It’s party season (hooray!), and there’s no better way to advertise a fun event than with an awesome flyer, whether in print format or circulated online.
I’ll share 10 professional tips for making your flyer designs look special and stylish, and take a look at some fantastic templates to help you get started.
Let’s get this party started!
1. Sort Out the Practicalities First
Before you start designing your flyer, you need to think about some practical issues. Yes, this may be dull, but it’s important!
One thing to consider is the format of your flyer—do you want it in hard copy (print) or soft copy (digital e-flyer) format?
If the former, you should think about whether you have the budget and time to have the flyer printed professionally. Printing a large amount of flyers professionally can be very good value, and you can be more playful with custom sizes and finishes (e.g. matte or gloss), but printing small batches can be expensive, and might stretch the purse-strings if you’re organising a party for just close friends or family.
If you don’t have a big budget, and only want to print a few copies, it’s probably best to print the flyers at home or in the office. If this is the case, you should be aware that few home printers are able to print to the very edge of the page, so try to accommodate this white border in your design. Printing at home might also influence the size of the flyer, as you’ll need to print at a standard, not custom, size.
Electronic flyers are a great choice for quickly and conveniently circulating your flyers. All you need to do is export the flyer as an Interactive PDF when you’ve finished designing, and attach to emails or upload to a website to share with others. Easy-peasy!
This leads us on to another practical issue to consider, which is the size of your flyer. Flyers come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they do have in common is that they are sized to be handheld. They are larger than cards, which makes them more visible, but smaller than posters, which makes them more tactile and portable.
If you’re printing your flyer professionally, you can choose from a range of custom and standard sizes, just some of which include A6 (148mm x 105mm), A5 (210mm x 148mm), DL Sheet (210mm x 99mm), or Square (such as 148mm x 148mm).
Printing at home? Stick with standard printer sizes, like A5 or A4, to avoid the need to separate or trim flyers after printing.
That’s the practical stuff sorted—let’s get started with the fun stuff, and explore some tips for designing your flyers...
2. Make Type the Focus of Your Flyer
Google ‘flyer designs’ and you’ll almost certainly have a visual heart attack. So many colors, pictures, and ‘look-at-me!’ designs. Flyers are designed to grab your attention, and they all share common features for doing just that. That’s not to say that you should compromise on the quality of the design for the sake of simply catching someone’s eye. You can create something stylish and attention-grabbing, I promise!
One way of keeping the design classy and eye-catching is to make typography the primary focus of the design, just like in this festive flyer design.
A well-chosen typeface, set at large size and in a contrasting color, like in this festive example, won’t fail to catch someone’s eye, and they certainly won’t forget the name of the event.
In terms of type styles, look for fonts in a slab serif (I love Bree Serif) style for a header-appropriate twist on the traditional serif, or script styles for a more elegant look, suited to more formal events (try Great Vibes).
To make the type stand out even more, consider setting the baseline at a slanted angle, like in the festive flyer here (use the Line Tool (\) and Type on a Path Tool [Shift + T] in Adobe InDesign to create a similarly slanted effect).
Or why not add depth to text with drop shadows, embossing effects, gradients or textures? Look to the Effects panel in InDesign (Object > Effects) for a range of cool effects to apply to headers.
3. Want to Add Color? Try Neon...
Color is going to be a hugely important part of your flyer design. The right color combination will set the scene for your event, and give your flyer a strong sense of atmosphere.
Advertising a night-time event? Neon colors look fantastic set against dark backgrounds, and have a retro nightlife vibe.
Using a set of eye-catching neon styles adds an ultra-cool, atmospheric touch to flyer designs.
To recreate neon effects on your design, saturate your text and graphics with color and increase the brightness. Adding a glow effect around the perimeter of text will also give your flyer a lit-up effect. To learn how to apply a neon light effect in Photoshop, check out Rose’s amazing tutorial.
4. ...But Don’t Shy Away from Muted Colors Too!
Daytime, family-friendly or generally more casual events might not suit an in-your-face neon color palette quite as well.
Don’t shy away from using muted colors on your flyers too. Complementary, vintage-inspired swatches can look friendly, calming and stylish. Pulling out some elements in white, such as the border, gift ribbon and text in this vintage-style flyer, can create contrast and stop the design looking too murky.
Team muted colors with retro, 1950s-inspired type styles, like Seren, for a family-friendly style with wide appeal.
5. Use Simple Ribbons and Dividers to Separate Elements
If you don’t want to include a photo or strong graphic on your flyer, and are looking for a special typographic design instead, don’t overlook the transforming effect of ribbons, banners and dividers.
Particularly if you have lots of information on your flyer, like on this typographic flyer, simple elements like ribbons are going to help divide your text up into sections and make it more digestible for the viewer.
You don’t necessarily need to create these graphic elements from scratch—lots of fonts have lovely graphics loaded into their glyph sets. Look for ribbons and banners which you can set behind text in Adhesive Nr Seven, vintage-style graphics from Veneer Extras, and stylish snowflakes and stars from the glyph set offered up by Rhomus Omnilots.
6. Try Vintage Styles for Casual Get-Togethers
Low-key music events and more casual get-togethers probably won’t benefit from having a flyer design bedecked in gold and glitter.
For a more subtle way to advertise your event, get inspired by vintage styles and choose simple chalkboard flyer designs in monochrome. They’re easy to recreate in any software, and look incredibly effective.
Make use of vintage-style serif fonts, borders, elaborate dividers and retro badges and glyphs to recreate the effect. Align type centrally, and use curved, fluid baselines to imitate that authentic vintage look.
Not feeling the vintage style? Take a lesson from this flyer’s colors of choice, and set your flyer design in bold and contrasting black and white. This simple color combination can transform most designs into something elegant and formal, without compromising on visibility and impact.
7. Background Textures Make Designs Look Cooler
Flat designs can look great (see Tip 5, above) but if you want to give your flyer that extra cool factor, you need to think about injecting a bit of grunge into your design. Using texture effects in your layouts is a great way to do this.
Achieving a cool, grungy look isn’t too difficult. Place papery images or textures in the background of your design, and play around with the transparency settings of the elements above to pull some of that texture through. Applying crackly filters and effects to the edges of your flyer, as in the perfectly imperfect example below, will also help to achieve that lived-in look.
Don’t make colors too picture-perfect and bright—a slightly muted filter will give the flyer a cool effect. Team with black-and-white, jaunty photography, uber-cool slab fonts like Bebas, and unconventional angles to make the flyer come alive.
8. Metallics Will Always Look Party-Appropriate
Sometimes all you need is a touch of glamor. If you’re looking to add a touch of luxury to your flyers—perhaps you’re advertising a dinner party, a masquerade or a glam club night—metallics are the way to go.
Gold, silver, copper—you name it—metallics undoubtedly add a luxe touch to flyer designs. You also don’t need to add pricey foiling to your print job to recreate a metallic effect. Check out Rose’s simple tutorial on creating metallic text effects to bring a touch of glamor to your flyer design.
Metallics are naturally attention-grabbing, so they look best set against dark backgrounds, which provide contrast and drama.
Take this masquerade ball flyer as a prime example—the designer knows that the luxurious title is enough to hold the viewer’s attention, so the text is teamed with an inky black background and atmospheric black-and-white photography.
This flyer works really well as it creates a strong sense of atmosphere. Viewers can imagine the event vividly, which makes them more likely to attend, which, after all, is the main purpose of a flyer.
9. Draw Them to the Light...
Imagine people are walking past a wall crammed with flyers, perhaps at your college campus or office break room... how can you make sure people see your flyer?
A simple tip is to create the impression of light on your design. Yup, just as moths can’t resist the glow of a porch bulb, neither can a viewer resist looking at a bright light. Just take a look at this New Year flyer—it's kind of hard to look away, right?
It’s a simple principle, and it doesn’t need to be complicated to create either. What’s clever about this technique is that you need to create the impression of electric, fiery light on a simple 2D printed flyer. Take a look at Alex Beltechi’s tutorial on creating typography with a lit-up effect in Photoshop.
If you’re looking for something a bit simpler, you can apply glow effects and increase the brightness of simple shapes and other elements in InDesign (go to Object > Effects > Outer/Inner Glow) to replicate a lit-up effect in no time.
Contrasting a light source on your design against dark backgrounds and dark text, as in this New Year flyer, only adds further to the lit-up effect, and makes the whole design look 3D and magical.
Try out this effect for night-time events; it’s the perfect choice for advertising after-dark gatherings such as fireworks displays and music gigs.
10. Create a Flyer Campaign
Once you’ve designed your flyer, you need to think about the most important part of the process: distribution. It's not so much of a problem if you’re organising an event for close friends or family. But if you’re hoping to reach a wider audience, you need to think about who is going to be able to see your beautiful flyer.
Sure, print flyers are great for reaching some people—leaving copies with local shops and businesses is a sure-fire way to attract the eye of their customers, and pinning up a copy on noticeboards at colleges, offices and public spaces is also going to work a treat.
But consider expanding your core flyer design into something that can work flexibly across different media. Social media is a great place to expand your event advertising, and it’s simple to lift elements from your flyer and transform them into Facebook-, Twitter- and Instagram-friendly sizes.
Take a look at this New Year flyer design; it would work just as well as a hard-copy flyer as it would for a Facebook cover image.
Think about how you can make your flyer design flexible, ready for adapting to social media. Could you lift the title and date/time details alone and transform them it into a sort of logo? Can you subtly tweak the colors, graphics or layout of your original design to make it more digital-friendly?
If you’re planning a big event, giving your event a branded design, which is consistent across flyers, invitations, posters and social media, will make everything appear more professional and polished. This is a trick used by all sorts of big events, such as music festivals and charity shows, and helps to blend the run-up advertising into the actual event itself.
Top Tips for Awesome Flyers
We’ve covered a number of useful tips here for creating flyers that will knock the socks off your potential audience.
You can refer to this checklist whenever you’re tasked with creating a flyer, and you’ll be sure to create something awesome every time:
- Think about the practicalities of producing your flyer first—what size will it be? Where will you be looking to print it? How many copies do you need to produce?
- Make type the focus of your flyer. Typographic designs catch the eye and look stylish and professional.
- Try out neon for an attention-grabbing color palette, which is perfect for advertising after-dark events...
- ... but don’t dismiss more muted colors either. A vintage-inspired color palette looks great for family-friendly or daytime get-togethers.
- Use simple ribbons and dividers to separate elements on the layout. Explore the glyphs available in some of your favorite fonts, and use banners and badges to split the information on your flyer into manageable sections.
- Try out vintage styles for casual gatherings. Chalkboard designs in black and white look especially eye-catching and are simple to recreate.
- Background textures make flyers look instantly cooler. Try adding grungy textures and faded edges to designs to add a cool edge to flyers advertising gigs or festivals.
- Metallics will always scream ‘party!’. Gold, silver and copper effects look glamorous, luxurious and will make your event appear extra-special.
- Use light to draw the eye. Lit-up effects attract and hold the viewer’s attention and look pretty awesome to boot.
- Develop your flyer design into an online campaign. Adapt your flyer design to social media-friendly sizes and formats to take your event advertising to the next level, and reach more potential attendees than you could reach in print alone.