This attractive advertisement for diamond rings was created for Macy’s as a part of its “Believe” campaign. It utilizes a simple, well-organized layout, effective design elements, along with a pleasant color scheme. The purpose of this post is to examine this professionally created advertisement using the following design principles: contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity, and color. The reference material used as the basis for this analysis was obtained from “The Non-Designer’s Design Book” by Robin Williams. Each of these principles will be evaluated and discussed individually.
Contrast creates energy and draws your attention toward it. This advertisement contains three main areas of contrast. The first is the use of bright red text and stars against the light yellow-gold background. While both are warm colors, the red hue is far more saturated, which creates a clear visual contrast. This strong contrast effectively draws your eye toward the title and the logo. Next, the blue diamond rings contrasted with the white diamond rings. Although this contrast is less vivid, it still captures your attention. Last of all, we see the contrast between the larger sized text in the word Macy’s compared with the much smaller text around it. Each area of contrast serves to direct your attention toward the most important elements on the page.
Robin Williams describes repetition as, “a stronger form of being consistent.” There are several good examples of repetition within this advertisement. Probably the most striking of these is the bright red stars swirling around the title, Believe, and the bright red star in the Macy’s logo. This repetitive theme takes advantage of both shape and color and certainly provides a feeling of continuity within the design. Additionally we see repetition in the diamond rings, which is particularly noticeable in the three blue diamond rings. While they are not identical, they are similar enough to provide a repetitive look and feel.
Alignment provides a strong line for the eye to follow and it keeps the design elements visually clean on the page. Using the principle of alignment ensures that each elements is placed on the page purposefully and not arbitrarily. In addition, each element needs to have some type of visual connection to another element within the page. The main body of text as well as the logo are clearly left aligned. In addition, the blue diamond rings and the ribbon running up the middle of them align vertically and they are essentially centered on the page. While it is difficult to determine a specific alignment for the title Believe and all of its tiny trailing stars, it definitely has a visual connection with the ribbon because they both follow along the same circular pattern.
The use of proximity provides clear organization because associated elements are grouped together, which helps to define their relationships. To begin with, the word Believe is placed above and somewhat separated from the rest of the material, indicating it is the title. Next we see the star logo is placed very near the left side of the word Macy’s, and that the words, the magic of are placed just above it. This closeness indicates these things or ideas are connected to each other. They also cleverly placed .com right below and to the right of Macy’s, which eliminated the need to add a separate Web address. One last observation is the visual connection between the diamond rings. They are connected in a variety of ways, one of which is by their proximity to each other and to the ribbon, which swirls around and through them. This helps to visually connect them together as a group.
The color scheme is a subtle variation on the primary triad, but because it takes advantage of shades and tints, it does not appear child-like. The designers wisely chose to use a the bright red hue sparingly as it is far more vibrant than the other colors. The soft color used in the background is a light tint of yellow-gold and the blue diamonds are a deep shade of blue. This color combination feels warm and inviting and it presents a very balanced visual appeal.
This Macy’s advertisement is very well designed. It effectively uses all four of the basic design principles. Additionally, the color scheme chosen adds a lovely twist on a classic color combination. In order to create clarity and communicate effectively, each element was purposefully placed on the page. The use of contrast directs the viewer to the most important information first. Repetition creates a feeling of continuity, while alignment and proximity create organization and visual connections. The color palette provides contrast, continuity, warmth, and interest. Overall, this Macy’s “Believe” advertisement is simple, organized, balanced, interesting, inviting, and effective.