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How Photoshop can create effective ads

  • Published on March 25, 2014
How Photoshop can create effective ads

When companies are trying to promote an event or sell a product, using Photoshop in their advertisements often means the difference between creating an ad that receives a large amount of media attention, and one that barely blips on consumers' radars. Photoshop disasters typically receive the most press, but a series of recent ads from Colgate shows how effective Photoshop use can also get noticed.

Colgate shows consumers what's important
Relying on the knowledge that Photoshop failures receive a lot of attention, Colgate released a string of advertisements that featured one subtle change to models' bodies. Each image features an attractive couple smiling against a blue background, embracing in a loving way. However, the male in each photograph has a large piece of food stuck between his teeth. The man's smile is always in the middle of the picture, so the viewer's eye is immediately drawn to the crud in between his dentures. But in the top right corner, a large right arrow points the reader to the obvious omission, something that would have been easily spotted had the food item not been so distracting. 

For example, one of the pictures that was featured in AdWeek shows a young woman with her arm wrapped around an attractive man. The man has what appears to be spinach lodged in his teeth, but the arrow reads: "Not even that missing ear gets more attention that a mouth without care." Immediately, the eye returns to the model's face, where the missing ear becomes obvious. Colgate effectively shows the importance of dental care along with how effective photo manipulation can be in advertisements. 

Companies benefit from creative advertisements 
​When you create advertisements with Photoshop, you have the potential to reach a far wider audience, especially if the images are creative enough to spark media attention. Photo series that use software successfully have been featured on sites including BuzzFeed, the Los Angeles Times, Jezebel and CNN, to name a few. Training courses provide these skills to employees, whether they work in a marketing department, a design role or in management. While we can't guarantee that your ad will receive such wide exposure, Photoshop classes offered by the American Graphics Institute are a starting point for providing your employees with the skills to create thought-provoking, creative advertisements.

About the author

 is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices. Jennifer holds the CPUX-F credential from the UXQB.

Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern UX Design, and worked closely with the Microsoft Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including XD, Sketch, Balsamiq, Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Blend for Visual Studio. She also works extensively in the fields of presentation design and visual design.