This is a guide for making your own print ad using free software.
This page is quick, dirty, detailed and free–AND you can get to the finish line.
Don’t kid yourself. There are a few steps to doing making a print ad by doing it yourself. There is a lot of conflicting advice advertising. It’s hard just to navigate all the terminology, even harder to understand all the services and then-oh hang-there are actually THEORIES about this stuff. Forget all about that stuff.
If you have a really short attention span, here’s a quick tip: don’t begin by trying to buy an ad. The company that sells you ad space is selling you **space**. YOU need to supply what goes in that space. Below is just one way to do it. If you follow the instructions carefully, you can create the computer file that you need to give to company selling you that print ad placement. The important part is to pick a work plan that you can actually do. We're happy to answer any questions if you want to give this plan a try.
The first question (for you), and this is really important: are you willing to budget both money and time? If you are not yet willing to do both, you may not be ready to advertise. Here’s the lowdown on what advertising actually is: when people talk about business competition–they are speaking exactly and precisely about advertising. The ‘competition’ happens in front of prospective customers using communications that we call ads. If you want your business to compete, advertising is worth both time and money.
YOU Create Your Own Print Ad.
- Pick your budget. This answers the question of how big to make your ad.
- Choose a message. You need words. Ads need words. Don’t clutter. Small words. Not too many. Ask for buyers. Include phone. Get it?
- Choose Software. If you were hoping to use chisel and stone, that’s over in the sign department. But you’re right that you need software tools. A print ad requires page layout software. The name brand page layout software is Adobe Illustrator. PhotoShop is NOT the tool for page layout. The freebie in the examples below uses software named Inkscape. Do consider donating to the Inkscape project if you use it. They worked hard and it can help your business create good advertising. Inkscape download.
- Design Your Layout. Use the Inkscape drawing tools to create simple shapes to accent text and any pictures. Avoid clipart. Consider using photos instead. Use a simple font, but change the typeface using bold and italics for each statement. Change the FONT SIZE and capitalization for different lines of text. Do not get trapped into thinking that it’s not good enough. Keep your focus on this: make it say something.
- Shop For Placement. All publishers that sell print advertising are offering you what is called a ‘placement’ in front of an audience. It’s not unusual for them to sell you space even if they know it won’t work for you. YOU need to be able to understand ‘who’ is the real audience of a particular publication. Don’t take their word for it–look at the publication and ask yourself: Who reads this? If that audience doesn’t match your product’s audience–don’t buy the ad.
- Place The Ad. You are the customer. They need to make this easy for you. If they don’t–don’t buy the ad. Tell them how you are working (even if you just point them to this page). Ask for any help that is included in the price of the ad. A good publisher will take your advertising file and correct simple mistakes to help you. Their submission guidelines will probably require you to use “Save As” to deliver the type of file that they want. Again–they should help you.
- Practice Makes Perfect. This is the part where print ad publishers learn to love our company NeighborWave. Count on doing it wrong and have that be part of your plan. Learn. You will definitely learn as you go along. The way that you make room in your work plan for mistakes is to keep showing up for the game. Don’t run ONE ad… run a series of them over time and keep using your tools to change the messages to connect better with real people.
You’re done! You did it!
Below are a couple of VERY RUDIMENTARY templates for use with the Inkscape software. If you find these unsatisfactory… we made them damn ugly on purpose so that you’d have to get in there and learn. If you need to see a pretty logo, go here. This page is about YOU creating your own simple print ad yourself. NeighborWave is for hire–and we’ll get you using great, effective advertising techniques–but that’s not the point HERE on this page. You can use the templates as a starting point. Download both the templates and the Inkscape software. Just open the files and click on one of the boxes or the pieces of text and start creating. Don’t over complicate it–your goal is to create and place your own ad. You can do this.
If the clicking the pictures below doesn’t work for you… here’s the same stuff in a zip file.
- What Do You Get?
- Advertising Ideas
- Taking Action
- We Hire
- Contact Info