Printed Public Service Announcements (PSA)
Nicholas Koerner


    Public Service Announcements (PSAs) provide information with a lasting impression to the public in an unique way.  PSAs show a specific view of many issues that happen throughout the U.S or the world, and create “Public Awareness” about a particular issue.  Some of the issues that are currently in PSAs bring up controversial topics in society, but the makers of PSAs have techniques to have the audience take a side on a particular issue; possible issues include: donating blood, community service, and stoping gang violence.  Although there are many forms of PSAs, printed PSAs still seem to be the most noticeable.  Printed PSAs appear in many magazines, newspapers, billboards, and hallways of schools.  In printed PSAs, there is vivid images and shocking facts to capture attention from a viewer.  PSAs are notorious for creating emotional content and creative visuals.


  1. Choose a Topic:  Pick a subject that you can relate towards, the closer you are to an issue, the better your PSA will be.  If you know background information about the issue, use that to have a stronger impact on the audience.
  2. Be Dynamic:  There is no way you should be boring in your PSA.  People will be automatically turned away from the PSA if there is no new information, or that the information provided does not make them take a side on an issue.
  3. Gather Research:  Look for the facts, statistics, and pictures.  It is important to gather as much useful information to use, even though you will only use at most a sentence of the information.
  4. Use Emotion:  This is the key idea to a PSA, there needs to be some sort of emotional content to attract the viewer. This can happen with the facts, or pictures that you selected.  Pictures are what catches the eye of people, and could be thing that people settle on to take action.
  5. Consider a Layout:  There are infinite amount of creative ways to format your printed PSA.  Place your image and text in a way to capture the viewers attention. Use Programs such as:  Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or simple programs like Microsoft Word to create the format.
  6. Go Flashy or Go Simple:  The ideal layout of the PSA is to go simple.  Flashy will have too many elements, and the viewer will not know what is important.  A simple layout is inviting, and it is not distracting for people to understand what is going on.  Simple is a better choice when making your PSA.
  7. Categorize:  What type of PSA have you made?  By selecting a category for the PSA to fall into, more people will see and understand its meaning.  It would not make sense to put a farming PSA in a military magazine.
  8. View:  Look at the finished PSA, did it complete what you set it out to do? Answer the following questions, and if all questions answer yes, then the PSA is successfully completed.               
                - Does the PSA have a simple layout?
                - Was the PSA emotional in some aspect?
                - Does the PSA have people look at the issue, and take a stance?

Do’s and Don’ts

Do pick a topic that is close to your heart, and you want to express to the public for people to help with the problem.

Do keep information simple on the layout of the PSA.

Do use personal experience.  This kind of information will help boost your message.

Don’t go with topics that are negative, or rude.  Stay away from racial and sexism topics, it is hard to please an audience unless you have the top expertise about the them.

Don’t pick extremely graphic pictures.  There is a limit on how graphic pictures can get, but it is all upon personal opinion.  Some organizations like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have naked people on some of their printed PSAs, and there is no need to be that explicit.

Don’t present false information to the audience, be truthful and honest about the issue.


PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

            This is a PSA from PETA; the message is simple, protect animal rights.  Main features that are present in the PSA are: the quote, contact information, and of course the image.  Whether you agree or not with the PSA, the structure is great example.

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Ad Council

Freedom is the main idea from this PSA produced by the Ad Council.  Again, they take the same approach by having simple layout with general information, and have a vivid image to express their ideas.

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SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions)

A student produced PSA for the organization SADD (Student Against Drinking & Driving).  The image explains it all; if you drink and drive, death might occur.

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Genre Analysis

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