Get ready to turn the page on boring advertising and step into the world of magazine ads that captivate and inspire.

stack of magazine on a blue background with magazine cutout accents

Statistics tell us that despite the digital shift, the total number of magazine readers in the U.S. stayed above 220 million between 2016 and 2020. With such a huge audience, it’s no surprise why many brands invest in excellent magazine ad design.

GIF of Grace Kelly reading Harper's Bazaar from the movie "Rear Window"

In this article, we’ll discuss what goes into advertising art that puts the brand at the forefront. After that, you’ll learn about how you can get professional magazine ad designs on demand by signing up for Penji.

What makes a good magazine ad?

factors of excellent magazine advertisements: powerful image, design elements, story, concise message

According to Houston Chronicle, a page in a local magazine can cost a few hundred bucks. On the other hand, magazine ads in popular national publications can set you back a staggering $500,000. 

Here are some factors to keep in mind when brainstorming design ideas for your magazine ads:

  • Concise Message. Both visuals and text should be short and sweet. Your ad should capture readers’ interest at a glance; assume that they don’t have much time to read through a long copy. 
  • Powerful Images. Likewise, the image should be interesting enough to make the audience stop flipping the pages and focus on your ad. It should hook them the moment they lay eyes on it.
  • Design Elements. A witty copy and an attention-grabbing image won’t work if they aren’t related to the story of your brand. Every marketing asset is a building block you use to lay the foundation for your brand’s image.
  • Story. The graphic must display a good grasp of design aesthetics. Lines, colors, typography, and all other elements should work together to form a solid and cohesive visual message.

Ensuring these factors are covered can help your magazine ads appeal to your audience and improve brand recognition.

The 15 best examples of magazine ads

There’s no magic formula for a magazine ad design template that works every time. However, looking at top graphic design ad examples can surely inspire you to create the best visual for your brand. Here are some eye-catching print ads to motivate you as you brainstorm your own.

1. Revolution Cooking

revolution cooking magazine advertising example

This magazine ad design for a smart toaster brand is surely eye-catching. What looks like a board of color swatches at first glance turns out to be various levels of toast-doneness.

2. Save the Children Indonesia

save the children magazine ad

Initially, this image seems to be harmless – a kid enjoying a popsicle. However, the threat lurking underneath the frozen treat creates to a striking message.

3. Nissan

Nissan covid prevention advertisement

One trait of award-winning magazine ads is their subtle wit. This print ad, for example, encourages people to stay at home amid the COVID pandemic. It’s not necessarily an ad for Nissan, but it uses the brand’s image cleverly to convey its message.

4. McMobile

McDonalds mobile app magazine ad

If you’re looking for ways to make your magazine ads amusing, McDonald’s offers a great example. The hands look like they’re holding a breakfast sandwich at first glance, which turns out to be an image on a smartphone.

5. Bonn

Magazine ads for Bonn bread

This magazine ad design proves that a minimalist graphic design can be just as compelling if done correctly.

6. Keloptic

Keloptic vincent van gogh glasses ad

This optical firm created a series of magazine ads for their print campaign. Iconic expressionist paintings, like this self-portrait by Van Gogh, are turned into hyperrealistic images with the help of eyeglasses.

7. WeightWatchers

WeightWatchers ad wide door

This campaign for WeightWatchers used humor to appeal to its audience and get its message across at a glance. While some would consider the ad distasteful, it directly reaches WeightWatchers’ target audience: people concerned about their weight.

8. Pedigree

Pedigree dog food magazine ads

The ad aptly shows how a graphic designer’s skills at photo editing can lead to a powerful visual.

9. Top Fit

Top fit gym ad featuring cheesecake

This image evokes a crime scene to humorous effect, encouraging guilty eaters to “clear their conscience” at the gym.

10. Nivea

Nivea magazine advertising example

This magazine ad for a skincare product connects to its middle-aged male target audience with clever visuals. Fathers know the stress that can come from raising kids, and this design conveys that with gentle, loving humor.

11. Alkolinjen

Alkolinjen alcoholics anonymous hotline magazine ads

This print ad, showing a man trapped inside a bottle, was created for a Danish org that helps people battle alcoholism. 

12. Volkswagen

Volkswagen coloring page design

Holidays are a perfect time to put a little extra love in your magazine ads. This Brazilian Volkswagen advertisement offers a free coloring and activity page in celebration of Children’s Day.

13. Febreze

Febreze onion pie chart design example

Good magazine ads do two things at once, but this Febreze advert manages three. First, the onion represents a bad odor. Second, the negative triangular space mimics the spray from the Febreze bottle. And last but not least, the overall image looks like a pie chart that represents the given statistic.

14. Lowcucar

Lowcucar biscuit magazine ads example

This ad for a biscuit brand playfully hints at a monster closing in on its prey.

15. Audi

Audi road guitar design

This print advertisement for Audi, being a sponsor of a music festival, paints two pictures in one: a road trip and a guitar fretboard.

How do I create magazine ads for my business?

digital magazine on blue background with magazine cutout accents

As mentioned earlier, print ads in major magazines can come with a hefty price tag. Still, there’s a reason companies are always willing to pay for them. Some of the unique benefits magazine ads offer include:

  • Targeted audience. Magazines are usually directed at a certain lifestyle or interest, whether it be golfing, home decor, sports, or just about anything else. If your brand caters to the same crowd, you can guarantee you’ll get their attention.
  • Undivided attention. Unlike with outdoor ads, social media, and even broadcast ads, you’re not competing with anything else for magazine readers’ attention.
  • Permanence. Digital ads can disappear in a matter of days, but you’ll still find print ads from over a century ago circulating online—and in people’s homes.

But empires aren’t built on magazine ads alone. You’ll have to make sure that your print advertisements are professionally designed, but they also have to match the look and feel of your whole brand across all platforms. The easiest way to get high-quality designs from world-class graphic designers is with an unlimited design service like Penji.

With Penji, you can sign up today and see designs tomorrow. For a simple monthly rate, our team of experts will create magazine ads, posters, logos, and everything else under the graphic design umbrella.

Interested in Penji? Here’s how it works.