Want to get creative with your advertising?
In this article, we’ve put together 30 fantastic typographic advertisements for you to use as reference and inspiration in your next ad design (or any design, really).
Let’s take a look.
Oh, wait, before we get started, have you guys signed up to Canva yet? If not, why not? It’s free and it makes designing basically anything (from social media ads to business cards) easier than it’s ever been. Go on, treat yourself to better design.
01. Step Away From the Computer
This advertisement by Victors and Spoils is a fresh take on typography.
Instead of honing type on the computer, the letters were hand created out of the very material they’re promoting. The type is strong enough on its own that it doesn’t need any extra visuals, and it really makes a statement.
02. Replicate Other Materials
This print ad for HBO by Patrick Tan creates the illusion of liquid gold.
It’s bright, luxurious, and eye catching. It shows HBO (and the shows and movies it chooses to show) as a high-class, noteworthy brand. The deep contrast of the dark background helps to make the type pop, and serves to increase the richness of the color.
03. Create a Scene
This print ad by Peter Tarka and Mateusz Król of analog/digital depicts a nice scene with its type. The letters look worn and scary, exactly like a horror film. The type plays right into the ambiance of the rest of the page, and really contributes to the overall feel of the ad.
04. Borrow From Different Cultures
This Panasonic ad by Fischer America oozes sophistication. The careful crafting of each letter borrows patterning from Asian cultures, and really drives home “state-of-the-art sounds.” Had the patterning not been used and had a regular typeface been applied, the ad wouldn’t have the same impact.
05. Experiment With Different Materials
Just because typography is often flat doesn’t mean it has to be. Take a look at this ad by TAXI Calgary that implements cardboard lettering.
The material relates to the message and the brand, a storage company, and has a nice, hand-made quality to it. It’s refreshing to see a more tangible type solution as opposed to seeing a more flat, standard typeface.
06. Create 3D Text
What’s a great way to make your type ‘pop’? Make it 3D, like Jackson Alves did in this Coke ad. The letters themselves are soft and intricate, yet the bright three-dimensional shadowing allows them to stand out and become a design element.
This ad goes to show that not only blocky text can utilize 3D shadows, but ornate typefaces as well. If you are interested in replicating this look, here are 50 vintage typefaces that you can apply this three-dimensional effect to.
07. Create a Relationship With Other Elements
Ultimately, your typography needs to work well with all of the elements in your composition. In this ad for Evian water by Edvin Puzinkevich, it does just that.
The brand, Evian, is rendered in beautiful 3D typography and fits perfectly inside the bottle. The subtext lines right up along the road. It stands out, yet doesn’t intrude, and really brings everything together.
08. Form Your Letters Into Something Else
An interesting take on 3D text, this ad by Suarez & Clavera takes its lettering and forms it into its product – a lollipop. The tagline, ‘impossible to take out of your mouth’ pairs perfectly with how delicious and sweet the candy looks. The 3D rendering of the type is much more successful than simply showing the product and having text alongside it.
09. Include Texture
Including a subtle grain of texture in your type can really give it some extra edge. Brandon Rike added in texture to this ad, and it really makes it.
If the text was just simple flat color, it wouldn’t have incorporated as well into the background or paired as nicely with the illustration. It would have looked too placed, and not an actual part of the advertisement.
10. Try Food Styling
Everything from the lettering right down to the patterning was created with food in this Sabra hummus ad by Becca Clason. It’s lively, vibrant, and full of flavor – indicative of how the product actually tastes.
11. Fill the Space
This ad spread by Jose Canales fills the space on the page perfectly. The text fills every nook and cranny, and is challenging to read. The varying thickness and weights of the handwritten type provides a nice contrast, and the lettering works right into the illustration.
12. Utilize Different Materials
Ben Didier took a more hands on approach with this beer advertisement. He carefully crafted each element with chalk on a chalkboard, which gives the beer the appearance of being handcrafted as well.
Instead of having a perfectly crisp and clean board, some residual smudges provide a nice background texture, and helps to incorporate everything together.
13. Create Harmony
This beautiful ad by Jon Deviny depicts a clear relationship between the type and the imagery.
The lettering winds around the man in the image, and you see him being embraced by the words ‘image’ and ‘opportunity’. It paints a hopeful picture, and shows the promise of a more opportunistic environment for all.
14. Don’t Be Afraid to Layer
Layering elements of your typography in your ads is a great way to not only add dimension, but another layer of design.
This print ad by Thomas Kohl combines two layers of text: the red text is still incredibly legible and the white text stands out without overshadowing the text underneath it. The two work together to create a design element, but function separately as well.
15. Give Your Text Weight
Whether your text is physically grounded on the page or not, you should still give it weight, like designer Mike Campau has done in this ad.
The text isn’t sitting on the ground or jutting out of the wall behind it, but its perspective makes it feel as if it’s there for a purpose — it’s following the runner along on her journey and acting as a motivator.
16. Be Clever
This print ad is very clever in the way it uses typography. At first glance or to the untrained eye, it may appear as just an ordinary high-heeled shoe. But when you look more closely, you can see that the gentle curves of the shoe form the word ‘sale’.
It’s a great solution to not only show that there is a sale, but to depict exactly what is on sale in a unique and unexpected way.
17. Don’t Get Hung Up On Perfection
This print advertisement for Windex by Adison Reddy is perfectly imperfect. The words are clearly handlettered, yet while they’re clean and neat, they still have a handcrafted, unintruding feel to them.
Had each letter been carefully edited on the computer, it wouldn’t have the same character. The small imperfections throughout gives a more personal touch to this ad.
18. Make an Ambigram
This print ad for Worldpride created by Bryan Canning, Amber Thompson, and Steve Garwood utilizes an ambigram at its center. An ambigram is an image whose elements retain meaning when viewed or interpreted at different perspectives.
This ambigram reads ‘pride’ both forwards and upside down and backwards. It shows that the poster is legible from any direction, and it takes on a new appearance when it’s switched around.
Interested in other designs that have hidden messages or meanings? Check out the hidden meanings behind these logos.
19. Create a Puzzle
This Ikea print ad created by TBWA Instanbul is full of typographic elements.
At first glance, it just looks like a bunch of ties strewn across the page, but things start making sense upon closer inspection. You start to see letter forms throughout, and eventually you piece together the words ‘where is my favorite tie?’.
20. Create Visual Meaning
If you’re going to execute an advertisement that utilizes typography, lend it visual meaning, like in this ad by Voskhod. This ad is promoting a language school, and it shows the visualization of refreshing a language you used to be familiar with, yet are learning it again.
21. Utilize Illustration
Illustrating your type is always a good choice for more detail heavy ads, like this Pedigree ad completed by BBDO. All of the imagery is illustrated, yet the shoes stand out nicely.
The type is a playful message of the thoughts of the dog, who’s considering chewing the undoubtedly smelly sneakers. The careful curves and shadows in the lettering gives form to the shoes, yet the type is still completely legible.
22. Go Over the Top
This advertisement by Steve Simpson is jam packed full of typography goodness.
There are little sections of text throughout the page, and they all have their own unique style and flair. It’s fun to go through and discover each section, and the careful attention to details gives the overall look an ornate, yet friendly appearance.
23. Use Your Product
If you’re able to use your product to create typography, do it. This print ad for Arnott’s biscuits by Lisa Dino uses biscuit crumbs to carefully spell out the message. It’s a fun and unique approach to advertising a product, and it keeps the imagery rooted in the brand’s overall feel.
24. Get Crafty
Whip out some scissors and paper the next time you want to tackle a typographic ad, like Danielle Evans did in this advertisement for SAA.
The lettering has a wonderful dimension to it that is hard to craft by computer. The curves and shadowing of the paper adds in a nice touch, and the tangible lettering pairs perfectly alongside the multitude of art supplies surrounding it.
25. Fill in the Missing Piece
This powerful ad created by Publicis Mojo Auckland paints a meaningful picture. The carefully placed lettering fills in the missing areas of the leg, and the child-like quality of the writing makes you feel as though the child standing in front of you is speaking directly to you. It sends its message loud and clear, and you can’t help but feel as though you need to help in some way.
As you’ve seen throughout this article, typography can range a wide span of styles, topics, and mediums.
It isn’t a one size fits all kind of deal. Don’t feel limited to stick to what you ‘know’, branch out and try something completely out of your comfort zone. That’s often where we have the best results.