Yellow Pages Advertising Design: Choose Your Expert With Eyes Wide Open!

Even with today’s technology, it’s nearly impossible to construct a persuasive, phone-ringing Yellow Pages advertisement in under 30 minutes. Where did I get thirty minutes from? In 1975, my first gig was designing Yellow Page ads for a large national Yellow Pages publisher. I considered it my “dream job.” Our tight-knit group of creatives would dole out dozens of Yellow Page ads per day, every day. We did our best to make each ad a selling masterpiece BUT we did have a daily quota of 10-15 ads to contend with…Arrange time for breaks, paperwork, etc. and that rate works out to about 30 minutes per ad.

OK, so it takes more than 30 minutes, but why worry about Yellow Page ads?
Even as “online local search” continues to grow at a rapid clip, today’s print Yellow Page directories represent a not-too-shabby $14 billion a year industry, and has morphed into a broader medium that includes BOTH print and online capabilities. In fact, directional media (Yellow Pages, online local search and classified advertising) is expected to top $119 billion by 2010. For all of this, print Yellow Pages are still what they have always been, a very effective means of generating telephone calls and revenue from your most important local prospects.

So if the Yellow Pages designers can’t always produce great ads, who can?
My two year stint working for a Yellow Pages publisher taught me a great deal about ad design and Yellow Pages advertising. But despite a promotion to Art Director status, I soon left the Yellow Pages to start my own graphic design company…

After twenty years of running a successful design studio and servicing Fortune 500 members, the corporate advertising world had become stale and left me underwhelmed. I decided to re-visit the Yellow Pages industry and created a niche service that, at the time, practically didn’t exist: “The Yellow Page Ad Design Specialist.” By improving the message and visual impact in my clients’ Yellow Page ads, I was able to unleash the incredible potential of the medium. Over the last decade, my clients and I have enjoyed phenomenal success, and my niche market has spawned many competitors.

How can you outmaneuver and outsell your Yellow Page competitors?
While designing phenomenal Yellow Page ads takes more than a few tips – it takes real design talent, advertising experience, and expertise in the dynamics of Yellow Page advertising – the very best guidelines for Do-It-Yourselfers can be found in “Effective Yellow Pages Advertising for Lawyers” written by the late Kerry Randall. It was written for attorneys but its’ principles apply to any business appearing in the Yellow Pages. After exhaustive analysis, Kerry determined that nearly all effective, call-generating Yellow Page ads include six key elements. He taught that all high-performance Yellow Page ads should contain:

Strong headlines that command attention and engage readers
A laser-sharp focus; a willingness to ignore most readers
Arresting, eye-captivating illustrations or photographs
Clearly identifiable differences ( from competitive advertisers)
Relevant copy (text) that covers less than 50% of the ad space
Professional-looking, clutter-free layouts

I’ve developed and been preaching very similar principles to my Yellow Page clients for a decade so I wasn’t overly surprised when Mr. Randall emailed me kudos for our Yellow Page advertising efforts. Kerry’s recent passing was a big loss for the industry but he left behind a sparkling gem of a book that will continue to help countless Yellow Page advertisers. Whether you’re determined to create your very own Yellow Page ad or looking to hire an independent designer, Kerry’s masterful dissertation is an invaluable guide.

And you’ll need a guide in picking out an effective designer. Remember, every industry has it’s share of sneaky imposters. It only takes about $20 a month to hang out your electronic shingle these days and some Yellow Page ad “professionals” lack even a formal advertising design background, let alone a solid, direct-response experience, or a successful track-record for their clients.

Scrutinize prospective designer’s Yellow Page ad samples in light of these 6 principles. Make sure that the ads clearly and honestly speak to the prospects’ emotional needs and effectively persuade prospects by presenting the very best solution to their specific problem. Also verify that the Yellow Page design specialist you choose has a solid direct-response background and a successful track-record for their clients.

Advertising Design Degree Choices

A creative advertisement is essential to the success of a product. The images, words, and graphics used to create an ad make a product stand out in the minds of consumers. Working through a degree program in advertising design can place students inside a variety of graphic design careers. Many colleges offer students an education in this field.

Work completed in a degree program has students learning the traditional and technical side of design. These skills are mixed with the fundamental principles of planning a campaign, evaluating the consumer, developing a brand, and writing copy. Most programs have students completing projects so they can create a portfolio that displays their personal skill level in areas like research, systems design, interactive design, and promotion. The degree options available to students include:

A two-year associate’s degree
A four-year bachelor’s degree
A two-year master’s degree
And a two to three year PhD degree

Undergraduate degree programs typically focus heavily on the integration of advertising and design concepts. Graduate degree programs teach students advanced concepts that allow them to enter managerial positions.

At the associate’s degree level students learn how to plan, examine, and develop visual components that are used in advertising. Coursework focuses on introductory skills that are developed so students can transfer their knowledge into a career. Students are taught how to layout and design product packages, advertisements, magazines, and more. The work completed in a bachelor’s degree program teaches how to design and execute the techniques used to sell and promote products. Through specific coursework students learn to develop copy and work with a graphic design team to create a solution for a client. The skills needed to do this include being able to implement design protocol and use the latest computer software and equipment. In graduate degree studies students can enter specialties where they learn how to work exclusively with a certain area. Students can work through a concentration in media technology, international advertising, and creative strategy. PhD programs prepare students to educate others about the filed. Students can finish education with this level of degree by working through a related degree in mass communications.

Courses taken throughout schooling may include:

3-D Design
Students examine the elements and principles of design, space, form, mass, scale, proportion, drawing, and research. Emphasizes the process of designing 3-D movement and modeling.
Effective copywriting is explored by studying examples. Students learn how to use different styles and techniques in today’s industry. A copywriting course also teaches students how to effectively use grammar and composition to establish the role of text in advertisements.

Through the in depth study of advertising students can enter a career prepared. Work through the desired level of education and enter a career that is technology based and fast paced. The work completed in an accredited degree program is vital for the ability to succeed in the industry and students have multiple education choices. Full accreditation is provided by agencies like the national Association of Schools of Art and Design ( to schools and colleges that provide proof they can offer a quality education to students.

Advertising Design Programs

You may want to consider advertising design programs if you have a knack for computer design, an eye for graphic arts and a personality that persuades. There are many schools that offer advertising design degrees including certificate, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree options. Advertising has grown into a massive field with many different facets, and it’s not all about people in suits that are sitting in board rooms deciding what television commercials to produce. There are many different jobs in the advertising field that use art and design skills to help introduce consumers to new products and services, remind them of well-known brands and, ultimately, persuade them to buy a product or invest in a service.

What Students Learn in Advertising Design School

Students learn a number of skills, theories, facts and historical perspectives during advertising design school. And, of course, they learn all the latest design software that is currently being used in the field. Most programs begin by educating students on the basic aspects of advertising, marketing, public relations and sales-as these fields are all related, and it is necessary to understand these concepts to navigate the industry. Then students can learn the leading computer aided design skills and use the most common design software such as Corel Draw, InDesign, PhotoShop and QuarkXpress.

Students who complete a traditional bachelor’s degree in advertising design will also be required to complete some general education courses in reading, writing, math, science and history. This may sound like a waste of time to some students, who may opt for a certificate or associate’s degree that sticks solely to advertising and design skills. However, many professional people find that the additional education helps better prepare them for the job market and opens up more career doors. Some design schools also introduce students to e-business, e-commerce, web development and website design.

Outcomes of Advertising Design Programs

There may be some certificate programs in design or related fields, but it is more likely that students will complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, and there are also many master’s degree programs for students who want to take their skills to the next level. Graphic artists in the advertising field often start out earning between $40,000 and $50,000 annually, and those with master’s degrees may earn as much as $80,000 to start with room for advancement. There are many opportunities in this field, and it’s an excellent time to start your career in advertising design.