How to create a newspaper ad layout

Written by louise balle
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How to create a newspaper ad layout
Create a newspaper advertisement for your business. (newspaper image by Photoeyes from

One traditional method of getting the word out about a product or service is with a newspaper ad. You can call the newspaper's sales office and purchase ad space to run an ad for a set number of days or weeks. The newspaper representative will ask you to either hire a designer or create your own newspaper ad layout to the paper's specific requirements. If you choose to create your own, take your time and design an attractive ad that will appeal to the reader you are trying to target.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Ask your newspaper representative for the "spec sheet" (specifications) for the type of advertisement you want to purchase. Newspapers commonly offer quarter, half and full-page ads--the exact size varies depending on the periodical. Specs you'll need to know other than the size include the resolution of the image and file format required (such as TIF or JPG).

  2. 2

    Create a blank document in a graphic layout program. Common programs you can use for this purpose include Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, and Quark XPress.

  3. 3

    Size the blank document according to the newspaper's specs and assure that the image resolution is set at the minimum requirement as described by the spec sheet.

  4. 4

    Fill the background with white, black, or grey if this ad is for a black-and-white page. If you purchased a colour ad, pick a solid colour that grabs attention, like red, blue, or yellow. A bright colour will draw the reader's eyes to your ad, especially if the majority of the newspaper page is black and white.

  5. 5

    Type a bold headline, 10 words or less, across the top describing the product or service. Make the headline font about 1.5 times as large as the rest of the ad. So for example, if you choose to use 10 point standard font throughout the ad, set the headline at 15 points. Stick to one or two standard fonts (like Times New Roman or Arial). Elaborate fonts can make the ad difficult to read.

  6. 6

    Enter brief information about the product or service in your standard sized font (10 points in the last step's example). Avoid long paragraphs--just stick to a few detailed bullet points. Include information about any special offers.

  7. 7

    Insert a "call to action" line in the advertisement to get the reader to act. For instance, "Call us today!"

  8. 8

    Enter full contact information at the bottom of the newspaper ad, including address (if for a retail store), website (if applicable) and phone number.

  9. 9

    Insert a photo that complements your advertisement if you want. For instance, a fine leather jacket would complement an ad for a coat sale.

  10. 10

    Save the file in the format required by the spec sheet and e-mail it to the ad sales representative at the paper.

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