11 Commonly Used Techniques in Visual Advertising

Author: Bob May 02, 2020 6 min read

The history of illustration in advertising goes back centuries because “a picture is worth a thousand words,” as a famous proverb says. However, today the use of illustrations for the promotion of different products and services is still relevant.


What is Illustration Advertising and Why Is It Important?


Illustration advertising is considered the most ancient way of promotion because people always need to see the goods before buying them, which is quite natural. The trick is that 90% of information coming to our brains is visual. In addition, most people remember 80% of what they see and only 20% of what they read. Therefore, advertising illustrations were, are, and will be excellent means to promote different products. With this in mind, each professional graphic designer knows a great number of techniques that can affect people’s perception, and it can be very interesting to learn what they are.


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Advertising Illustration: 11 Widespread Techniques Used in Visual Advertising


It is widely known that advertising is the engine of commerce. Graphic designers and marketers who work on commercials’ creation know a lot about human psychology and can influence our perception effectively with the help of the following inoffensive techniques:


 1. Before/after


The “before and after” technique is also popular in visual advertising since it allows the audience to see the difference instantaneously. This is a suitable tactic for businesses with instant value delivery  – for example, photo swapping or photo editing apps. In this case, it will be enough to combine two pictures into a holistic one. 

One more approach to this technique is contrasting the problem and the benefit by showcasing the pain point and offering the solution on a single ad image. 


 2. Testimonial/celebrity 


Using the image of a celebrity is quite a popular visual advertising technique that allows for building the right bonds between the audience, the celebrity, and the brand. Still, this approach is more suitable for well-known brands that can afford to hire a celebrity for their advertising. 

For small and medium-sized businesses, this visual advertising tactic can be suitable too. For example, you can hire a micro-influencer to create a visual marketing campaign tailored for the regional market.


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3. The rule of thirds


Composition rules in the sphere of visual advertising and the rule of thirds is one of its basis. According to this rule, it is necessary to divide the image into three equal parts horizontally and vertically. In this way, you receive some kind of a grid. The main rule of good design is to place important elements of the picture at the intersections of horizontal and vertical lines of this grid.


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4. The psychology of colors


It is also important to say about different colors that evoke certain feelings among potential customers. Colors are considered very powerful means of influence in human psychology; psychologists and physiologists investigate how colors influence human feelings. Designers, in their turn, use different color schemes to promote some products. For example, yellow is a color of happiness and optimism, while red shades are used to increase excitement. Therefore, if a designer knows how to use different colors correctly, such an approach may enhance the desired impact; for instance, increase sales in a very nice way.


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5. Associative bonds


Even vintage advertising illustrations were based on the simplest associative bonds, and this concept has not changed today. When a person sees other people having everything for a happy life, he or she starts to associate the state of happiness with the objects that these people have. This process is unconscious but very strong, and it lays the basis of advertising in general. Therefore, it is extremely important to know how to express happiness and good mood with the help of a simple picture.


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6. Body language


Talking about advertising with photos or videos of some persons is impossible without mentioning the body language. It is possible to say even more with the help of body than by using words or pictures. Therefore, all models learn the fundamentals and tricks of posing. Such non-verbal signals as postures and gestures are extremely important for the good promotion of a brand or a certain product.


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7. Composition


Composition is considered the alpha and omega of visual advertisement and is usually used to place all important elements of the picture harmoniously. To achieve this goal, you should use the rule of thirds, know a lot about the golden section, and the use of negative space and symmetry. An experienced designer can create a masterpiece by using these rules, simply recognizable by all artists and unknown for ordinary people.


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8. Repetitions


Repetition of a brand’s name or a slogan is a good way to make this brand more recognizable among potential customers, and all designers know it very well. However, it is necessary to remember about moderation because an overdose of repetitions may spoil everything.


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9. The direct gaze induction technique


Models, photographers, and designers also like to use another popular technique that is called the direct gaze induction technique. The nature of this approach is also hidden in the inmost recesses of humans’ souls. A direct gaze is considered a powerful strategy in psychology and social communications. Therefore, celebrities that look at us from billboards and screens are very convincing in advertising any product or service.


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10. Focal point


A focal point is the center of a picture on which the attention of people is focused with the help of different means. For example, designers may use reflections, rays, contrasting colors or unusual shapes to create one strong focal point in the picture to draw viewers’ attention. The technique of focal points is used to determine the central element of the picture; therefore, there can be only one strong focal point.


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11. Symbolism

Symbolism is based on associative bonds as well. Everybody knows that each brand and company have some branded patterns, subjects, and colors. Therefore, it is possible to use different combinations thereof to send deeper messages to potential customers and build stronger unconscious associations with the product.


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As it comes from the list of visual advertising techniques, all graphic designers that work in this sphere should know human psychology perfectly if they want to create good visual advertising campaigns. Therefore, it is not unusual for marketers and other specialists to try to improve their knowledge about a certain market and potential customers. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to promote this or that brand.
Fortunately, graphic designers in Wow-How Studio know a lot about these techniques (and a great number of others that were not described in this very post) and use them successfully for many years because seeing is believing. Our work is to make people’s and clients’ dreams visual so that they can come true easily and quickly!



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