

Lively is a health savings account company whose humorous billboard campaign is courtesy of Division of Labor creative agency.

The campaign’s primary aim was to raise Lively’s profile among the general public that may largely be unaware of their services. Therefore, a series of billboards were created for brand awareness. They all follow the same concept and layout and offer a glimpse into what Lively’s insurance plans can offer to the user.

The billboards are divided into two halves, left and right. The left half communicates the health issue caused by a certain culprit: “Trauma courtesy of walking in on parents,” “Missing teeth courtesy of hockey puck,” “Stomach issues provided by gas station sushi,” etc.

The right half offers the solution: “Therapy courtesy of Lively HSA,” “Dental implants courtesy of Lively HSA,” “ER visit provided by Lively HSA” and so on.

Although this smart and attention-grabbing messaging is the key to the campaign’s success, the creative agency did not slack when it comes to the visual impact as well.

The left half of the billboard is magenta-colored and features the image related to the incident or health hazard. The right half comes in a highly contrasting shade, from mint to light blue, and features the image of the Lively Visa debit card or the medicine.

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5. Banh Shop By Lost Pearl Creative

Bahn Shop print design
[Source: Banh Shop]

Standout features:

  • A striking combination of fonts
  • A defined brand color palette
  • High-quality paper type

Banh Shop Baguettes & Bowls is an international fast-casual Asian restaurant whose franchise brochure is designed by Lost Pearl Creative agency.

The restaurant offers a unique dining experience in an atmosphere reminiscent of a busy Asian market. Along with their distinctive international flavors brought to new markets worldwide, this was to be the foundation of their selling point that the brochure delivers to potential investors, landlords and venues.

In the agency’s own words, they “had the opportunity for a Banh Shop photography shoot, and let food be the focus — focusing on color and freshness” when “providing an informational package to educate and interest potential investors.”

The brochure’s cover consists of a half-half illustration of the bustling street in black and white and a colored photo of the restaurant's delicacies. Its name, featured in large, “grungy” fonts, is at the center of the cover.

On the inside, the print design relies on black, white and red colors, as well as subtle textures and effects giving the publication an “edge.” The booklet consists of numerous UVPs like “What Makes Us Different,” “Our Operations Culture,” “Awards and Recognitions” and even the restaurant’s entire menu.

The brochure’s main font is a very legible sans serif typeface, mixed with a typewriter font for headings and accentuated parts. The uneven layout results in a more eye-catching design, with images and blocks of text positioned randomly on every page.

6. Haytup Stop Hunting Campaign By The Bad Guys

Haytup Stop Hunting Campaign print design
[Source: Haytup Stop Hunting Campaign]

Standout features:

  • An emotional concept and storyline
  • A combination of hand-drawn illustrations and photos
  • Consistent presentation and camera angle on all ads

Istanbul-based creative agency The Bad Guys is the driving force behind the hugely evocative and thought-provoking print ad campaign for Haytap Animal Rights Foundation. The anti-hunting campaign raises awareness of this massive and persistent problem that keeps endangering the entire species.

To add an emotional depth to the campaign’s messaging, the agency shifted the perspective to look at hunting from the children’s point of view. With the tagline “Don’t kill the children’s future,” the three different images depict the hunters during the act of hunting.

Instead of targeting real-life animals, they are preparing to shoot at the children’s drawings of animals: a flock of wild ducks, a deer or birds.

This juxtaposition of animal drawings creates emotional tension and appeals to the hunter’s repressed humane side, to look at the world through the innocence of children’s eyes and spare the animals’ lives.

Aside from the animal illustrations, each photo comes with the tagline in bold sans serif font together with the #StopHunting hashtag. Lastly, Haytap’s butterfly logo, brand name and slogan appear in crisp, white fonts on the bottom-right corner.

7. AMPC Annual Report By Another Colour

AMPC Annual Report print design
[Source: AMPC Annual Report]

Standout features:

  • Innovative materials used on 3D models
  • A multitude of colors arranged to complement each other
  • Made of renewable paper

Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC)’s 2019-2020 Annual Report was the first release following the organization’s new creative direction and full corporate rebrand, driven by Another Colour design and branding agency.

The Annual Report’s print design features a look that is heavily oriented around the corporation’s sustainability and innovation efforts. It features 3D models with state-of-the-art fiberglass finishes - “a dramatic departure from overused and irrelevant stock photography of farmers and retail butchers.”

AMPC’s mint green brand color is featured on the cover and inside pages as the accent hue of choice, while the overall color palette was inspired by the industry’s machinery, laboratories and protective plastics. The agency sourced authentic robotic models from mechanical engineers to incorporate into the final design.

Numerous graphic elements, such as 2D and 3D infographics, pie charts, tables, stat numbers and other visual aids are prominently featured in the Report’s content. The publication was printed on renewable paper and “finished with spot varnish to enhance the shiny renders.”

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