Top 10 must-read leaflet / flyer design tips from a pro

With over 15+ years commercial graphic design experience – I have designed a lot of leaflets/flyers in that time and won some awards, and a lot of my graphic design services are now specifically for the design and print of leaflets/flyers. This is largely due to the success of my web-site over at www.leafletguru.co.uk (shameful plug! But check it out after reading this post to get some creative inspiration and see my creative leaflet design portfolio).

I tend to get a lot of repeat customers now, which for me is very satisfying as I guess that proves that I provide a great leaflet/flyer design service and shows that I know a thing or two about designing a quality leaflet that stands out from the crowd and gets the results and creates the impact my clients need! I therefore thought I would share some of the expertise that I have gained in this specialised area to help others in the understanding of how to create a great looking, engaging, effective leaflet/flyer. So here are my Top 10 Tips!

 #1. Your leaflet is only as good as your creative brief

Whether you create your own brief, or you fill out one of my tried & tested leaflet briefs, every good leaflet starts with a well thought out brief that details the objectives the leaflet needs to achieve. This brief should cover essential areas like;
  • What do you want to achieve with your leaflet? What is the point of it?
  • Audience – who will your leaflet be aimed at?
  • How best can you describe and show off your business or service in the best possible way that will appeal to your audience? What will make your audience pick up and take notice of your leaflet?
  • What is your USP? What will make someone take notice of what you are offering and want to choose you over competitors?
  • What do you want your leaflet viewer to do? What will be the main Call To Actions so that it’s clear how your audience can take things further? Visit a website/specific web-page? Call you? Visit you?
  • Where will you display or distribute you leaflets? This will inform the best size and paper weight and how many you will need.
  • What size leaflet will best fit your needs? In the Uk popular leaflet sizes are A5, A6, A4, DL  etc
Answering all these questions will enable the design, text content & selected imagery to work towards a common goal – and getting the results you need.
Spa leaflet design for a boutique hotel

A spa leaflet design that I produced for a boutique hotel – note how the carefully selected and visually appealing images and strong text headline are essential in getting across the experience on offer and immediately appealing to the audience. You just want to go there right? I could do with chilling out there right now 🙂

#2 AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

AIDA is a popular acronym used in marketing that describes a common list of events that should occur when a someone engages with effective marketing material. It is definitely worth bearing in mind when getting together headlines, body text & imagery for a leaflet.
A – Attention (Awareness):
which implies you need to attract the attention of your audience. What will appeal to them?
I – Interest:
to raise customer interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits, in addition to features.
D – Desire:
convince your audience that what you are offering is of interest to them and they should keep your leaflet.
A – Action:
lead customers towards taking action and doing something. So make sure your leaflet follows the AIDA formula!

#3. Making a good first impression…

Firstly, we’ve got to understand that there is a lot of marketing stuff out there bombarding us and competing for our attention on daily basis, and for a lot of clients their leaflets are displayed alongside other leaflets. There’s a lot of competition in promoting something these days and it’s therefore imperative that you make a good first impression with your leaflet. What’s more, in todays time-poor world – you’ve only got around 2 seconds to make that First Impression a positive one and capture the viewers attention. Remember your don’t get a second chance to make a first impression! To make a good first impression – there are 2 facets of it – design quality & grabbing attention with a good headline and/or hero image, and you need to use combine to good effect. The next 2 items show you how.

#4. Why Design Quality Matters

Firstly – the design quality (look & feel) – instantly signifies the quality of a product or service and you must understand the quality of your business is being portrayed through your leaflet design. An unprofessional looking leaflet instantly signifies an unprofessional service/business/product being promoted in the leaflet. That’s not what any clued-up business owner wants. Most of us already know this, as we get a lot of those cheap & nasty leaflets through the door and chuck them straight in the bin without reading. Often we chuck them in the bin as we just instinctively know, through the poor quality design that it’s not a professional and trust-worthy/reputable service we are likely to use (think dodgy cowboy builder or dodgy takeaway service with those big old stock photos of kebabs!)

I see a lot of business owners these days trying to get their leaflet(s) designed by the cheapest place out there to save a bit of cash (or even worse – designing their own leaflets – jumping straight into word or publisher – thinking this design lark is a piece of cake), but what they don’t know is that by saving a few quid on design costs – they are getting a poorly designed leaflet, that is going to promote a negative first impression to potential customers, and in the long term is not going to generate as much interest as a well-designed leaflet. In this respect – you should view the design cost involved in getting a professionally designed leaflet as an investment, not a cost, because a well designed leaflet will get you more interest and business, and thus make you more money!

#5. Interesting & Engaging Content

 As well as the look or the design, the leaflet also needs to have substance – and this substance comes through wise choice of text and imagery, which is chosen to match your communication objectives and appeal to your intended target audience.
Leaflet Text – Consider what is really going to be of interest to your audience? Get across your value proposition and really sell whats good about what you are offering – people want to know the benefits to them of what it is you are promoting. But as ever when presenting text, remember less is always more, as too much info, and a leaflet that is too text dense – just doesn’t look as inviting to read and can put people off. You need to convey your messages with immediacy, brevity and clarity. The copy should not be in bulky paragraphs, you need short, sharp statements, bullet points and bold headings.  And remember a little linguistic imagination can really help sell something. e.g. A small venue can offer “an exclusively intimate performance’, while an event with a one night run can be “your one and only chance to catch this’. When talking about food you can include the words ‘delicious’ & ‘scrumptous’ – you get the idea!
Leaflet Imagery – We’ve all heard the saying “pictures tell a thousand words”, and with the small space we have on a leaflet – the use of images are a great way to promote your business/service in a small space. As we do not want to overwhelm the reader with too much text copy in your leaflet; the idea is to wet the appetite. And nicely taken (professionally if possible), images are a great way to catch attention and break up your text. With pictures, they are also recognisable in an instant as to what they are – so are key to instantly making your audience aware of exactly what it is your leaflet is about within seconds and affecting that all important decision – whether to actually pick up and read your leaflet. So use images that reinforce your services and are relevant to the text so they attract the right audience. Further more, we then need to consider the difference between shoddy taken pictures and professionally took photos, or well-taken photos by an amateur. The more professionally taken pics will always show your product/service in a better light, and again you can probably relate to this, for instance, comparing the seductive photos of a hotel in a glossy travel brochure (which made you want to go in the first place) versus the ones you take your self – which don’t seem to quite capture that place in all its glory. So when choosing photos for a leaflet – think quality!

#6. Call to Action

A Call to Action is the means by which a viewer will take further action upon seeing your leaflet (such as visit a website, or call a phone number) – and every leaflet should have a call to action. An effective call to action is the linchpin of a successful leaflet and involves drawing together best practice in creative visual design and powerful copy writing to encourage your leaflet viewer to do something. If it is designed right, a leaflet designed around an effective Call To Action will generate a real return on investment. Usually in a leaflet a Call To action, at it’s basic level, is simply a means of clearly listing contact details, whether that is visiting a website, calling a phone number, understanding where a business is physically located, or visiting a Facebook page or a twitter address – or even all of these! If someone is interested in your leaflet – make it easy & clear for them to find out how to get in touch and take action! But there can be more to it, such as using urgent or benefit-led language around your Call To Actions, all of which encourage viewers to do something. You could even incentivise your leaflet and include a special offer  – which would make it more likely to be kept for future reference – a popular one is xx% off with this leaflet etc. This obviously depends upon what product/service you are promoting. Finally You would also lay out your CTA(‘s) in a way which gives them adequate design space to allow for easy recognition, whilst also presenting them in a size which again helps with clarity & useability.

#7. Proof your leaflet. And again.

I can’t emphasise the importance of this process. Nothing says amateur like spelling mistakes; it might seem obvious but copy checking should be standard for anything going out to the public – so don’t be afraid to proof your leaflet a couple of times, or even better get someone else to help you with it as they will look at it with fresh eyes. Also it’s quite amateurish to use poor quality, low resolution pixelated pictures – so again check the quality of these. I personally always liase with my clients to ensure all imagery is tip-top!

#8. Printing & Papers

Once you have the design sorted, and everything is looking great and reading well – you need to get it printed. The artwork needs to be exported in a print ready format (usually print ready PDF) for the printers, with bleeds, crop marks, fonts embedded, correct colour mode etc etc. Spot colours and specialist printing techniques need to be specified to the printers requirements. You also need to think about the paper to be printed on. What finish will fit the design approach? Silk? Gloss? Matt/Uncoated stock? What paper weight? Bearing in mind that heavier paper costs more, but could signify better quality, but would also make a batch of say 5000 leaflets weigh a lot more (if delivering by hand). Also does it matter if your leaflets flop in the hand or when stood up? Do you need sturdy paper? These are important considerations and shouldn’t be an after thought – so don’t be afraid to ask your designer or printer. As part of my one-stop-shop leaflet design & print service, I take care of everything from start to finish, by offering a seamless design & cheap leaflet printing service.

Being a talented designer is a skill; it’s partly innate (some people just have a creative side to them), but it’s also learned & developed through experience. This comes from working on a variety of projects, for a variety of clients (international clients to small businesses) and within a variety of industry sectors. I’ve had over 15+ years commercial design experience, in addition to 5 years college/university training – so I would like to think I’m a pretty good designer. (I’m normally a modest person – but I need to impress you here with my design skills!)
It would be impossible to condense my design experience into a few words so someone could easily replicate the quality of leaflets I design, but I do have some general design tips, which give you an insight into the thought processes behind designing a quality flyer.
  • Brand Identity. I like to work with, and reinforce any brand identity already in existence, and as with any marketing material – it should be consistent across all forms, whether in print on online.  Using a consistent brand identity builds on any previous associations someone may have had with your brand and helps your customer to distinguish and identify your business from the competition. At a basic level this involves making use of your logo, and complimentary colours and fonts to help to get the right message across.
  • Less is more. I think that a simple and elegantly designed leaflet is the best way of helping to capture attention and make it easy for the viewer to digest the content and understand exactly the leaflet is about and then take action!
  • Use of Imagery. I’m a big fan of using well-taken photos & seductive imagery – to me a great looking picture is very appealing and instantly gets across key messages. If a client doesn’t have any pictures – I have a big stock library which I often draw from.
  • Core colour palette. Use of colour is great way to attract people – and I’m also a big fan of using colour – but I like to stick to a core colour palette – which compliments the brand – but also gives a distinctive look to the leaflet to help it stand out.
  • Relevant Fonts. With regards to fonts – I have had a lot of experience working with type – and I know which fonts can help convey a certain message and look, weather that look is stylish, elegant, quality, understated, refined, funky, cutting edge….you get the picture! I also like to only use 1 or 2 font families – so the leaflet doesn’t look like a dog’s dinner and to help with creating a distinctive visual style.
  • Standing out. It’s important for your leaflet to stand out from the crowd and I try to ensure each of my leaflets for a particular brand has a distinctive look – getting the attention your leaflet deserves to ensure you get the results you need.

#10. Design matters. Choose your designer wisely!

I can’t emphasise how important it is to get your leaflet exactly right in terms of design, content & print quality, and a good designer will help you perfect your content and present it through their design in the most effective way possible to engage your audience. I’ve plugged myself a few times in this blog post, and like to think I know a thing or two about designing an effective leaflet, but you may decide to go elsewhere and look for an agency or designer. If you do – look at their portfolio or ask to see leaflet samples. Do they have the relevant experience designing leaflets? (It’s a specialist skill and make sure they have designed lots of leaflets) Is their work of the highest quality? Have they worked for clients in your industry before? Beyond the realm of design – are they easy to contact and do they work quickly? Will you work with and contact your designer directly or will you go through client services? (I actually work with & email my clients directly – it’s just easier and I can get a better feel for what you want!) And don’t forget – are they good people to work with and get along with? A friendly service makes all the difference. Some designers have a big design ego and want to do things their way and are reluctant to make changes and take onboard feedback from their client – personally I think it’s a collaborative process and I always like to ensure my client is 100% happy with what they get. Not only does this get better results for my clients – but usually they come back for more design work – so it’s a win win.

Good luck with your leaflets. (But really you shouldn’t need luck if you choose a good leaflet designer & printer 🙂

Well that just about wraps that blog post up! Hopefully you have found it insightful and informative and it helps you on your way to getting your perfect leaflet! If you wish to get in touch with me about working on a leaflet design & print project – then it would be great to hear from you! Just drop me an email and we can take it from there.

email Stuart at: hello@stuart-hodgson.com

——————————

Blog post by Stuart Hodgson – The Leaflet Design Guru

“Quality leaflet/flyer design is an investment, not a cost – because a well designed leaflet will generate more business and interest for you” Stuart Hodgson

With over 15+ years commercial graphic design experience – I have designed a lot of leaflets/flyers in that time and won some awards, and a lot of my graphic design services are now specifically for the design and print of leaflets/flyers. This is largely due to the success of my web-site over at www.leafletguru.co.uk (check it out after reading this post to see my full creative leaflet design portfolio and get some creative inspiration).

I tend to get a lot of repeat customers now, which for me is very satisfying as I guess that implies that I provide a great leaflet/flyer design service and proves that I know a thing or two about designing a quality leaflet that stands out from the crowd and gets the results and creates the impact my clients need. I therefore thought I would share some of the knowledge I have gained in this specialised area in my blog to help in the understanding of how to create a great looking, engaging and effective leaflet/flyer that gets great results.

If you are interested in using my leaflet design services then pay a visit to my website at www.leafletguru.co.uk to see the quality of my work – or email me straight away at hello@stuart-hodgson.com

leaflet-design-print-flyer-creative-best-cheap-artwork-leaflet-guru

If you need a leaflet designing and printing then check out www.leafletguru.co.uk first!

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Top 10 must-read leaflet / flyer design tips from a pro

  1. Pingback: What’s the difference between a flyer and a leaflet? | Leaflet/Flyer design & print tips

  2. Informative and interesting post for us. Its really nice. Thank you for telling about the best design and the format choosing the flyers. Its really impressive and the effective. This post content is very good and the informative.

    Liked by 1 person

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