Creative Toilet Paper Print Ad

Getting Started

Making a print ad fun and exciting is always a little more challenging when the product you’re given may be one of the most mundane and ordinary household items there is. Marketers do it every day, though. And, I assume I might be asked to do it frequently myself. Everything from beer to toothpaste has a marketing campaign behind it and not everything is as glamorous as high fashion in magazines. So how do you take ordinary disposable items and turn them into something desirable in an ad that a person might look at for a total of 5 seconds?

The Audience

Lucky for me, there was a generator that chose my item, audience, and all of their demographics for this assignment. The item I created an ad for is toilet paper. I chose Scott brand for no particular reason other than their brand name and logo is reasonably easy to work with. The audience is both male and female, ages 25-34, married with a reasonable income of 60 – 90,000. They have some college education and mostly consume magazines and social media entertainment.


With all of those things in mind, I began sketching. Three of my strongest ideas included a couple on an evening stroll walking along a path of soft tissue; an iconic celebrity photograph (like Marilyn Monroe), only their clothes would be replaced with the airy delightfulness of toilet paper; or one of the World Wonders showcasing toilet paper in a way unique to them, for example, the Statue of Liberty holding a roll of toilet tissue high above her head instead of her torch.

While sketching I continually asked myself, “What if…” in order to help combine two different ideas into an idea, no matter how absurd, it’s only a sketch. I liked the idea of Marilyn’s dress being replaced by streams of billowing TP, but quite honestly I wasn’t sure how to go about executing that idea and was skeptical about the legal availability of the images needed. In the end, I chose to go with the Statue of Liberty idea.

The Images

Often, I use a site called Pixabay for quality photos and images with high resolution. This site allows users to post and offer their photos to the Public Domain, often with no attribution required. My photo, however came from Pixabay’s site and was taken by user nash78690. Additionally, I took my own photograph of my daughter holding toilet paper high above her head.


Image by: nash78690

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Image: Beka Ackerschott

Magazine Ad

I designed the magazine ad first, using the photo as a background image and adding everything else on top. I had to a little bit of creative masking and layering in order to scott-couponsreplace Lady Liberty’s torch with the toilet paper. After that, I settled on  a patriotic slogan in Lato, a sans serif font, and added it to the Scott brand logo that I found online. Finally, I added just a tiny filler text in Centaur, and Old School traditional serif font.Scott toilet paper final mag ad jpeg

Social Media Ad

In order to complete the social media ad, I needed to resize and reposition just about everything. However, the placement of all the elements in this format might even be better than the original.

Scott toilet paper final social media ad jpeg

So What?

The assignment taught me how to look for better images with better quality. I also enjoyed practicing with photoshop and learning how to better use the layers and masking palette in order to achieve the image I want without destroying pixels. I also gained an appreciation for having to generate creative content on a subject that isn’t necessarily juicy and ripe with creative directions.


Print Ad Design Analysis

Well executed design is all about using the principles wisely and effectively . This ad by Volkswagen illustrates each of the design principles subtly and with great success.













Volkswagen analysis - alignment










The ad uses a clever alignment trick with the strong diagonal line of each item. If the items were scattered randomly throughout the ad, there would be no connection to parking that the marketers are implying. The words on the page are aligned with a strong right alignment which mimics the same diagonal line mentioned previously. Finally, the Volkswagen logo, and the text line up perfectly with the bottom of the diagonal, giving the image implied margins and a road map for attention in the order it is intended.


Volkswagen analysis - contrast










The area of highest contrast always becomes the focal point in an image. Here, the porcupine is the area of greatest contrast in texture, size, and grouping. We can clearly see which of these is not like the other! Volkswagen also cleverly included their logo with a dash of color contrast, blue is found no where else in the ad, and it is a complement to the fish in an otherwise neutral environment.


Volkswagen analysis - proximity










In this case, the items that belong together (in spite of their contrast within the group) are placed near each other. The line of objects are mimicking a line of vehicles, and their close relationship to each other are effectively communicating that visually. The text on the ad are also grouped closely together to give unity to their message, and if that isn’t enough, this text is also grouped with the logo.


Volkswagen analysis- repetition










The repetition of the orange fish works elegantly to create the needed repetition in this ad. These little fish and the bags that contain them are the only repetition found in the image. It is enough to give the ad the needed element of this last principle. Imagine if each bag contained a different kind and color of fish! The ad would be completely lacking in repetition and fail to be an effective example of good design.

When each design principle is included, the strongest results occur. A little wit never hurt anything, either, but this ad would not visually communicate effectively if it were lacking in any one of the principles. Identifying them and learning them is great practice for remembering to use them in my own design.