How Careful Design Makes Simplicity Powerful

The irony with ads that grab your attention and keep you captivated is that they generally tend to be simplistic in design. Their power comes from excellent use of design principles to keep the viewer engaged with their  clear  purpose  and  clean  look  to  their content. 

A link to the design can be found here.

 This ad, “Some Things Should Never Be For Sale” is one of a campaign series created by World Vision. 

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization. In operation for nearly 70 years, the company’s purpose is to empower families and children to overcome poverty and injustice.

Their ad, while ultimately simple in content, utulizes contrast, repetition, alignment, proxmity, and proper uses of color to resonate with the viewer.


Contrast is most strongly seen in the title, “Some Things Should Never Be For Sale,” in the top left-hand corner. Because the text is surrounded in a thick, black border, it grabs our attention immediately. It’s very different from the soft browns and red colors from the rest of the image and the dull-grey background.  The contrast of the red against the brown skinned boy and dirt is a softer contrast, but still powerful. As eyes are drawn toward the red, we realize it’s a price tag on the child. Contrast is also seen in the bottom as the orange font and logo pop out compared to the black text. 


Repetition is strongest in the font of all the text in the image. The large title in the corner has the same slanted, captitalized font as the call to action at the bottom as well as the font on the price tag saying “special sale.” 

The orange highlight of the text in the bottom is also shown again in the logo in the bottom left corner. 



The ad is as sleek and eye-catching as it is because what is on the image is aligned perfectly with one another. The bold text in the top left corner creates 2 lines, but those lines are perfectly aligned with each other. The price tag aligns with the little boy’s back, and his hammer aligns with the slop of his front torso. 

The bottom text, like the top text, is aligned with each other as well as the log in the right corner. 


Just as the top text is aligned with each other, it also is paired closer which makes it more effective than if both those lines were farther apart. Likewise, the photo of the little boy is so powerful because the price tag is literally on him. If it had been further from him, it would have as much emotional impact. The bottom text and logo are apart because their text has different messages, but they are both located in the bottom half of the page. It shows that their relationship is linked and connected. 


I really love how color is used in this image. It keeps it pretty simple but the effect is sombering. The black border of the font grabs our eyes first and it’s different from the rest of the page except it repeats in the black font in the bottom. The rest of the page has soft, warm colors. The little boy has lovely brown skin that is similar to the dirt he is forced to sit in and work in. The red is another warm color but is just different enough to pop out. The orange tone is also a warm color that is repeated in the bottom of the page. Finally, the while behind the image is not painfully bright but provides great empty space for our eyes to rest and go back to the text or the little boy. 

In Conclusion 

The image is a fairly simple one, comprising of a title, a photo with few elements, and bottom text and a logo but it all supports one another because of there are repetitive elements in the font and colors. The way that everything is aligned with each other and placed next to similar elements also contributes to how sleek the ad is. World Vision’s ad follows all 5 design principles, and this likely continues to contribute to why their mission has been successful for over half a century.