Whether you’re setting up shop or looking to reach new customers, you’re going to need an eye-catching and stylish business flyer.
In this article, we’ll give you ten pro tips for designing flyers that are the ultimate multi-taskers— functional, direct… and much more creative than you think!
A flyer’s primary purpose is to attract attention; and the secondary purpose is to convert sales— through information about unmissable offers or the details of an event, for example. Sure, this means it’s not going to be a treasured work of art, but you can still make a flyer that looks incredible while fulfilling both purposes.
1. Function Before Form
OK, so before we get distracted with the fun design stuff, let’s get a reality check first. You may want to make your flyer into a Michelangelo masterpiece but realistically most people will not see it in that light at all.
Whether you’re advertising a computer sale or a club night, you need to remember that your flyer has to be striking enough to be picked up and looked at. The information on it also has to be clear and concise enough to convince that person to check out your shop or attend your event.
Prioritising function over form before you start out designing will help to get your brain in the right place. Of course, design plays a significant role in converting sales, but it isn’t necessarily the most tastefully designed flyer that will push the right buttons.
Take note of this functional checklist and review your business flyer at the start and end of the design process to make sure it conforms to some or all of these:
- Keep the information concise—edit the text content down to the essential information only and don’t be tempted to waffle. A flyer reader’s attention span is super-short, so make what they read in that split-second count.
- Make information easy to read—make sure your font sizes are large and your leading generous. And don’t be afraid to let a big, bold header dominate a large part of the flyer.
- Make contact details and other essential information instantly accessible—pull out a website address in a bold color, or make sure the date and time of an event or sale is blown up to large-scale.
- Apply a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) attitude—if you’re selling a product make sure to feature an image of it. It might seem like simple common sense, but giving the reader a visual aspect to accompany a text item will help your flyer to convert sales much more easily. Take inspiration from this stylish sale flyer—each item of text is accompanied by a simple image of the product being sold. Treat your business flyer like a shop front—shops put their products on display as they know that people ultimately buy with their eyes.
2. Short on Space? Gridify!
One of the biggest challenges faced by graphic designers is how to make the most of a small amount of print space. With most flyers restricted to a standard A5 (148 mm x 210 mm) or A6 (105 mm x 148 mm)page size you’re going to need to think a bit more creatively about how to lay out your design.
Whereas with an invitation or more formal brochure you might look to arrange text content into one column on the page, with a flyer you can and should be more experimental with your grid. Newspaper-style same-size columns might look a bit rigid, so try dividing your flyer up into irregular sections. Take a look at this cleverly laid-out corporate flyer.
The designer has created a four-part grid, with the top third devoted to the header and image, two irregular-width columns below, and a narrow full-width row at the base of the design. The flyer packs in a lot of content, but still retains a minimal, clean look thanks to the balanced proportions of the grid.
Clean Corporate Flyer
Or why not move away from lateral thinking and try experimenting with diagonal sections on your grid? The modern flyer template shown below, breaks the normal rules with a diagonal slash across the top-right section of the flyer. It’s the perfect place for a slogan and background image, without intruding across the main layout.
If you spend a bit of time at the start of the design process mapping out your grid and planning which content goes where you’ll be amazed at how much you can actually fit onto a small page size.
3. Play it Cool…
Sometimes an understated flyer can be a perfectly-pitched design move. If you’re aiming at the more intelligent or corporate consumer it might not be the wisest idea to throw a rainbow of brights or a shouty novelty font into the mix.
Aim for an aesthetic that is minimal, subtle and calm. If you’re advertising corporate services or a business convention an understated, flat design style will attract your target market with very little effort.
Take inspiration from this minimal corporate flyer, and keep photos to a bare minimum.
Stick to a black, white and grey palette; restricting yourself to just one splash of bold (but appropriate) color. Teals, mustards, pale greys and mint greens are corporate at their core, and prevent the flyer from drifting into bland territory.
Bringing in infographic-style icons and simple graphics will add a visual element without dominating the design. If you’re on the hunt for stylish icons, you can spend hours browsing the huge selection of free-to-download vector graphics at flaticon.com.
4. …But Don’t Be Dull!
Whether you’re making an understatement or a full-blown statement, you want to avoid the curse of dullness at all costs. Understated designs can be transformed from bland to brilliant with a deft application of color.
If you’re looking to advertise something more informal and attention-seeking, like a club night, exhibition or festival, you simply can’t afford to be dull at all!
You want to inject your flyer with the spirit of the event itself. Looking at your flyer should transport the viewer to the event and allow themselves to imagine what it would be like to experience the event. If your flyer is a little on the boring side, they certainly aren’y going to get into the party spirit.
Follow these tips for making your flyers more exciting and never be in fear of producing a dull design again:
- Color is your new best friend—a palette of complementary bold tones, like the hot pink, sunny yellows and sea blues used in this eye-catching photo flyer, can conjure up summer days (perfect for festivals and BBQ events); while a pop of neon can add a masculine, sporty edge to black-and-white designs.
- Balance a trio of bold elements—create a balanced team of one striking photo, one attention-grabbing header (in a legible but bold slab typeface) and one colored element (such as the triangle pattern used on this photo flyer template). Avoid overcrowding by sticking to this three-element rule—it’s pleasing to the eye and will be eye-catching without becoming an eyesore.
- Make your design optimistic and fun — don’t allow the flyer to be overly serious; even if you want to bring in a corporate element you’ve still got scope to make something look witty or even a bit childish. You want people to pick up your flyer and hang onto it; they’ll be more likely to do this if the design makes them feel good.
5. Bring Tech Appeal to Your Design
Even though you’re probably designing your flyer for print, you may well be advertising services or products that can be accessed or bought online. More and more companies are moving their businesses solely online and, as a result, most consumers interact with brands via websites or apps.
It has to be pointed out that flyers and apps have a number of things in common, even though a print flyer lacks the element of interactivity. Both flyers and apps are optimised for small spaces, and as a result they both need to make the way they present their information as efficient and easy-to-read as possible. They also are tasked with holding the attention of someone who may easily have a number of other distractions to be drawn to, whether that’s other apps on their phone or different flyers on a display stand.
Ultimately, apps are a great example of efficient, eye-catching design, and you can lift these lessons from the digital world and apply them to your print flyer designs.
Take a look at this tech-inspired flyer design —notice the boxy grid, white text and flat icons? These are the trademarks of app-inspired style.
Take a look at some of the apps you most frequently use—what elements do they feature that would lend well to print design? Whether that’s a strong, simple color palette, chunky buttons or clean sans serif type, they’ll bring desirable and very modern app-inspired charm to your business flyer.
6. Be Approachable
Nobody likes a grumpy face… You shouldn’t under-estimate the simple power of a smiling human face when it comes to designing your flyers.
For many people a flyer is going to be their first point of contact with your business, so it’s vital to make a good impression. If you’re advertising services it’s important to give the viewer a friendly face. When they do further research, even if that’s online or over the phone, they will keep that person’s face in mind.
This friendly flyer template is a great example of introducing an approachable photo without looking corny or forced. The otherwise minimal, restrained style of the flyer compliments the image, and makes it look like this man both knows what he’s doing and will be friendly and approachable in the process.
A word of caution on using stock images—many stock photos of ‘smiling business people’ can look overly staged and soulless. Hiring a professional photographer to take high-quality, casual, authentic-looking photos of your business’ staff will be worth the money, and the images can be reused for advertising, websites or social media.
If your budget won’t stretch to that and you must use stock, aim for photos that feel casual, informal and friendly. Browse a range of high-quality stock images over at Envato Market.
7. Don’t Compromise on Your Visuals
It can seem a shame to restrict your photos or illustrations to just a small part of your flyer. But there’s no need to compromise!
You can turn striking photos into the main attraction by sitting them behind other items of content, like text and color. Gradients and transparency effects are fantastic for allowing you to step outside of the usual boxy grid layout and create a layered effect on your design.
These super-professional flyers let graphics and color take center-stage, but by reducing the opacity of the colored elements, and adding subtle gradients the designer is able to make the text appear legible and stylish to boot.
When working with small page sizes don’t feel limited to a basic grid layout—layered designs can look particularly striking and are a surprisingly simple way of making flyers that look professionally designed.
8. Use Shape to Create a Cool Modular Design
If you have multiple images and can’t decide which one to choose, try experimenting with shape to create a modular style. A shape-based layout is perfect for creating a modern photo collage on your flyer, which is ideal for almost every kind of purpose where you’d like to showcase a range of products or images, from stock sites to retail brands.
This stylish education flyer uses a series of overlapping circle shapes to position a couple of images and divide sections of text.
The curves of the shapes make the flyer seem more playful and informal.
You can design a flyer that takes advantage of a variety of shapes. This promotional flyer uses layered squares and rectangles, bordered by minimal white strokes, to showcase a range of product and fashion shots.
Most software programmes will have a range of default shape tools, including circles, squares and polygons, which you can use to create a unique photo-board design.
9. Tweak the Mood of Your Flyer with Color
We’ve already touched on how vital a role color plays in making your flyer appear bolder; but where to begin with selecting an effective color palette for your flyer design?
Color, arguably more so than typography or images, is the key player in defining the mood and personality of your flyer design. Color will play a significant part in enticing a reader to pick your flyer up, so you need to consider color as playing a strong psychological role in your design.
Citrus tones, like oranges and yellows, can appear zingy and optimistic, which is great for more informal flyer designs, while cooler tones like icy blues and pale greys can seem more intellectual and tech-forward, which is perfect if you’re looking to create something more corporate. Choosing an ill-judged color combination can alienate potential customers, but the right color palette can help your flyer to translate to sales.
If you’re looking for a failsafe color combination which looks timeless and effortlessly elegant, I love the combination of black-and-white photography with a contrasting trio of complementary colors.
This photography flyer uses this color effect for maximum impact.
Using black-and-white photography instead of full-color images keeps flyer designs restrained, and makes a great backdrop for your brand colors. For added impact, choose bright neons or fresh pastels—teamed with monochrome photography they’ll always look stylish, not garish.
10. Try to Make Your Flyer a Keeper
Flyers are cheap to produce, often printed on low-weight paper with unfashionable gloss finishes, and as a result they are rarely seen as items to be treasured. They are the workhorse of promotional print items but many often end up in the trash.
A beautifully-designed flyer is much more likely to be kept by a potential customer, and may even be pinned up on display at home or at the office if it’s particularly attractive.
At the start of this article we talked about the dual purpose of flyers—to attract enough attention to be picked up, and to convert to sales quickly by presenting information in a clear, concise manner. But there’s another purpose to be added—that of the long sell.
In a similar way to follow-up e-newsletters or online ads that follow you when you haven’t quite committed to purchase, print flyers can be used as a long-term reminder to a consumer. This will only be a realistic aim if, however, you’ve created a flyer that’s attractive enough to be kept around in view for a longer period of time.
If you treat your flyer like a mini poster design, using striking images, beautiful colors, and stylish typography, it’s less likely to be thrown away as soon as it’s been picked up.
This elegant interior design flyer is a lovely example of a flyer that doesn’t scream for attention, but makes use of a simple and attractive layout.
You can certainly imagine this flyer being pinned to a noticeboard or placed in a scrapbook for future reference.
Don’t just think of the short-term role your flyer will have—play the long game and you’ll reap the rewards in the long-term too.