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Gotcha! Graphic Design Advertising Mistakes - Part I

street-ads-2Billions and Billions of Ads
Carl Sagan, a renowned astrophysicist, astronomer, author and host of the Public Broadcasting television series Cosmos, was fond of using the catchphrase "Billions [and] billions of stars..." in his distinctive nasal pronunciation.

Although there may not be "billions and billions" of ads since the very first one was produced, (probably on a cave wall), there can be no argument that the shear number of them is quite staggering.

Art directors and graphic designers are the gatekeepers for preventing design errors from reaching the final stage of publication in advertisements, graphic designs or other media. But as we all know, sometimes these little gremlins sneak past the guards.

Can you see the errors in the following examples? Look at the ads closely and then read the Do You See It? answers to find out if you are correct. (The mistakes can be seen by clicking on each photo.)

Have fun!

Props R Us
...........................................banana-republic-ad-2
We'll start with an easy one here. The photo for this ad from the Banana Republic website shows a woman modeling a pantsuit. She looks happy and the clothes on her fit very nicely.

Do You See It? (Click on image to see mistakes)
All photographers should be able to point out this error immediately. A standard piece of equipment in every pro photographer's bag is the 18% gray card.

The model is holding it above her head so that a light meter reading can be taken off the card. The resulting information from the meter gives the photographer information on the proper exposure to use.

This photo was probably just a test shot during the photo shoot to calibrate the light meter and was never intended to be used for the website.
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What's in Your Wallet?
....louis-vuitton-ad
This is a high profile ad for Louis Vuitton handbags. No doubt the fashionable accessories are well made and highly prized. The staged set is dynamic with the models assuming their standard issue pouting poses.

Do You See It? (Click on image to see mistakes)
One of the hardest scenes to photograph is when mirrors are in the shot. The reflections off of mirrors can show the surrounding studio equipment and camera people. These errant images are usually digitally removed for final copy.

In this case the art director has opted to enhance the realism of the set by replacing the offending reflections with Photoshopped images. The problem with these insertions is that the images do not reflect (pun intended) the actual model posses. The reflection on the left mirror shows the model's arms together, but in the real scene she has them apart.

There also seems to be some inconsistencies with the reflections of the lights and lamps in the center mirror as well.

magnifying-glass-detailsDetails, Details, Details
None of the errors we've seen are deal breakers by any means. But they do demonstrate that mistakes can happen to the best of us.

What is important to realize is although it is important to receive the best career training from graphic design school centers or graphic design colleges; the level of attention to detail is our personal responsibility.
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Next Time...
We'll post up some more "boo-boos" related to marketing ads in our next installment of Gotcha! Graphic Design Advertising Mistakes.

Until then, keep on designing! (...and look out for those mistakes.)


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Master of Arts in Visual Communication Design
  • Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels
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  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
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AAA in Digital Graphic Arts
Remington College , Fort Worth
  • Dallas campus named 2013 School of the Year by the National Association for Health Professionals (NAHP).
  • Tuition covers course-required materials for campus students, including books, lab equipment, and class supplies.
  • Offers flat tuition rate to continuously enrolled students who are on track toward program completion.
  • Campus accreditation by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
  • 18 campuses across the United States, with online options as well.
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Associate Degree-Computer Graphics and Design
  • Features a public spa where massage students can get real-world experience.
  • Honored by the PennSuburban Chamber of Commerce as Business of the Century in 2013.
  • New terms start every 10 weeks.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
  • Main campus is located in North Wales, Pennsylvania, with satellite campuses in Phoenixville and Warminster.
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AAS Graphic Design
  • Several campuses are designated as 2015 Military Friendly Schools by Victory Media.
  • Scholarships and other financial aid opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Day, evening, and online classes are available for flexible schedule options.
  • Regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
  • Founded 160 years ago, it is one of America’s premier private career colleges.
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Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
  • Full Sail University offers online degree programs that are designed for the world of entertainment, media, arts, and technology. Full Sail's approach is centered on real-world industry experience and creative problem solving.
  • Full Sail uses the experience and knowledge gained from more than three decades of educational innovation to create an unparalleled online education experience that challenges and inspires our students.
  • Learning at Full Sail has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas, and our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy with the aim of being the most people-focused education experience on the web.
  • Through Full Sail’s multitude of online program offerings, students get: One-click access to instructors, Powerful collaborative tools, Interactive learning environments and Innovative curriculum.
  • Full Sail's newest program is the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting. Developed in collaboration with sportscasting veteran Dan Patrick, the goal is to provide students with real world experience both behind and in fornt of the camera.
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