10 Best Magazine Ad Design Examples & Tips

10 Best Magazine Ad Design Examples & Tips
Last Updated: June 13, 2024

Despite the fact that we are deep in the digital age, print publications still matter — even to the younger generation.

A whopping 92% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 23 said they prefer printed content over digital content because they find it easier to read.

Likewise, millennials — the “emerging consumer powerhouse” — hold print ads in very high regard, according to a study that found 51%-54% of them pay attention to print designs such as catalogs and magazines.

Magazine ads can be a great way to generate brand awareness and in turn, revenue. But it all hinges on a unique and compelling attention-grabbing design.

That’s why we’re breaking down the top 10 best magazine ad design examples for this year.

To ensure your advertising efforts are effective across both print and digital channels, consider partnering with digital marketing agencies that excel at creating integrated campaigns. These professionals understand how to use each platform's strengths to boost your brand's visibility and engagement.

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10 Best Graphic Design Magazine Ad Examples

Let’s take a look at some of the most creative, outrageous, ingenious and downright funny magazine ads by professional graphic designers that have captured the attention of readers.

1. Heinz

product magazine ads
[Source: Heinz]

The simple tagline of “Pass the Heinz” is rooted in pop-culture, so it might sound familiar. It originated from the popular TV series “Mad Men.” In one of the episodes, marketing guru Don Draper pitches a series of Heinz ads with images of food but no ketchup in sight.

His next move? Saying “Pass the Heinz.”

The idea was that people would fill in the gaps themselves and associate the brand with photos of food that traditionally goes with ketchup.

This creates a strong association with the product and the brand in the minds of consumers. An agency called DAVID Miami hopped on board and created ads based on the tagline.

2. iPod Shuffle

print ads in magazines
[Source: Apple]

The intelligent design of this iPod shuffle ad uses the product to map out a running route around New York City’s Central Park.

The device is often used by joggers and people that like to listen to music while they walk or run, so the ad is a creative way to present the product as relatable to consumers.

3. Sharpie 

magazine advertisements examples
[Source: Sharpie]

Miami Ad School designed a Sharpie print ad that makes a play on a famous logo design – The Rolling Stones logo.

The tagline “It all started with a Sharpie” points out the longevity and historical importance of this product that took part in the creation of some of the most iconic imagery known across the globe.

4. Expedia

magazine print ad
[Source: Expedia]

Ogilvy’s print campaign for the travel brand Expedia uses three-letter airport codes to convey messaging that readers will associate with the splendors of taking a vacation in exotic locations.

As the story goes, one of the agency’s employees saw a woman at an airport with the IATA code “FUK” hanging off of her suitcase, which prompted the idea.

The messaging “Find whatever floats your boat” appears in passport-style stamp just below, making for a creative, humorous and memorable ad.

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5. Burger King

magazine ads examples
[Source: Burger King]

This is an example how an unfortunate event can be used for advertising purposes from a different angle. The ad is laced with a bit of dark humor, so it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it’s sure to stand out.

Fast-food chain Burger King holds an infamous record for most restaurants that have burned down. They also take very vocal pride in flame-grilling their meat and not frying it.

Put these two together and what do you get? The innovative ad above, conceived and executed by DAVID Miami.

6. Adidas

magazine advertising examples
[Source: Adidas]

This ingenious use of magazine fold demonstrates how space and surface can play integral roles in ad design and its message.

The Adidas: Forever Sport campaign’s double-page spread uses the fold and images of women exercising in such a way that when a reader opens and closes the pages, the persons will stretch, lift weights and perform crunches, bringing the ad to life.

7. Volkswagen

best magazines ads
[Source: VW]

DDB Tribal, Volkswagen’s advertising agency, created a print ad campaign that communicates the features and benefits of the automotive brand’s Park Assist system.

They highlighted the risk associated with the “tight squeeze” when two cars are parked close to each other. The ad uses a porcupine with its pointy back and goldfish in fragile bags filled with water.

The risk of the porcupine puncturing one of the bags looks inevitable, but the ad is letting the reader know that VW’s Park Assist system makes sure that nothing of the kind – or at least the real-life equivalent – will happen.

8. Faber-Castell

examples of magazine ads
[Source: Faber Castell]

Creative utilities such as pencils are often embedded in the minds of people as the sources and instruments of inspiration. Faber-Castell pencil company kept this idea in mind when creating the above ad.

It showcases the tip of a pen as a spotlight for an aspiring musician in the middle of an “aha” moment of revelation. The tagline “In every pencil, there is an idea waiting to be discovered,” leaves no doubt as to what the message of the ad is.

9. Whiskas

magazine ad example
[Source: Whiskas]

As part of their “Big Cat, Small Cat” campaign, Whiskas employed Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO agency to come up with an ad that would communicate the way the company’s cat food is in touch with a cat’s primordial nature.

The “Feeding your cat’s instincts” copy and an image of a domestic cat chasing an antelope convey the message of making all-natural, top-quality cat food loud and clear.

10. Schusev State Museum Of Architecture

design print ads
[Source: Schusev State Museum Of Architecture]

Saatchi & Saatchi is behind this visually striking print ad showcasing Moscow’s St. Basil’s church. The fantasy-like imagery shows the unknown world beneath the surface, in which the church is much larger and more grand than believed.

Of course, this is make-believe: the ad campaign is for the Schusev State Museum of Architecture and features the tagline ”Discover the full story.”

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What Makes These Print Ad Design Examples Great?

Now that we’ve looked at these stellar magazine ad design examples, it’s time to dissect them and reveal the common denominators that make them so memorable.

  • Concise copy: The visuals aren’t the only feature that makes these ads so good. The concise copy communicates the main message behind the ads in an understandable, to-the-point manner.
  • Font simplicity: Ads that deliver a compelling message use typography that is simple and plain. It’s okay to keep titles a little more flamboyant and creative, but the simple text is also important for legibility and ease of reading.
  • Benefits: Either directly through the copy or to the associative images, the very best print ads describe the features and benefits of products or services and focus on the solution to a specific need.
  • Unique selling propositions: Both the design and the text of the most engaging print ads convey a feeling of something special and different. They demonstrate the uniqueness of either the product itself or the way the product can make a consumer feel.
  • Original visuals: Even when the above print ads used simple images – like the Heinz ad, for example – the way they are positioned and the context that is given is original. Original visuals work better alongside the copy because it makes the ads more memorable.

5 Magazine Ad Design Tips For Creating Attention

Certain best practices can help you create a print ad that cuts through the noise and engages viewers. Keep these five helpful tips in mind:

Tip #1: Leverage The Gestalt Principle

The human eye sees objects in their entirety before noticing their individual parts. This is known as the Gestalt principle, which consists of five aspects print ads should follow:

  • Similarity: People perceive objects that look similar to each other as a pattern or a group of objects belonging together.
  • Figure & Ground: Similar elements are contracted with dissimilar ones to create an impression of the whole.
  • Closure: When certain information is missing, the brain will see patterns and fill in the blanks.
  • Continuation: Using the direction of the objects on an image to move the eye from one object to another.
  • Proximity: Objects that are close together will be perceived as belonging in a group or a unit.

Tip #2: Focus On Delivering One Message

Magazine ads are only impactful if they’re focused on delivering a single message. Cramming ad copy with multiple benefits and features results in a jumbled and overwhelming design that requires a lot of effort to read.

This repels a reader’s attention instead of grabbing it. One message per ad is the most effective recipe for hooking magazine readers and getting them to read the rest of your ad. Emphasizing one benefit or feature makes it easy for the audience to understand its value.

Readers will remember your ad when it’s a single line of copy that effectively explains how the product/service will benefit their lives.

Tip #3: Use Hyperbole

By exaggerating a product’s benefits in a way that is witty, intelligent and infused with humor, advertisers capture the attention of the audience and trigger an emotional response.

For example, the Faber-Castell ad we looked at earlier presents the process of inspiration and illumination as something truly grandiose and spectacular. And it’s coming from a very simple object – a pencil!

Tip #4: Achieve Balance

A sense of balance in an ad’s image conveys a feel of unity and ties the entire design together. The rule of thirds is one of the oldest and most reliable methods of achieving balance.

By dividing the image into thirds, ad designers center the main focal point on the outer vertical line and center it on the horizontal line, making the image more dynamic and interesting.

It is advisable to view your layout under the grid, which should help create underlying unity and structure for design.

Tip #5: Make It Playful

The brain is programmed to predict outcomes. This allows human beings to anticipate what is going to happen and how to react to it.

Predictable print ads need only a hint of thought to be understood, which typically makes them boring. Marketers can avoid this predictability by forcing the audience to think just a little bit harder about the ad by turning it into a game.

Framing the ad like a game that readers can “beat” ensures the audience will be engaged by the ad and will interact with it to grasp the advertisement’s message.

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Takeaways On The Best Magazine Ad Design

Print ads still capture the interest and attention of millions, especially millennials and younger demographics, despite the advent of the digital age.

The best graphic design magazine ad examples we’ve listed in this article showcase the perfect synergy of concise, benefits-oriented copy, intelligent and humorous angles and unique and stunning visuals.

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