The Stages of Design: How to Understand the 05 Stages of Advertising Design

In the design world, everything is complicated and mysterious. There are so many different things you can study: graphic design, typography, illustration and photography, branding and advertising design…and that’s just for starters! Every industry has its own unique set of design principles and methods.

The ‘Stages of Design’ concept makes it easier to understand how your designs develop through time. Let’s take a look at what these stages are, how designers work through them, and how you can do the same if you want to create more effective ads.

Understanding the 5 Stages of Advertising Design

So what are the five stages of Advertising design, exactly? This is a question that’s been asked since the pioneering work of legendary ad agency BBDO (short for “Benedict Brothers”) in the late 1900s. The concept was then updated and expanded upon by Harvard Business School and the Ted Talks Foundation, who have been using it to explain the process of design in a more accessible way ever since.

The stages go something like this: research, considerations, incorporation, flux, and art. Before we go any further, it’s important to understand these five stages of design so you can have a better understanding of how your campaigns develop over time.

the five stages of Advertising design
stages of Advertising design

Research and Considerations

Before you start designing, you’ll want to do your research. This is where you’ll look at your target audience, search for existing research and learn about your target market. You’ll also want to run market surveys and focus groups to get real feedback about your product or service.

This research will help you to get a better understanding of your target market and what aspects of your product or service are important to them. Once you’ve done your research, you’ll want to consider how your design will work as a whole.

This stage of design is all about creating a cohesive and balanced visual language. You’ll want to consider the size and color palettes, line weights, and spacing so that your designs are easy to read and understand. You’ll also want to think about the tone of voice that you’ll be using in your ads, so you can be clear but also encouraging and positive.

Incorporation and Flux

Once you’ve done your research and understand the stages of design, you’ll start to incorporate your research into your designs. This is the stage where you’ll start to include certain fonts, visual elements, and even certain sound effects. You’ll want to work at a very basic level, incorporating your fonts and visual elements into your designs. There’s no need to worry about creating a finished and polished design at this stage. You’re simply trying to get the basics down so you can continue to flux the rest of your designs.

If you’re designing an ad for a drink, for example, you wouldn’t want to design every single ad in that drink’s logo and color scheme. You’d want to keep changing it as you move through the rest of the stages so that when you’re done, you’ve designed one whole campaign.

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Art and (Final) Execution

Now that you’ve incorporated some of your research, you can start to work on a more creative level. This is the stage where you’ll start to design your layouts and start to think about the final execution of your ads. You’ll want to start to think about your creative execution, which includes the following aspects:

– Your creative layout and composition – Your creative typography – Your creative color palette – Your creative sound effects and voice-over – Your creative animation – Your creative motion path – Your creative final execution At this point, you want to start to think about the final execution of your ads.

You want to think about how you’ll show your ads, including your delivery channel and any other final touches. You’ll also want to think about your ad copy, including any subtitles and subtitles for your ads.

You want to think about how you’ll run your ads, including your schedule and any other final touches. Once you’ve finished with the execution of your ads, you’ll want to go back to your designs and clean up any messes that you’ve made. If you’ve done your designs well, this is an easy task, but if you’ve made any mistakes, you’ll want to go back and clean them up.


The Stages of Design are a great way to explain how your designs develop over time and tackle each stage head-on. With the right knowledge and a little creativity, you can make your designs more effective than ever. It’s important to remember that design is an ever-changing process.

New technologies and trends are always popping up, which can make it seem like your designs don’t have an impact anymore. However, these five stages of design can help you make your ads more impactful, especially when you take them through the entire process.


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