Flyers are the perfect way to promote an event, offer or business. And with the holiday season upon us, there’s never been a better time to work on your flyer design skills.
If you’re new to print design, it can be tricky to know where to get started. Here we look at the software options for creating flyers. Read on to find out which program is going to be best suited for creating your next flyer design.
While it’s tempting to dismiss Word out of hand, it’s actually a really versatile program for creating simple flyer designs. Particularly if you need to create something quickly and print from the office, Word can be a handy option.
Although in many ways Word is much more limited than publishing software like InDesign, it still has many of the tools and features you need to create an effective flyer design, such as advanced text-formatting options and flexibility in page layout.
Top Tip: To make the most of Word’s interface, try setting your text inside text boxes to give you maximum flexibility in how text can be placed on the page.
Pros: Easy to access; cost-effective; easy to share files with colleagues
Cons: Very basic interface and functionality; not optimised for print design
For many designers, Photoshop is their first introduction to Adobe applications. For good reason too—it’s arguably easier and quicker to get to grips with than other Adobe apps, and has a sophisticated collection of tools and options to help you achieve a wide range of effects.
Photoshop isn’t limited to photo editing as it also works fantastically for creating print design layouts. Although multi-page documents like books are much trickier to put together in canvas-based software like Photoshop, single-page documents like flyers and posters are well suited to the program.
In most aspects, flyer designers won’t have any issues with creating their layouts using Photoshop. However, there are a couple of things to be aware of before you start designing.
Firstly, you will have to manually add a bleed to your Photoshop canvas. To do this, go to Image > Canvas Size, and add the bleed width to the canvas. You will have to add twice the bleed width for the height, and twice for the width, to add an equal bleed around the whole edge.
You should also ensure that you’re working within the correct color space in Photoshop. The default mode in Photoshop is RGB, which is better suited for digital work. Go to Image > Mode and choose CMYK to optimise your design for print.
Pros: Arguably the most intuitive of the Adobe Creative Suite applications; can be adapted to create print design layouts
Cons: Bleed width needs to be taken into account; need to ensure you’re working within the correct colorspace
Learn how to make a flyer in Photoshop in our free course. Watch Melody Nieves walk you through every step in making a stylish music festival flyer from scratch.
While vector programs like Illustrator are perfect for creating scaleable vector designs, they can also be adapted for creating one-page layouts for print, including flyers.
If your flyer includes mostly vector graphics, such as logos, and text, Illustrator will be a good choice. On export, your flyer will be crisp and clear, without any pixelation.
Compared to Photoshop, Illustrator also offers more sophisticated print design specs, including bleed setup options. To add a bleed to your Illustrator artboard, go to File > Print. Select Marks & Bleed on the left side of the Print window. From here, you can set the bleed width for the artboard.
Pros: Good for creating vector-based designs; works seamlessly with other Adobe applications
Cons: Not optimised for creating layouts for print; limited typography functionality
Designers have been waiting for a decent rival to market-leading publishing program InDesign (see below), and Affinity Publisher may just be the budget-friendly option that could finally offer some serious competition for Adobe.
Publisher is ideally suited for creating print media, such as flyers and posters. With an advanced yet intuitive interface, you can create a wide range of effects and styles for your flyer, as well as format typography to a professional standard. It also matches InDesign for print specs, with the ability to add a bleed and printer’s marks and to work within a CMYK color space.
Although currently only available in beta mode, the full version is slated for release later this year.
Pros: Good-value alternative to InDesign (see below) with much of the same functionality
Cons: Arguably more limited than InDesign
While many designers transitioned from the original publishing program, Quark, to InDesign some years ago, there still remains a devoted following for QuarkXPress.
Quark has a simple, intuitive interface which makes it great for print design beginners. It offers much of the same functionality as InDesign and Publisher. Only advanced users will miss some of the more sophisticated tools and functions on offer in InDesign.
Pros: Easy-to-use interface which is great for print design beginners
Cons: More limited in functionality than Affinity Publisher and InDesign
Arguably, we’ve left the best program for creating flyers until last on our list. Adobe InDesign is the market leader in publishing software, and despite rivalry from Affinity, it still remains, for many designers, unbeatable.
Offering users advanced control over print design specs, typography, and images, as well as a comprehensive effects panel for adding gradients, transparencies, and other filters, InDesign is the designer’s choice for creating pro-standard flyers. The preflight function also ensures your exported artwork will be flawless.
The downside? InDesign doesn’t come cheap and is subscription-based, which may not suit everyone.
Pros: Market-leading publishing software with sophisticated interface and functionality; fully optimised for print design; advanced export options for printing
Cons: Expensive; not immediately intuitive for complete beginners
And Don’t Forget... Templates
Templates are a quick and handy way to get started with creating a flyer. It’s easy to switch up color, fonts, and images for a completely unique look too.
While learning how to create flyers from scratch is a useful skill for any budding designer, sometimes you just need a good-looking flyer pronto. Templates have the hard work done for you—with layers, masters, and grids already established, you can spend more time getting creative.
Templates don't have to be pricey. There are lots of free software apps, which allow you to adapt flyer templates online, such as Placeit.
Conclusion: What's the Best Program for Flyer Design?
As we've discussed, you can use many different programs to create flyer designs. While publishing software like Affinity Publisher or InDesign might be finely tuned for creating advanced print designs, Photoshop, Illustrator and template-based apps like Placeit can also offer designers a wide range of tools for designing pro-standard flyers.
Every designer has their preferred software of choice, so whether you prefer using Photoshop, InDesign, or even Word, you'll always create your best design work in a software you feel most comfortable with using.
If you want to polish up your flyer design skills, make sure to check out our free short course, How to Make a Flyer.
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