We were to create two trade show banners that were to be 127.4″ wide by 90″ tall that advertised the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 to post-secondary students.  Each design was to include:

  1. An image that we shot to sell the product
  2. Product images that were included in our assets
  3. Microsoft and Adobe logos used according to their brand guides
  4. A Headline, sub-head and text that would sell the product
  5. The design must adhere to the Geotech Display Specifications as well as the Microsoft Brand guide

This list of requirements presented challenges that I needed to overcome and find solutions that were appropriate and aesthetically pleasing.  Here are my final designs, and here are my big four lessons that I learned in overcoming the challenges.

Lesson 1: a strong design results from a foundation of careful planning and research

“Admit constraints; then, having admitted, fill with discovery” – Anthony Froshaug

The first step was to know the brand guide in and out as my professor Joseph Bodick suggested.  From the Microsoft brand-guide, I knew what kind of photography they implement, their typography, and their design style.  I also needed to know the Geotech Display Specifications and from there learned that there was a readable area where it was safe to put text and logos.

From there I started doing research to build an idea of what exactly was to be communicated in the ad.  Knowing that the goal was to “change the perception of its Surface Pro 3, specifically for design and media students in College and University”, I had to research what Microsoft had in mind designing the Surface Pro 3.  An amazing blog post I found that really helped me get an idea of what the focus of the ad should be is here: http://blog.surface.com/2014/05/announcing-surface-pro-3/

From this blog I wrote down some key quotes that gave a direction for my creativity:

“Best creative productivity solution available”
“Creativity doesn’t just happen..in the studio, office or in front of your desktop”
“The new mobile studio workbench…”

From these points I knew that what I wanted to do was to show students that with this product: you can now take your creativity anywhere, because inspiration happens anywhere.  This is why I decided that I needed to take pictures of someone working in a coffee shop and outside an urban area.

Lesson 2: Recognize other people’s gifts and ask for help

Any success that is recognized in this design is due in large part to my friend David Chan who used his natural passion and skills for marketing and helped to create the headlines in the designs as well as be an amazing model for the pictures.

My original headline was somewhere along the lines of “Mobile creativity” and “Untethered Creativity”, but thankfully after running it with my David, he offered that Untethered was too confusing a word and wasn’t getting the idea across so he offered, “Create anywhere” and “Inspiration on the go” which got the idea across quickly and connected well with the product.

Lesson 3: Creative solutions come from inspiration

The Microsoft guide is very detailed in using tiles to arrange elements in their ads.  Trying to follow this, here was my first draft:


The difficult came in the fact that the hierarchy was thrown off and that the product itself is pretty much subordinate to the headline as well as the model.  I needed to come up with a way to ensure that the product would be the focus.

The Cargo Agency was a huge inspiration on how to approach the design of this tradeshow banner: http://www.thecargoagency.com/work/21/surface-business-campaign.  (Can I just say I love the way Cargo approaches ad campaigns through humanity?)  Looking at their design I was inspired to take a risk and cut out the picture of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 picture in our asset folder and put it as the center of the design.

For example:

Once the elements were in place, the work began of arranging and rearranging them within a grid.  I must admit I spent a long in the computer lab just working away at the two designs because I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I loved seeing the elements work together.


Surface Pro 3 Tradeshow Banner


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s