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Elements of Design

Sue Weinman Comments
Posted in Articles

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Take a look at the accompanying ad for The Storage Center of Coopersville. It embodies the aspects of display-ad design every operator should master.


Call to Action


Copy Points

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Westview Enterprises

Storage ‘R Us

Main Street Storage

In Summary


  • Always include a map, and make your map large enough to read. Include landmarks if possible; for example, the Storage Center ad notes its location as “Across from Burger King.”
  • Call to Action

  • Use starbursts or boxes like the one that says “Call Manager for Details” to draw the eye and drive inquiries.
  • Graphics

  • Always use photos rather than line drawings, which are old-fashioned. No clip art!
  • Only use a picture of your facility if it’s unique or necessary for drive-by recognition.
  • Use credit-card logos instead of listing the cards you accept by name.
  • Copy Points

  • Always include your web address in your ad.
  • Always let customers know what’s in it for them, such as any special offers or giveaways.
  • Include your hours of operation or access.
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    Now let’s look at some things you should never do in your ad. Take a look at how the Storage Center ad looks on a page with competitors. Note how it stands out as well as why this ad should get a much greater response than the others. All three of the competing ads have made the same major error: There are no maps or directions to help customers locate the facility. What else have they handled incorrectly?

    Westview Enterprises

  • It’s not necessary to list all unit sizes. The ad should simply say, “Unit sizes available to fit your needs.”
  • Line drawings are outdated. If you want to show the convenience of drive-up units, use a photo.
  • Storage ‘R Us

  • Photos of unit doors are a waste of space, since every storage facility has them!
  • Again, the name shouldn’t be the headline. The name is only important so customers can find you after making their decision—it isn’t critical at first. Furthermore, the name should be graphically represented to match the facility signage (a logo).
  • Main Street Storage

  • Avoid green copy on yellow paper—it’s too bland. If you need to use green (perhaps it’s an important part of your logo), restrict it to the graphic or use white knockout.
  • In Summary

    • So let’s go over what we’ve learned about display-ad design:
    • Make it easy for customers to find your facility.
    • Make your “call to action” or unique features stand out above everything else.
    • Use copy points to differentiate your facility from competitors.
    • Use eye-catching graphics, and remember that humor sells.
    • When in doubt, hire a professional graphic designer with Yellow Pages experience.

    Sue Weinman, senior account executive, represents the Yellow Pages Division of The Michaels/Wilder Group, an advertising agency that specializes in Yellow Pages, Internet and recruitment advertising. Based in Phoenix, the award-winning firm is celebrating its 16th year of business thanks to a loyal client base that includes hundreds of self-storage owners and managers. For more information, call 800.423.6468; visit

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