Let’s start off with a stat about humour in advertising: about half of all ads in the world contain an element of humour.
Humour is used in design and branding to do the most difficult of things – to engage with the audience. The brand that uses humour hopes that the humour will stick in the consciousness of the target audience, through the life cycle of the consumer, helping to create positive associations with the brand.
We all like to laugh, so the positive association created through the use of humour should be a no-brainer. In fact, it begs the question, why isn’t humour used even more frequently?
Before I answer that question, it hasn’t escaped my attention that this post about humour hasn’t actually made you laugh yet (I hope). Let’s rectify that with a joke about advertising.
Samson had the right idea about advertising. He took two columns and brought down the house.
That was a joke, I can spot the set up and the punchline, but I don’t know about you – I’m just not laughing. In fact this joke goes someway to answering the above question. Humour is so subjective that brands risk alienating as much as engaging if they decide to go down the funny route.
The funnier a brand tries to be, the bigger the risk they take. Which is why most brands trying to inject humour do so gently – and why visual, design led humour is probably the safest bet of all.
There are plenty of ways to introduce humour through design but here are a few of the most popular.


    • Trompe l’oeil (or, for those of us who weren’t paying attention during art history, something that looks like something it’s not).


  • Self awareness and the ability to laugh at yourself.



  • Exaggeration.