In these days of digital media, it's easy to overlook the art of print ads. But the medium is still as relevant and powerful as vintage posters ever were, whether small scale magazine ads or huge billboard advertising. As Paul Arden states in It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be: "Print advertising should be recognisable at a hundred paces, and it should be obvious who it's an ad for without seeing the brand name."
No matter what the medium, you still need a concept that's going to stick in people's minds. We think these examples of print advertising do just that.
The way kids play these days has changed dramatically; gaming apps are more popular than ever and when you're not looking, your little sprog has more-than-likely purchased a few extras to make their gaming experience even better. Play-Doh have jumped on the tech bandwagon but, by playing to their strengths, this print ad showcases how much better they are than any of those old apps.
02. National Geographic: Kids
Sometimes going for a simpler approach makes the most impact. National Geographic certainly went down that route with this brilliant and adorable print ad for their kids channel.
Playing with typography and bright colours, this campaign from IKEA is as lovely to look at as it is clever. Whilst some of the other print ads in the campaign are a little hard to read, this one gets the balance just right. We particularly love the variety of patterns!
04. Penguin Audiobooks
You've got to give it to the Miami Ad School – taking a company that have made their worth through the selling of paper books, this print ad is a bold step but one that we think works really well. The intricate illsutration in the bark is a lovely touch.
Ogilvy & Mather once again prove themselves as print advertisement masters with this clever approach to allergy medicine. Using simple yet effective colours and simple illustrations means that this is an ad that pops from the page.
06. UNEP: Skyline
Print advertisments raising awareness of important causes such as global warming have to be instantly striking. This offering from Vinay Saya and Siddarth Basavaraj cleverly uses Photoshop to produce a skyline within the ice. Bringing the campaign closer to home will enable the viewer to recognise the message quicker and more effectively.
07. Fevikwik Instant Adhesive: Teapot
Ogilvy & Mather are known for creating some of the best print advertisements around the world. This is just another example of their brilliant work. Created for Fevikwik Instant Adhesive, it's one of a three-part print advertisement series that uses clever illustration and a monochrome colour scheme to its fullest potential.
08. Rolling Stone
Created by DLV BBDO in Milan, Italy, this simple execution works wonders for music magazine Rolling Stone. With a brilliant tag line 'We are made of rock,' the brand's attitudes, product and ethos are effortlessly put across with this print advertisement. Using a signature-like font also showcases the rock star aesthetic.
09. Ashtanga Yoga
Created by Israel based advertising agency McCann Erickson, this print ad for Ashtanga Yoga hones in on the benefits of yoga practise for your back. With a tag line "Before your back attacks you, Ashtanga Yoga at the Garage fitness club", it's a brilliantly inventive ad.
10. Clinica Mosquera
Although this print advertisement might be a bit too graphic for some, we love how Ecuador advertising agency BBA has applied playful imagery to a sore subject. The 3D rendering is brilliant with everything from the colour to the shading popping out of the page.
11. Penguin Books
Last year, Penguin Books promoted its audiobooks with a brilliant print ad campaign featuring illustrations of three well known authors - William Shakespeare, Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde - acting as headphones and whispering in the ears of their listeners.
Developed by team at McCann Worldgroup India, the campaign went on to won a Gold Press Lion at Cannes International Festival of Creativity
12. Moms Demand Action
Moms Demand Action, a collective of mothers calling for gun law reform, was behind this hard-hitting ad campaign, which focused on children in schools.
'Choose One' features children carrying weapons, alongside classmates holding either a Kinder Surprise egg, the book 'Little Red Riding Hood' and a ball from the schoolyard game Dodgeball. One child is holding something that's been banned in America to protect them, with the audience asked to guess which one.
This ingenious pad campaign by Ogilvy & Mather for travel brand Expedia uses airport IATA codes to great effect. The idea came about after the team noticed a woman walking through Heathrow with the word FUK hanging off her suitcase.
With over 9,000 airports around the world, each with its own three-letter code to choose from, the team created a series of prints, using a tagline in the form of passport stamp, which says 'Find whatever floats your boat'.
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Whiskas campaign features a household cat in various scenarios in the wild of Africa. Highlighting the basic instincts in a cat, the clever 'Big Cat, Small Cat' campaign was shot by photographer George Logan.
Depicting a small furry feline as a big cat in the wild, the series of prints include the domestic animal hunting down gazelles, elephants and zebras in the wild. And we're particularly fond of the ad that shows fully grown male lion bonding with the same cat as if they were family.
When you have such an iconic product as the Mini, you don't always have to do something particularly clever or involved to make your point. And this silly campaign, casting the much-loved motor in an uncharacteristically sinister light, struck just the right note of fun for us last Halloween.
Earlier this month, BBDO Spain released this powerful print ad campaign for the World Wildlife Fund. Featuring a white polar bear in a garage workshop, the aim is to highlight that there are no tools that can fix extinction.
17. Velo marathon
We love this design for the European Velo Marathon, an annual biking event in which around 10,000 cyclists take part. Designed by McCann Erickson, Lithuania, the clever concept features a city-like scene set on the gears of a bike, accompanied by the tagline 'Move the City'.
To advertise the fact that you can get more than 620 miles out of single tank of fuel with Volkswagen's Amarok, ad agency Below developed a series of print ads, inviting people to 'turn on adventure'. The clever concept features three images with the groves of the car keys transformed into a city, safari and mountain landscape.
19. Alzas Bajas magazine
This beautiful print ad was developed by JWT, Buenos Aires for Argentinian magazine Alzas Bajas. The team created four paper art images, including this gorgeous wildlife scene. Each are accompanied a small amount of explanatory text followed by the tagline 'more information, less risk'.
McDonald's is constantly coming up with innovative new ways of advertising, this brilliant print ad being its latest offering. The eye-catching design, created by TBWA Shanghai, features a box of fries, carved from the very ingredient from which they're made.
Terrifying but brilliant, this is one of those print ads that shouldn't work but somehow does. The advertisement for Duracell features a sinister-looking doll in the doorway of a little girl's playroom, accompanied by the tagline 'Some toys never die'.
Developed by advertising agency Grey in Singapore, this is certainly a unique way to promote longer-lasting batteries. It's a bit left-field, and completely terrifying, but we love it nonetheless.
22. Dog Chow
The best print ads manage to combine brilliant art direction whilst still maintaining the brand's image and ethos. And here's a great example that instantly put a smile on our faces.
Dog Chow is a brand new dog food from Purina and Columbian designer Cristhian Ramírez was tasked with creating a series of ads for its latest campaign, entitled 'Stop treating your dog like a trashcan'. The creative director and head of art at Publicis, Ramírez produced a number of striking character designs that really hit home when it comes to the health of your dog.
A species in rapid decline, the African penguin needs help. South African advertising agency Bittersuite and SANCOOB, a non-profit organisation that aims to protect threatened seabirds, recently developed this innovative series of print ads to raise awareness of the penguin's critical situation.
Inspired by the artwork of Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, two of the designs feature clever optical illusions to draw the viewer in for a closer look and get their message across. The third draws inspiration from optometrists' eye charts, featuring a timeline of different sized penguins to show the decline in the species.
24. Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF)
Each of the five print ads features a gorgeous illustration and the tagline 'Get in touch with your inner child'. Some of the drawings contain mature content but the cartoon-style characters and graphics maintain a fun, tongue-in-cheek element to the campaign.
25. Dumb Ways to Die
Back in November, Melbourne Australia's Metro train system decided to take a different approach to public safety video. Their ad 'Dumb Ways to Die' – featuring animated characters playing out the lyrics of a comedy song about idiotic deaths – quickly became a viral hit and won a series of awards. The campaign, created in conjunction with Melbourne ad agency McCann, has now inspired a series of print ads - and they're just as brilliant. We love how the cuteness of the character designs is balanced by the goriness of their deaths.
Next page: 25 more brilliant examples of print ads