Posted in Uncategorized

Power of an Ad (Trigger Warning)

Let me start out by saying that this is one of my only posts that could trigger someone.


Now that that has been said, I feel like this is one of the most powerful advertisements I’ve seen in a while.  It’s not the typical “Haha, look that turtle got turned into a hamburger” kind of post.  Instead it’s more of a PSA kind of post.  It’s the post that you can see at a distance and be intrigued enough to approach and actually look at it.

Here it is.  You’ve had your warning.





What is it?

The picture shown above is an ad for against abuse Inc.  This ad shows what appears to be a hand shooting out of the darkness into a white space.  However, when you take a closer look you’ll see that the white space is shaped to look like a person’s legs. The text appears at the bottom right hand corner of the ad with the charity’s name, a not so fun statistic, and a web address where you can donate to their cause.


What do you think was used to create it?

Out of the Adobe suite, it’s obvious that this was created in Adobe Illustrator.  Since this is completely made out of a graphic and does not involve any images, Illustrator is the perfect platform to create this in.  There are many ways to go about creating this striking image.

If I was to recreate this, I would have copied and pasted a picture of a pair of legs into a new Illustrator.  From there I would have used the Pen Tool to roughly trace the shape of the legs.  Because it is such a simplistic design, I would focus mostly on the general shape than the  precise details.  My main focus for the Pen Tool with the legs would be on the feet because that’s the defining part of the legs.  Then I would follow the curve of the calves on the inside and just join the legs together around mid-thigh.

Then for the hand I would start out with copying and pasting an image of a raised hand and trace it with the Pen Tool again.  Once the hand was traced with the Pen Tool, I would remove the original images and place the hand over the pair of legs I had drawn.  I would try to line up the beginning of the forearm with the knees of the image to the best of my ability (keeping in mind the amount of time spent, of course).

I would then go to the Pathfinder panel and use the Subtract option to take the hand shape out from the legs.  If, for any reason, the arm didn’t line up correctly, I would go in with the Direct Selection tool and mess with the anchor points until I was satisfied with the smoothness of the image.

Then I would simply color the legs white with no Stroke/Border and place a Rectangle (whatever size I wanted) behind the legs or change the color of the Artboard to black so that the image has a high contrast.  Lastly I would place the legs at the top of the Artboard/Rectangle and add in the words.


What design elements do you see?


The most obvious design element in the ad is the high contrast between the legs and arm/background.  Black and white have the highest contrast possible.  Sure, you could list contrasting colors like yellow and purple, but people always say that things are “black and white” to highlight differences and clarity.  The two toned nature of the ad also highlights the main element, which is the legs that seem to belong to those of a child.

No Texture

I feel like if this ad had any texture added to it then it would lose its focus on the sharp contrast seen above.  In addition, adding texture would seem dirty since the ad is essentially of an adult “feeling up” a kid.  You wouldn’t want to tempt your viewers to touch the ad.


This ad takes full advantage of whitespace (also known as negative space).  By having such a focus on the white legs, the whitespace in this ad doesn’t let the text distract you or detract from the vibrancy of the legs.  Instead, the whitespace allows the viewer to not feel crowded out.  In a sense the use of whitespace is giving the viewer some air to breathe after seeing the shocking image of the hand on the legs.


If you’re wondering what that statistic is, this is what it says: “More than 300,000 children are sexually abused in Germany every year.”


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