Layout is the logical arrangement of components of an advertisement in the copy. It refers to the overall structure, the position assigned to the various elements of the copy and illustrations. It is deciding on the placement of headlines, copy, illustrations, marketer‟s name, logo and the amount of free space in an advertisement copy. Thus, the physical arrangement of all the elements of advertisement is called layout. It is concerned with placing all the elements of the advertisement more attractively within the allotted space and time. The pattern of layout varies according to the medium to be used.
According to Sandage and Fryburger, “The plan of an advertisement, detailing the arrangement of various parts and relative spatial importance of each is referred to as layout”.
Preparation of an Advertising Layout
A layout is a plan for the guidance of the printer in arranging the units of an advertisement. Usually the layout man or visualiser prepares a rough Layout which is submitted to the client for approval and he draws the finished layout for the guidance of the printer. In the creation of television commercials the layout is known as a „Storyboard’ which a series of pictures is of frames that coincides with the audio or sound script. A Radio does not utilize illustrations, except those that the medium can create with a description. Television, of course makes an extensive use of illustrations. A well conceived layout can be instrumental in obtaining attention comprehension, attitude change and behavior change. Advertisers employ various layout techniques to attain their objectives.
Functions of an Advertising Layout
An advertisement layout is a blueprint. The main functions of layout are:-
- Assembling Different Parts – The main function of layout is to assemble and arrange the different parts or elements of an advertisement illustration, headline sub headlines, slogans, body text and the identification mark etc. And boarder and other graphic materials – into a unified presentation of the sales message. In all the layouts present these elements in the same size, form, shape, position and proportion as desired by the advertiser in the final ad, proof , Thus layout gives both creative personals (copywriter and artists ) and the advertiser who pays for it a good idea of how the finished ad will finally appear.
- Opportunity of Modification – The layout offers an opportunity to the creative teams, agency management and the advertiser to suggest modification before its final approval and actual construction and production begins.
- Specification for Costs – The layout provides specification for estimating costs and it is a guide for engravers typographers and other craft workers to follow in producing the advertisement.
Principles of Design and Layout
It is not necessary that all elements of advertisement copy must form part of the copy. They appear in today‟s ads with varying degree of frequency. The components of the copy must be decorated or positioned on the basis of certain basic principals regardless of the number of elements in an add. The following five principles of good composition are important to anyone who creates or evaluates the advertisement:
- Balance – A layout may be called balanced if equal weight or forces are equidistant from a reference point or a light weight is placed at a greater distance from the reference point than a heavy weight. Balance is the law of nature. The reference point or fulcrum is the optical center of the advertisement. The artists with a given area or space, are to place all the elements with in this space. Optical center of fulcrum of the ad is often a point approximately two – thirds of the distance forms the bottom. It is the reference of the layout.
- Proportion- Proportion is closely related to balance since it refers to the division of space among layout elements for a pleasing optical effect. Good proportion in an advertisement requires a desired emphasis on each element in terms of size and position. If the major appeal in an advertisement is product‟s price. The price should be displayed in proportionate space position.
- Contrast and Emphasis – Contrast means variety. It gives life to the whole composition and adds emphasis to selected important elements. An advertiser always looks to advertisements from completion point of view and desires the policy of the most important elements to attract the attention of the people. An advertisement with good contrast may attract the attention of customers Contrast maybe visible in a number of ways. It may be witnessed through sizes, shapes and colours. Different colors sizes and shapes of elements in an advertisement add contrast. The varying directions, of design elements (Vertical trees, horizontal pavements arched rainbows) add contrast; too there must be sales communication purpose behind every layout decision made.
- Eye Movement – Eye movement is the design principle which helps move the eyes of the readers from element to element in the order given in the hierarchy of effects model for effective communication of the message in advertising. An effective ad uses movement to lead its reading audience from initial message awareness through product knowledge and brand preference, to ultimate action (intent to purchase). Direction and sequence are two terms for the same element and artists may perform it in many ways. Mechanical eye direction may be created by devices such as pointing fingers lines arrows or even a bouncing ball that moves from unit to unit. Planned eye movement should follow the established reading patterns too, such as the tendency to start to top left corner of a page and read through to the lower right corner. The eyes also moves naturally from large items to small from dark to light and from colors to not – colors.
- Unity or Harmony – Unity or harmony is another important design principle. Although each element should be considered as a separate unit in striving for balance, proportion, contrast and eye movement. The complete layout or design should appear as a unified composition. Common methods of securing unity in layouts are (i) use of consistent typographical design. (ii) repetition of the same shapes and motifs, (iii) the overlapping of elements (iv) use of a boarder to hold elements together and (v) avoidance of too much which space between various element.
Although unity and contrast seem conflicting but they function quite smoothly together if they operate at cross purposes – if the artists strive for balance here too as well as in the layout overall. Unity contributes orderliness to elements – a state of coherence. And if they are properly placed. Contrasting Size shapes colours and directions can flow together beautifully.