20 Creative Advertising Illustrations & Photo Manipulations

“Advertising ministers to the spiritual side of trade. It is great power that has been entrusted to your keeping which charges you with the high responsibility of inspiring and ennobling the commercial world. It is all part of the greater work of the regeneration and redemption of mankind.” – Calvin Coolidge

What would advertising be without images? “Radio infomercials!” you might be inclined to say, and you would most definitely be right. However, that still does not mean that the world of advertising would not be a much more boring place without visuals.

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Advertising is, in its own way, an art form. Love it or loathe it, it blends uses words and especially images to illustrate a concept. Whether or not the concept itself is a good thing is a totally different issue.

But we don’t need to tell you that. You probably aren’t wet behind the ears, so you most likely already know what it means to work on an ad campaign. Sitting down, reading slogans, briefs and concepts, then running Photoshop or Illustrator (or both) to start making a compelling ad that will make people pay attention to the product or brand.

It is hard to stay constantly inspired, so we have decided to make a list of some of the coolest advertising illustrations and photo manipulations we have seen lately, and talk a little bit about them. This, we hope, will give you some design inspiration for your own projects, and help you create some really cool ads yourself.

1. Sci-Fi Channel


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The Sci-Fi Channel (or SyFy, as it is now known) use to be a fantastic channel that catered to sci-fi lovers everywhere, and you can’t properly enjoy science-fiction without harboring a bit of love for B-movies.

These promotional prints that the Sci-Fi Channel use to have are an excellent example of how to create for a target audience, using the style of low-budget movie posters, and implementing a great play on words.

2. Henkel Dixan Gel


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Ink stains are a pain to get rid of, and that is if you can get rid of them. The concept here is simple and gets the point across really well: this detergent will hunt down ink stains, without ruining the colors you do want to keep on your clothes. The photo manipulation itself is very well designed, and looks absolutely gorgeous.

3. Ariel


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Staying on the topic of stain removal, this ad for Ariel is subtlety itself personified. Look real closely at the lipstick smudge’s cracks, and you will see a story of passion and lust, and you have to love the attention to detail that went into creating it, seeing as most people will just probably miss it.

What the ad is saying, basically, is that Ariel is your ally in being a discreet gentleman or woman (or that it’ll help keep your adulterous activities on the down-low, but let’s not nitpick).

4. Old Spice: Matterhorn


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Part of a series of ads for several assortments of Old Spice, it markets a shower gel that will make you feel and smell as fresh as certain exotic places. This one, in particular, is about the Matterhorn, a mountain on the border between Switzerland and Italy, and it is a popular destination for trekkers.

5. Olla Prolong


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We are going to indulge in a pun now and say that designing condom ads is the most fun you can have with your clothes on (badum-tish!). Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about this ad’s concept. The product claims to have “climax delay”, so what they went and done here is show the spermatozoa chilling out, as they are in no particular rush.

6. Hawaiian Tropic: Pool


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Sunburn is one of the great downsides of going to the pool or beach. You should be safe if all you want to do is bask in the sun, but if you are anything like us, then that just won’t do.

Basking in the sun is what you do to get yourself dry after hitting the waves. Here we have a water resistant sunscreen lotion, but you probably already figured that out since it’s such a to the point ad.

7. BROS Mosquito Repellant


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The truly cool thing about this ad is the fantastic way it mixes image and text, and the really cool, stripped-down, sketch-like illustration. The text is brilliantly silly, and it goes ever so well with the silly drawing. Best part about it is that it doesn’t just stop at being silly, it’s also pretty smart.

You no doubt noticed that it’s the lady mosquito wanting to get rid of the male mosquito, and perhaps you know this, but just in case you don’t: the male mosquitoes don’t actually do anything, the lazy good-for-nothings. It’s the females that do all the biting.

8. Calendulan Sun


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Yes, it’s sunburn again. Only this time your sunscreen has failed you, and you need soothing real bad. Nothing beats the lovely sensation of something nice and cold on sunburns, so the makers of this ad really hit a home-run here.

9. Signal


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Variations on the theme of pain are always fun to make and to look at. Here we have two summertime delights, cold juice and ice-cream, depicted into horrible devices designed to inflict some of the worst pain known to man. Now that you are imagining that pain, next time you will have you will probably consider getting this toothpaste.

10. Drink and Drive


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Advertising doesn’t necessarily have to be commercial. Advertisement is essentially about raising awareness, so it can also be used for nobler causes than merely helping a company turn a profit. Here we have a great example of an ad being used to discourage people from getting behind the wheel after having a few too many drinks.

11. Coaching-Canin: Dog Training School


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Dogs bring joy to our lives. They’re cute, loyal and fuzzy, but dogs have to be properly trained in order to make living with them (and them living with you) a pleasant experience.

A good dog knows to back-off when you tell him “No!”, but a well trained one knows that there are certain things that lead to a “No!”, so he doesn’t do them at all, essentially restraining himself, and that’s what this ad is going for.

12. Carex Ultra Safe


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Yet another condom ad, only this time the claim refers to safety, rather than sexual performance. It’s simple enough concept, made great by the designer who made the good looking, clean and, dare we say, atmospheric poster.

13. GoodNites


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The illustration here is absolutely marvelous! The colors, the shapes, everything looks just so beautiful and really captures the idea that this is a product for toddlers, and that it will help them sleep through the night, and have lovely baby dreams.

14. Bacardi


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Once again, here we have a great example of designing for a target audience. Bacardi is branding itself as a new-wave, classy drink for party-people with money to spend. The ad reflects that by being really shiny and clear, with a dark backdrop that highlights the bottle itself, and the dragon-splash that it creates.

15. Faber-Castell


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This ad places its product in the middle of innovation and invention. Although it depicts some pretty unimpressive products (a simple pencil and eraser), it shows the importance of each of these products in the greater scheme of things.

16. Sojourner Family Peace Center


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Just like the Drink and Drive ad from before, this ad raises awareness to family abuse. The “target audience” are the actual people being abused, urging them to go get help. The ad might seem a bit blunt, but this definitely the kind of topic you want to be vague about.

17. Pictionary


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Pictionary is a word game, where you have to guess words based on your teammates’ drawings. The game is timed, so the fastest to draw has a definite advantage, and that is this ads angle. You don’t have to be an art student to be good at this game, in fact, it might even be a disadvantage.

18. Peugeot


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“Electric cars. Electric horsepower”. That’s the gist of what this ad is saying.

19. Levi’s Slim


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This is the very definition of minimalism. It’s the maximum of symbolism, in the minimal of symbols, so to speak. The stick figure represents the model and the jeans in the same time. It might even be subversive, which gives it hella brownie points from us.

20. Sal Sol


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This ad is so good, that it barely even needs the slogan. The point of it being saltwater salt comes across very clear, which means that the concept was terrific, and the end product, thanks to the designer, looks very good.

That wraps up our list of 20 creative advertising illustrations and photo manipulations. We hope these ads have inspired you for your own ads, if you’re making any. Don’t forget to tell us which are your favorite, and share any others you might like, in the comment section below.

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