38. Vivien Urtiaga, Digital Art Director

Digital Art Director for Grey, Vivien Urtiaga has +6 years experience designing and improving the user-experience between the brand and it’s consumers.

How does your job fit into the advertising process? I receive the brief from the strategic planner outlining the project and the company, client objectives, budget, limitations, and timeline, and then I go to work. Often times the creative director’s notes are included with the brief.

Banner advertising tend to be among my more common projects, but banner advertising is just a small part of my job, which is working on designing and improving user-experience.

Brands almost always include professional banner advertising, but typically as a supplement to their larger advertising campaign than as a stand-alone advertising campaign.


Of all the banner advertisements, my favorite to work on is the 300×250 medium rectangle because it’s the simplest and easiest to work with.

After receiving the brief:

  1. I research and brainstorm to come up interesting or unique ways to present the content, taking into account client and content limitations outlined in the brief.
  2. Then, I create a storyboard showing step-by-step what will happen in the ad.
  3. Because flash is quick and easy to use, I throw together a flash example of the advertisement to see what it will look like.
  4. Once the banner ads have been approved by the client, we give them to the French régies publicitaires (French advertising agency), who is responsible for placing the adverts among their database of hundreds of thousands of websites registered with them.

Banner ads are generally done in either .GIF, html 5, Javascript, and Flash. Flash is the easiest to work with, however advertisers have moved away from Flash since it’s no longer compatible with Apple products.

What’s one of your favorite advertising campaigns?

How do ad blocking services affect banner advertising? Advertising can become overwhelming, and it’s frustrating the amount of unprofessional and low quality banner ads out there, being as anybody can create an ad and pay to have it circulate in Google Adsense. I recently saw on an advertisement in the sidebar with a QR code! Was the person who created that advertisement actually expecting people to scan their computer screen with their phone?

This may one day change, but for now the majority of people don’t use ad blocking services while surfing the web, so banner advertisements remain an effective marketing tool for brands.

It’s also important to remember that many of the free services available today: unlimited email, games, books, movies, software programs, etc. are free THANKS TO the paid banner advertising around them – the brand has included revenue generated from banner advertising in their business model so that they can offer their products/services to you at a lower price.

And this means we must make an important distinction between annoying banner advertisements and brands that plaster their websites with banner advertising.

What trends have you noticed in digital advertising? ”Register to win” landing pages promoting events, giveaways, and games are disappearing with the invention of community pages and applications on Facebook and social media platforms.

Secondly, video advertising campaigns such as Go Viral are becoming more and more popular because:

  • Videos are more appealing and shareable than static banner advertisements.
  • Videos allow for more a deeper branding experience.

Thirdly, smart advertising is becoming less about interruption and more about providing quality content and experience.

For example, consider the “Dancing Matt” videos. After his initial viral video in 2005, Matt was approached by Stride Gum offering to fund his second video. But rather than plaster the video with Stride logos and products, they intelligently included “A special thanks to” at the end of the video.

That video advertisement has +18 million views and counting. What disruptive advertisement could ever obtain this level of exposure?

How do I add my website to an organized ad network?  If you run a heavily trafficked website, then they will most likely find you. If your website isn’t heavily trafficked yet, then you can submit your website with them.

Where do you go for inspiration?

What advice do you have for making a good banner ad?

  1. Consider your banner ad an extension of your brand, not as an advertisement for your brand.
  2. Consider any investment in banner advertising as an investment in the long-term branding, not just as a short-term traffic increase.
  3. Most people consider pop-up, expandable, and mouse over banner advertisements annoying, which could hurt your brand image. Don’t use them unless it provides an awesome experience.
  4. Engage the user. Interactive banners give the person a little experience, but they can be quite expensive.
  5. Another way to engage your potential consumer would be to use a beautiful photo to catch their attention and evoke emotion, and draw them in. After you’ve engaged the user and evoked emotion, discretely include your logo so that even if people don’t click on your advert, the association has been made. Next time they see your logo they’ll remember it and the emotions it evoked the last time(s) they saw it.
  6. Study graphic design to learn how to make visually appealing ads. Basic Gestault Principles are important to know when designing anything that will represent your brand.