“The good is the beautiful.” -Plato

Brochures. They still exist. Businesses started using print advertising around 1910 when printing became more efficient and economical. In the 50s and 60s, companies added more color as the cost for ink dropped. 50 years later, we still have brochures, and they come in all colors and designs.

Are brochures outdated? Can they still grab attention, make a sale?

I think they can, but it depends on the design. If you want me to read the writing on the piece of paper (and I’m not an avid reader), it’s going to take a lot of work. As soon as I see that brochure I need to be interested, and words aren’t going to cut it.

The triangular-folding pamphlet probably grabbed your attention. You wanted to read it without knowing what was being sold. That’s the power of a good design.

When it all comes together, there are a few key elements that need to be involved:

  1. Colors. Bright colors. – If I don’t think, “Ooooohhh, shiny…” I don’t want your piece of paper. I have too much other junk to throw away.
  2. Interesting architecture. – Unless it’s a topic I know and care about, it’s hard to change my mind with words. Let me play with the brochure. Be new, innovative and intriguing. If I’m in a positive mood, the product or service or whatever will be more appealing.
  3. Minimal words. – When do you receive a brochure? It’s probably at the entrance to a store, walking on the street or heading toward some other activity. You don’t have time (or the ability, necessarily) to read what’s in your hand. Tell a story with the pictures, supplement it with the information.

If a business does these things, I (or anybody, really) am more likely to read their brochure. I don’t think print advertising is dead at all. With the right material, it can be a powerful persuasive tool.

I’d like to hear your opinion, though. Do you think brochures and pamphlets are a waste of money? Leave a comment below. If you haven’t yet followed me on Twitter @IllusionofMatt, you can now save a starving child on Mars by doing so. If you like reading my blog, check out some other awesome posts that are soon to come. And you can follow my blog via email. There’s a button on the right of the home page. That’s all for now.

Peace. -Matt


Over the past few weeks I got my first opportunity to create a print advertisement for a national competition. I included several elements of persuasion and design that I’ve learned over the past six years. It was fun to finally put that knowledge to work.

The competition is run by Best New Ad, and BelleDangles sponsors the current contest. Participants need to create an 8.5 by 11-inch print advertisement. The ad must contain several other elements such as a brief description of the product and a link to their website.

The product is a jewelry organizer. Apparently girls’ jewelry gets tangled often, and apparently they care enough to buy products like this. It can hang accessories such as purses, earrings, necklaces, etc., and it displays them all like beautiful artwork on the wall. So they say. I prefer to just throw my purses in a pile at the foot of my bed.

Now that the description is out of the way, I’d like to share the masterful crafting of my own advertisement. The primary objective was to raise interest in the product in college-aged girls. My friend Mike has this lovely, tall friend who agreed to model for me. Thank you, Hannah! The picture was also taken from my dorm room, bringing more elements of college life into the picture. In other words, the picture is supposed to relate to college girls by representing their lives.

When creating the picture, I focused on aesthetics. I started with the Rule of Thirds, putting major focal points on the intersections of the imaginary lines. Hannah is sitting on the right vertical axis, and the product itself is roughly on the upper left intersect.

I also wanted to focus on the contrast between organization and clutter. I have a wonderful friend, Tyler, who does graphic design. He helped me edit the picture with a few nice touches. First, we cut the product out of a picture from the company and put it next to the mirror. After that, he put gray-scale gradients over specific areas. When I took the picture, I had Hanna toss some of her dresses on the bed haphazardly. I also asked her to wear a white dress. Tyler lightened the product and put some light on Hanna in the mirror and on her dress. He darkened all of the other areas, specifically the bed, to create the contrast.

Finally, Tyler copied the color from the logo, and we found a font to make the beautiful tag line. “Organize. Look beautiful.” Sure, organization has nothing to do with looking good, but the tag line makes it seem that way.

(We also included a testimonial and the company website, as the client requires it for the contest.)

Well, that’s enough self-promoting for today! As always, please follow me on Twitter, and follow my blog, too. There’s a button on the right side of the home page for that.

Peace. ~Matt

A brief message to everyone who likes reading my blog: I am deeply sorry I haven’t posted in 9 days (wow, that’s a lot). I’ve been busy with many projects, like this one. I am going to make my best effort to post at least twice a week from now on. I have a lot of things to say, and if you’re reading this, you probably care what I have to say other times, too ;).  Anyway, thank you for being loyal readers, and have a wonderful day.

As you may know, I started this blog as a class assignment. That doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally ramble on about an unassigned topic. I enjoy a good rant.

For over a year I served as Public Relations Chair for my residence hall council. My love for persuasive communication and out-of-the-box thinking led me to create some interesting advertisements for our planned events. Personally, I despise reading (ironic since you’re reading this now). My philosophy in creating ads became “more pictures, less words.”

Marketers understand that. Their job requires them to grab attention, and visuals do just that. Some marketers tried other avenues, ramping up the volume on their commercials. That also worked, but Congress stopped that not too long ago with the CALM Act. With auditory channels regulated, Teddy Roosevelt’s words of wisdom hold more true than ever.

“Speak softly, and carry a tiny sapling.”

Jeter gets it. ->

All about aesthetics

(The answer is yes, I spent an hour on GIMP cutting out Jeter and a tree.)

Aesthetics is not only a cool word but also a cool concept.

Aesthetics is essentially the study of all things pleasing to the senses, and, more specifically, things pleasing to the eye. People are drawn toward things they see as pretty. An entire job market exists purely to improve people’s own appearances. Everyone is shallow, and it’s okay.

I’ll talk more about physical appearance in later posts. For now, I want to talk about some of the visual effects marketers use to create compelling advertisements.

Photography follows a basic principle known as the rule of thirds. As that article states, studies demonstrate that people focus on four points around the center of a photograph, not the center. If you want to grab someone’s attention quickly, you put the most important images in those areas. Look at the picture of Derek Jeter again.

Ads also need to consider colors. Choosing the correct colors can grab someone’s attention or make your image forgettable. Brighter colors stand out better.

Take a look at the picture on the left. The top image shows some flowers. The bottom image shows the same flowers under ultraviolet light. That’s what bees see. While people can’t see UV light, we act as if we can. Notice how the originally green leaves disappear behind the exotic white and red of the petals.

Psychology states that certain ideas associate with certain colors. Here’s a list of the main colors and some basic ideas they pair up with:

  • Red: passion and speed. Fun fact: red also increases appetite, which is why restaurants often have red logos.
  • Orange: energy
  • Yellow: happiness and warmth
  • Green: life, springtime and tranquility
  • Blue: tranquility and cold
  • Purple: royalty/wealth

That’s all for today! As usual, all of the ideas expressed here are my own opinions, etc., and other legal stuff. I should really write this on the “About” page for this site so I don’t have to put it at the end of every post. I love to hear your comments! They make me feel special. Also, you should follow my blog (link found on the home page) and follow me on Twitter.

Peace. ~Matt