Ask These 5 Questions to Create a Perfect Flyer
We see them everyday — in store windows, at work or school, in emails, on community bulletin boards. Whether you spell it flyer or flier is up to you, but there’s no denying that it is a very important marketing tool! A well designed flyer should catch your attention and maybe even get your audience to take action: attend a grand opening, visit a website, buy tickets to a concert – and so on. Whatever your needs, here are five questions to ask to create a perfect flyer:
- Who and what is it for?
Take time to decide on the purpose of your flyer. Who is your target audience? Where will it be seen? How will it be distributed? Deciding to distribute via printed flyers and/or through social media is an important distinction to make. A social media flyer and a large 11” 17” newspaper insert will have very different design requirements, so knowing the purpose ahead of time will decide details such as the size, the medium, and the layout. Print designs and web designs have different needs; they use different color models (see color article), different file types, and other considerations. For more information about this, see the links at the bottom of this article.
If you’re designing for a company or your own brand and have a style guide or brand guidelines to work from, be sure to have that on hand. This will give you guidelines for the fonts, colors, and logos you will use. If you don’t have a style guide, take a look at the company’s website or previous flyers for inspiration. This helps keep a consistent “look” for the company even though you are a new designer. Take a look at this example from the Animal Planet television channel:
- What are the details?
Believe it or not, some people will accidentally leave out major details like the date or time because they are so focused on the design! Make sure you have a list of all the details that must be included on your flyer. If you design frequently, you might like to create a list of details typically needed for a design, and check items off your list as you go. Here are a few to get you started:
- How do I put it all together?
Remember – your number one goal is to get people to see your flyer, so do your best to make it eye catching for your target audience. A helpful mantra to keep in mind during this process is “function over form” – meaning, prioritize the purpose of the flyer over the design (fonts, colors, etc.). Now that you’ve gotten down who you’re designing for and what you need to say, you’re ready to get started.
Need inspiration? Research flyers designed for a similar purpose, and take note of the ones that catch your eye. What drew you to this design? Maybe you like the layout, or perhaps the colors and fonts? Maybe it aligns with the purpose of this flyer? Has the designer kept “function over form” in mind? Don’t be afraid to utilize free templates and themes to start your design. They are invaluable tools that will help you learn different ways to communicate your message!
Layout: Pay close attention to alignment, spacing, and balance. A well-spaced layout makes the whole flyer easy to see at a glance and makes the important information easy to find. You will want to decide on a focal point, which is the element that will first catch the viewer’s eye. This can be a large title, an image, a block of color – the goal is for your focal point to lead the viewer to the most important information you’re trying to share.
Images: Images speak for themselves and can go a long way to communicating tone and feel. If you want to use a photo, choosing high-quality, visually appealing pictures is a must. Choosing a single image gives a flyer focus and gives you a starting point to build the rest of the design around. If you don’t have access to a variety of images, there are websites and design programs that offer stock photos – many are free and high quality – that you can use for your design.
Fonts: Because written details are part of any flyer design, fonts play a very important role. Take care to pick fonts that are readable and appropriate for your subject matter (see Fonts article), just like you would choose your layout, images, and colors. Combining different font styles and sizes (see font article for tips) is a simple way to add pizazz.
Color: Using bright and motivating colors, color temperature (warm or cool), and other color psychology tips (see Color article) can help you pick your color palette and pull the design together. Remember, colors can influence mood and perception, so make sure yours match your flyer’s intent.
- What can I take out?
Keep it simple! When it comes to flyers, “less is more”. At this point, go back to question #2 and determine what details are crucial to the design. Edit and remove non-essential details, because too many words and a crowded layout will lessen the impact of the design. The more clearly you communicate through your copywriting, the less work your audience has to do, and the more likely you’ll be to get a good response.
If the design needs to include a lot of details no matter what, experiment with moving around the margins and creating more blank, empty space, also known as “white space”, in the layout. It might feel like the empty space is wasted space, but remember that too much information, and a lack of a focal point makes viewers more likely to give up on reading your flyer. Also try using fewer colors and colors with greater contrast.
- What’s next?
You’ve gotten their attention, now invite your audience to take the next step. Go back to question #1 and think about the purpose of the flyer. Promoting a concert? Say “Buy your tickets today!” Offering a new service? Say “Call today to schedule your appointment!” This suggestion, called a call-to-action, is an important marketing tool.
- Start with a command verb, such as “Buy…” “Visit…” “Call…”
- Use friendly, positive, and enthusiastic language. Example: “Don’t miss out! Call today!” vs. “Call today for more information about our services”
- Keep it short and sweet
Allow yourself freedom to be creative and let your personal style shine through. Getting your audience’s attention isn’t always easy, but asking these five questions while you design will set you up for success!