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Rewind: Our First Full-Page Ad

Posted by Steve on August 25 at 10:24 am

Fall is my favorite season in Michigan. The air is crisp and fresh, the food delicious, and the colors are inspiring. This fall also marks the second anniversary of the first full-page magazine advertisement for Lima Beads! Little did we know how much work it would take to define the “look” for Lima. We spent days pouring over concepts, colors, and clichés to arrive at something we wanted to put our stamp of approval on. I thought I would share our experience with the design process of the our very first ad, including some of the ideas we tossed in the trash before we found the right choice.

We love defining our goals for our designs. Our goals for this ad were:

  1. Introduce Lima Beads.
  2. Feature fall colors.
  3. Be fun.

Live a Little.

Live a Little.

Focusing on fall, one of our first ideas was to use leaves made of striking color to reach out and “grab” the reader. Our mascot, the little green Lima guy, would be jumping in pile of leaves like we do as children (… OK, and adults) in Michigan. Take a look at a rough concept–BIG color, but there’s one thing missing… BEADS! How could we publish an ad without and beads in it?!? So, we moved on…

The Giant Necklace

The Giant Necklace

Another idea that popped up was to use a finished piece of jewelry to show readers what could be done with our beads. Check it out… it still had a fall feeling, but the focus was now on the beads instead of the leaves. The only problem was… the jewelry was TOO big and powerful! We have so many artisan customers that use beads for things other than jewelry, and the attack of the giant necklace was too much! Alas, we moved on. 

Featuring fall colors

Now featuring fall colors

We thought we were getting somewhere when we used pictures of beads as lights on a movie marquee with the copy “Now featuring fall colors.” Creative, right? We thought so, but it was still a little dry and cliché. Our progress was showing, but so was our frustration! We were getting tired of all these ideas that weren’t working (can anyone relate??)… and onward goes the design process.

Regroup. Back to the goals. We were doing a good job at the individual pieces, but we need to bring it all into one piece. We mixed up the marquee, toned down the taglines, and arrived at our solution: “Jump In.” It’s fun, inviting, and the pictures are striking. Check out the final ad below…

Jump In.

Jump In.

Would we do it the same way all over again? Being two years older, probably not. But that’s just how design goes sometimes. Sound familiar? :)

Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    Man… I remember this ad. A bunch of kids in their mid-20s getting together and designing a magazine ad for the first time — talk about your learning experiences!

    It turned out pretty well though. Our ads have definitely improved :)

  2. Ali
    Ali says:

    I can’t believe how much our ads have evolved! Thanks for writing this Steve — I enjoyed the trip down memory lane.

  3. No Photo
    Denise M says:

    My daughter and I both agree, that your site is the easiest to navigate. We love the quick shipments and you can’t beat the quality. We order from a lot of sites but all our gemstones come from you. Love the Green Girl line, we hope you will continue to carry it. We really enjoy reading about the company and the people who make it happen. Keep up the good work.

  4. Sandy S
    Sandy S says:

    This is the ad that caught my attention. And drew me to Lima- I work at a large arts and crafts store and am one of the people (lead sales) that must know how to answer questions for customers as to where to look for certain items. I will tell people honestly where to get items quality and price effectively. These people usually come back to me for more information. My job has since been eliminated due to economy but I’m still with Lima- friendship and family. Thank you

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