Is there an optimum shape for an advertisement? In the print world, the size of advertisements is generally dictated by the size of the magazine or newspaper. A magazine of a certain size will sell advertisements based on a page, half page, quarter page, eighth page – so the individual advertisers simply have to follow the rules because there are other advertisers that the magazine has to allocate space to and satisfy.

Perhaps there is room for a magazine to break the mould and dedicate a page that is a mishmash of shapes, loosely fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle. Would that annoy readers or cause them to get interested and devote more time to the page? It’s easy enough to test.

Or turn it on its head and let every advertisement occupy a space that reflects the Golden Ratio. That would make the sides in the ratio 1:1.618034 or approximately 5:8.

Is there any shape at all in the world of advertising that can lay claim to being a better shape than another? If the aim of advertising is to take the viewer by surprise, then any unusual shape should beat a more provincial attempt. Perhaps it is only those who play safe who stick with what they think is the hardwired golden mean.

Posted by:David Bennett

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