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Winning creatives from our Design Competition

Jukka Mäenpää Dec 07 2021 9 PM | 5 min read

We recently held an Image & Video Ad Design Competition for our customers. All participants used the Creative Editor in the Smartly.io platform to create their designs. Our jury, a mix of design and creative product experts, selected three winners: an overall champion and two honorable mentions. We're proud to showcase the winning designs and what makes them great templated designs.

What are templates?

For those not familiar with Image & Video Templates, they are, at their core, our solution to scale your image or video ad production. The ads can be used across different media channels without increasing manual work while keeping your brand designs.

Users can repurpose templates created in our Creative Editor by changing the content while maintaining the same brand-safe design. For example, a design can showcase a product image and a call-to-action, and the Creative Editor can produce a unique image or video ad for every single combination of all your products and desired call-to-actions. Thanks to the Creative Editor, creating scaleable ads is easy and automated.

The winning design

Let's kick it off with our champ, a design titled "Pixel Renewed." The jury was impressed by the skilled use of layers, the creative elements, and the captivating animation. The template also clearly showcases multiple products with price and sale price in a short timespan. It's a template that works for several verticals, travel, e-comm, and grocery, to name a few!  Catching users' attention when they are scrolling on social media is easier said than done; thus, bringing up the products in the first seconds is always the best practice. 

The designer also made great use of the Creative Editor’s animation capabilities to create the rolling “SALES” text sticker. Again, this was a nice balance with the product images that changed without any transition animation. 

On a final note, the design embodied the rule of “design for sound off, delight with sound on.” The video works well without sound, but should a viewer have their sounds on, there is a beautifully eerie modem dial-up sound that fits the video’s flow nicely.

Honorable mentions: the Image TemplateWinner_Ad_02

For the honorable mentions, our jury wanted to highlight both an Image and a Video Template. The Image Template honorable goes to the design titled "Product AD Bag Template". 

This design was simple, clear, and stylish - easily digestible in just a few seconds. The product is clearly in focus, and the message is obvious: there is a flash sale, so shop now! There was also a fun design detail “slicing” the discount percentage. 

The design was also easily scalable to several different variations. While not everything might be 90% off, a feed of different products and discounts could quickly be connected to the template. Placing the product, its discount, and its image into the design as variables would let anyone automatically output a unique variation for each category in just a few brief moments.

Another option might be to use Smartly.io's Modular Creative tool, a technique of combining all variations of specific elements (like the ten image variations and four CTA variations) into every single combination possible (10 images x 4 CTAs = 40 unique images). 

Honorable mentions: the Video Template

For the other honorable mention, the Video Template, the jury selected the design “Bad a** template for car rental.” The template showcased the products and brand according to all best practices and used several Creative Editor features across animation, colors, and text.

The template has layers of video, image, and text content and brings up a well-laid-out and timed sequence. In addition, the template even included audio. This design is an excellent example of a template that is applicable to several auto feeds or other verticals. 

Moreover, the design was informative with several data points about the cars, like mileage, rental durations, and different pricing breakdowns. By viewing this single video, a prospective client would have a good overview of the dealership’s offering!

Entries to the competition

While there could only be three winners, we saw awesome designs and clever uses of Creative Editor features and layer compositions. It’s clear that there is a talented community out there using Smartly.io’s creative production solutions. 

The designers and marketers that participated in the competition also have a good handle on best practices. We could see product images centered and presented clearly. We saw (imagined) brand names and visual identities consistently presented across designs. We were also thrilled to see templated designs that can accommodate a data source (i.e., a product feed or a set of locations) to scale the variations into the thousands. The ads also succeeded in presenting unique selling points and compelling call-to-actions. Overall, the ads we saw fit well into today’s advertising landscape and elevate above it. 

Check out the competition’s gallery page for the entries we included in this year’s Design Competition. 

Smartly.io’s Creative Editor

All Image and Video Template designs were created on our platform using the Creative Editor. A cornerstone of Smartly.io's SaaS platform, the Creative Editor enables designers (and marketers!) to produce brand-safe image and video assets at scale. The features are built for automation and ease of use. And, we support designs created in Photoshop!

Why use a templated approach? Whether designing social images or videos, for catalog ads or brand building, for stories or the feed, our Image and Video Templates will help you scale fast. Design once, and produce infinitely. Each design can be built on automation that brings your brand and message to life in endless variations without adding any production hours.

Want to learn more? Contact your Customer Success Manager or send us a message at contact@smartly.io and we’ll be in touch!

Author
Jukka Mäenpää
My time is split between being a Product Marketing Manager at Smartly.io and petting my dog Pippa. I previously worked in customer success and web development, so I love understanding the technical details behind everything that affects our customers.

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