Hopefully won’t be too vague a question or specific, but understand that it might be.
I rarely touch design work, but my employer has asked me to take an A4 page advert (PDF) for a client and “simply” resize it in to an A5 advert.
To me this sounds like practically a complete redesign as in my eyes there won’t be any way to re-fit A4’s worth of information in to half the space.
Do you have any tips for this kind of task? Seems a ridiculous thing to ask; but I’m struggling to think how to go about doing it short of redesigning the whole thing; and even then there won’t be enough space for all the information!
Yes, it is a complete redesign. It would be a complete redesign if you were keeping the dimensions and just turning it 90 degrees.
My usual quick-and-dirty way just to see what needs to happen for all the info to fit: I make a single item out of the ad (in your case, you’re working from a PDF, so save it as a JPG; if it was an original in InDesign/Quark, I would group everything) and then squash and stretch (50% high, 200% wide, or whatever) until it fits into the new hole.
This is not going to be your actual design, of course, but you will now be able to see how small the text will be and how the relationships between the items are affected.
You can also show this to your boss before embarking on the task. S/he might not realize what was involved in the order given.