May 2016 Newsletter : Make Awesome Flyers

Flyers: they are everywhere. I challenge you to count how many you walk by every day. I did the other day and I was surprised at just how many well formatted pages were trying to get my attention!

Now add those virtual ones you see go by on social media sites: sales, workshops, demonstrations, fundraisers, etc. They’re clearly a popular way to share information and if you have a business or non-profit, chances are you’ve had to make at least one so far.

Last month, we hosted a small workshop about creating event flyers for marketing called “Make Awesome Flyers”. We collaborated with Jillybean Designs and Carrie Jones to discuss three elements of a flyer: the design, the copy, and distribution.

Last month, we talked about storytelling. One way to approach the flyer-making process is to think of it as an element of your business that tells a story.

Bad Story Habit #1: Telling Too Much

Some of the worst storytellers are people who try to squeeze too much information in. Listening to those stories is exhausting because you are constantly trying to figure out what’s important (or going to be later) and what isn’t.

Flyer equivalent: Putting all the info on one page
Solution: What is essential? The event title, day, time, and maybe a URL to learn more or sign up. That’s all. Save detailed descriptions, testimonials, etc. for the URL to the event. Take what you have and see if you can cut it in half: text, visuals, etc.


Bad Story Habit #2: Inaccurate Information

Get your facts straight before you put it out there, because the story spreads beyond your reach and soon correcting those details becomes difficult to impossible.

Flyer equivalent: Typos, misinformation
Solutions: Read your flyer backwards and out loud (pro tip from Carrie Jones!). It forces you to slow down and allows you to notice weird things. Also have at least two other people proofread it before you make 100 copies.


Bad Story Habit #3: Showing Too Much

We have all heard stories with too many descriptive elements (I tried reading Proust once so that comparison comes to mind). Trying to do too much visually in a story makes the reader/listeners feel like they are wading through quicksand and getting bogged down.

Flyer equivalent: Too much ‘design’ elements
Solutions: Stick to two fonts (a ‘headline’ and regular font) in two colors (a main and accent color). As Jill Lee says, the most effective flyer should be able to be rendered in black and white. Try to pick your strongest picture and use just that. If you need to use multiples (ex: you’re having an art show and feelings are going to get hurt), space them out evenly and thoughtfully so as not to overwhelm.


Apologies for the visual assault.

Bad Story Habit #4: Not Sharing It Widely

If you’re telling a story, it is as much work for you to tell it to two people as 200 people… so why not get as many people in the room as possible?

Flyer equivalent: Sticking your flyer on a few community bulletin boards and thinking you’re done.
Solutions: Think outside the box. Find Facebook groups, online calendars, and other places people learn about events and post your event there. If you link back to your own website (or simply asks who comes to the event how they heard about it), for future events you’ll be able to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.


Bad Story Habit #5: Using The Wrong Format

Ever heard of Einstein’s thought experiments being put in an audio-book? That’s because certain things shouldn’t be in certain mediums.

Flyer equivalent: Making a flyer out of something that requires a lot of text or is for a very specific audience
Solutions: Ask yourself ‘should this be told on a flyer?’ You may do better using an email newsletter, a page on a website, or other medium to communicate the information you need to your intended audience.

Flyer Creation Tools

People get caught up in using the right tools but here’s the thing: you should use what YOU feel comfortable with. And if you don’t know where to start, here are some tools you can use to make a flyer.

Powerpoint: Microsoft’s ‘Office’ suite costs around $200 but may have already come with your computer (if you like Google tools, Google Drive has a ‘Presentations’ format that is very similar). You basically make a one slide ‘presentation’ and that’s your flyer!

Pages (Mac): This is about $20 and if you love your Mac, may be a good investment. It comes with premade templates that look pretty good and also lets you start from scratch.

PicMonkey: This is an online tool that’s free (it has a paid version which offers more fonts and design options as well for $5.99/month). If you ever wondered how those mom bloggers had great looking images for their posts on Pinterest, this is their secret. You can use this to lay out a flyer as well as Facebook covers and other online images.

GIMP: Sure you can pay $500+ for Photoshop… but just so you know, there is a free version. Download it onto your computer and start making your creation. Probably the best thing with Photoshop is the ‘layers’ aspect, meaning you can turn elements on and off without deleting them.

No matter what you use, save your image as two formats: PDF (for attaching to emails and printing) and PNG (for sharing online). 

Other Resources

Using metallic for party flyers to create a sense of light, especially to make it stand out on a bulletin board of other flyers is our favorite tip from TutsPlus’ ‘Top Tips For Creating Awesome Flyers’.

More ideas on #4-Where to Share Your Flyer

The Story Behind “Make Awesome Flyers”

How Not to Design a Flyer (Guest Post from Jillybean Designs)


Our first in-person workshop in 2+ years is happening September 24!