You may think flyers are old school marketing materials heavy on utility and light on style. However, flyers are great for mass distribution of specific and time-sensitive information. Create them with the same care and attention to quality and effectiveness as any other marketing piece you create — and always remember to reflect your overall brand. The basic principles of design apply just as much to flyers as any other project, and a well-designed flyer provides an opportunity to stand out.
Establish a messaging hierarchy.
Think about your message and determine what is most important to communicate. Then establish your hierarchy by organizing your content into levels of importance — what the reader should see first, second, and third. Because you shouldn’t plan on viewers taking too much time to read your flyer, you need to decide how you will grab their attention and make your main message the most visually prominent part of your design. A poorly designed flyer is crammed with information that competes for attention, leaving the viewer unsure of where to look first — and resulting in viewers tuning out completely.
One way to minimize the amount of information you need to include is to focus on the most pertinent details and then provide a web or social media address that allows the reader to retrieve more information if they are interested and when it’s convenient.
Call the reader to action.
Once you have your reader’s attention be sure the rest of the content leads the viewer to the action you want them to take. Simplify your design layout with white space — blank space with no design or text — to call attention to the additional details the reader needs to know.
Be consistent with your brand.
Remember that your flyer is a very visible reflection of your brand. Be consistent with style elements like color, typography, and the look and feel of images you include.
Your brand may have a complete identity manual with guidelines for every aspect of the design, or you may only have a logo or website to align your design with. Work with what you have, and strive for style compatibility.
Pick your type.
Limit your use of different type families and pay attention to how they can be consistent with your branding. Tap into a library of available fonts to make a selection, although most often one or two different typefaces will suffice. If employing more than one typeface, be sure they aren’t too similar and have adequate visual contrast. For example, you could pair a serif font (a font with “tails,” like Times New Roman) with a sans serif font (a font without “tails,” such as Arial), but not two serif fonts. Also, limit use of different sizes and styles to what is really necessary. This will help your design feel unified and accessible.
Design for distribution.
It’s crucial to design your flyer for the medium and printing method you will be using. Often, budget and speed requirements dictate flyers are printed on digital presses or even your office laser printer. Keep in mind that these printers have limitations that don’t exist with high-end printers. Make your designs fit within the restrictions of the printer you will use. Many digital printers can’t print to bleed — where printing happens right up to the edge of the page — but instead require margins around the outside edges of the paper. If you are creating your project in InDesign CC, you can set up a print bleed from the start. Inkjet printers also have limitations and usually don’t print large blocks of color well, and can create streaks in your design. And regardless of the printer you’ll be using, be sure to generate a high quality pdf to get the best quality print.
If your flyer will be distributed digitally, aim to include it in the body of an email instead of attaching it as a separate file that needs to be opened. And be sure to test what it looks like on a few different phones or tablet devices.
Search for inspiration.
Whether you are having a hard time getting your ideas flowing or you have a great concept but aren’t sure how to execute it, a good place to start is by looking for inspiration. Use the free mobile app Adobe Capture CC to take pictures of your surroundings and save interesting colors and designs. The photos are saved directly to your personal CC Library so they are ready to use when you are.
You can also search for examples of others’ work on shared portfolio sites like Behance.net. Pay attention to what makes those designs work — from the use of color to page layout, balance, scale, and proportion. Notice how the use of white space can focus attention. And don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from the techniques these professional designers successfully use.
Find a template.
To steer clear of the intimidating blank canvas, look for a template with instructions from Adobe Stock. You can download professionally designed template files that make it easy to get started on your own flyer. Every template is fully customizable by dropping in your own images, replacing text, and modifying typeface and colors. You can also consider using poster templates, as the main difference between a promotional poster and a flyer is the different production size.
Use the right tools.
The right software will make your job much easier and when it comes to designing a flyer, and InDesign CC, Illustrator CC, and Photoshop CC are great applications to use. While these programs can seem intimidating to the beginner — and they are indeed high-end tools with very advanced features — you don’t need to learn every function or feature to be able to produce your perfect flyer. A wide variety of step-by-step tutorials and videos are available online that make it easy to get started or accomplish a specific task.
With these tips you’ll have a flyer ready in no time to promote your latest sale, event, or cause.