Graphic Design 1 projects

Final Project - Magazine Advertisement

This final project will pull together everything that we've studied during the term. Your task is to design a full page magazine advertisement for a fictitious company, product, event or non-profit organization.

The advertisement will include:

  • original logo
  • composite image
  • informational (text) hierarchy
  • font choice
  • bleed and safety zone
  • rule of thirds (optional - extra credit)
  • breathing room
  • visual alignment
  • process documentation

The pace is quick so you'll need to stay focused on both the task and the project timeline. Each day has a task to complete so that you can move on to the next task the next day.

Download the final project folder and copy it to your network space.




Here are 2 different examples of completed projects so that you can see the big picture. These are provided as examples only. There are literally millions of options for this final project so please use your own creativity and do not copy these examples.

example 1 - Celtic Rock Festival
example 2 - Attorney's office




"C/PASS" grade option
While not an ideal situation, a handful of students may find themselves in a position where they won't have enough time, skills, or motivation to complete the assigned final project. Click here for more information about the "C/PASS" option.



Day 1

Logo Design - example
Design a logo for a a fictitious company, product, event or non-profit organization. Remember the logo design guidelines:

  • simple...simple...simple

  • easy to read

  • compact

  • modified

  • targeted

  • avoid cheesy stunts

  • 2 or 3 colors - black counts as a color, white doesn't



Day 2


1. Prepare the "final advertisement" file with guidelines (Illustrator). Set vertical and horizontal guidelines exactly ¼" from each edge of the 8.5" X 11" paper. This is a safety zone so that absolutely nothing will print within this ¼" frame.

tutorial video

2. Print the sketches page (Illustrator) to the laser printer. Use a pencil to sketch a minimum of 2 concepts. These are SKETCHES so don't spend too much time on them. They are meant to serve as visual aides only. Your sketch should account for the logo, photographic composite image and levels 1, 2 and 3 text.


3. Search for high resolution imagery online. Don't bother with any images that are less than 2000 pixels in size. Look for large "base" image (sample) that will essentially be used as a vertical background for the entire advertisement. Search for other imagery (sample) that you will use to eventually create a composite image. Download images to your final project folder. ÜBER-IMPORTANT: Make sure that you jot down the images' original sizes. You'll need this on day 6.

tutorial video

Also, it would be a VERY GOOD IDEA to make duplicate copies of any photo you plan to use for this project...just in case!

tutorial video



Day 3

Writing Text/Hierarchy - example
You'll be generating the actual text for the advertisement. Don't worry about specific fonts today. Just focus on the wording. Remember that this is an advertisement so keep your text brief and get straight to the point. Here are a couple examples of how hierarchy works when the final project is completed - example 1 | example 2

For now, don't worry about specific fonts or layout, just write the text.

1. Open the "text hierarchy" page (Illustrator).

2. Write a headline. This falls into the Level 1 category.

• It is the most important text on the advertisement because it will draw the most attention.
• It should complement the visual image (composite) that you'll work on tomorrow.
• The headline and composite image should work together to get the point across.
• Keep it short and to the point.

3. Write Level 2 text.

• This could be bullet points, a sub-headline, a slogan or clarifying text.
• How you do this will depend on your overall concept.

4. Write Level 3 text.

• This is information that isn't nearly as important as the other text but it still needs to be included.
• Perhaps this text is a short clarifying paragraph, a disclaimer, a warning, contact information, etc.



Day 4

Composite Image - example
Use Photoshop to create a composite image from the photos you downloaded on day 2. You don't have a lot of time for this so don't plan an overly elaborate composition. The idea is that you are combining images from separate sources into a single image which enhances the overall magazine advertisement.

This is the centerpiece of your magazine advertisement. This should demonstrate at least one full class period worth of Photoshop work.

Use one of the photos as a "base" image. This means that you'll first need to crop it so that it fits the guidelines you set up on day 2. You'll crop the base image to 8" wide and 10.5" tall. If you're confident with your layout skills, then you certainly may use different proportions. Otherwise, it's best to stick with 8" x 10.5".

tutorial video

Then you can begin to bring other images into the "base" image to create your composite image.

tutorial video

Optional / Extra Credit: Demonstrate the rule of thirds as you compose the image.

tutorial video



Day 5

Compose The Advertisement - sample | different sample
This is where you'll be putting all the pieces together. Here is an ultra lame example where the designer simply met the minimum requirements. It blows! Here's how to help your design look professional...

1. Bring a flattened copy (TIFF) of the composite image into the Illustrator file (File>Place).

tutorial video

2. Copy the text blocks from the text page and paste them into final advertisement page (Illustrator). Choose appropriate fonts for the level 1, 2 and 3 text blocks. Remember that level 1 should draw the most attention so think about the font choice, size, placement and color. Also, remember that level 3 text shouldn't draw a lot of attention so you'll want to use a very simple serif or sans-serif font on level 3 text.

3. Copy your final logo and paste in into the final advertisement.

4. Pay attention to the sizes and placement of all of the elements of the advertisement. Bigger is not always better so be careful not to crash elements into each other or crowd the advertisement.

tutorial video

5. Visually line up elements when it makes sense to do so. This helps to add structure to the overall advertisement. Leave plenty of breathing room so that the eye can easily read the advertisement.

tutorial video



Day 6

Final Details
Today you'll put the entire packet together.

1. Complete the text hierarchy page (Illustrator). Show, categorize and name actual fonts that you used. Briefly explain why you chose these fonts.


2. Complete the image sources page (Illustrator). Include any original jpeg images that you used (File>Place). You'll obviously need to proportionally scale them down to fit. Center them on the grey areas. Enter their original pixel sizes and briefly describe what you did to them in the composite image. Delete any unused text blocks.


3. Optional / Extra Credit: Complete the rule of thirds page (Illustrator). Place the final composite image (TIFF) into the page. Proportionally scale it down to fit and center it in the green area. Look to the side of the paper and you'll find a grid. Select it and bring it to the front (Object>Arrange>Bring To Front). Stretch it so that it matches up with the composite image. Change it's color and stroke size so that it clearly shows over the image.


4. Print all pages on the color printer (except for the sketches page).

5. Grab a cover sheet. Staple packet together and turn in.

6. Breathe! Smile! Eat chocolate! Do the happy dance!