Friday, July 10, 2009

Comic Book Auto Ad

I used to work as a graphic designer at a newspaper in the automotive department. For seven long years, I churned out automotive ads five days a week.

Most of the ads were variations on the same theme day in and day out; headline at the top, a grid of car photos with pricing and info, and then the dealership's name at the bottom. It would have been dreary if it weren't so monotonous.

Occasionally I would try to spice the ads up a bit. Not just for the sake of my sanity, but to make the auto dealer's ad stand out a bit in a sea of uniformity.

To that end, this was an ad I proposed to a local auto dealer.

It was fairly complicated, and required the use of both Photoshop and InDesign. I found stock art photos of the autos, then used Photoshop to add a heavy outline around them, as if they'd been drawn and inked. Then I used a filter to add halftone effects to the background.

Next I used InDesign to lay out a grid of comic book panels. I imported the auto images and placed them into the panels, and then added the comic book style text over them.

Then it was back to Photoshop where I added the shading and staples in the middle of the page.

The empty top box was where I would have added the headline, and the bottom two panels were for the dealership's logo and contact info.

Ultimately the dealer didn't buy it– he said he liked it, and agreed it would stand out, but he was concerned that it only featured three cars, and as his ads normally contained 30 or more vehicles, he didn't feel he would be getting his money's worth. So in the end he ran the same grid full of cars like he'd ran in the newspaper every day for decades. Story of my life!

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