In this tutorial we’ll use Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator to put together a fun festive flyer with a vintage look. Perfect for promoting office parties or other holiday events, this flyer has a strong typographic design that’s not difficult to create even if you’re a beginner to the software.
Ready for some festive fun? Fabulous, let’s get started!
What You’ll Need for the Tutorial
To recreate the design, you’ll need to download the following images and font files. Place the images in an easy-to-find folder and install the font.
1. How to Set Up a Flyer in InDesign
Before we dive into creating graphics and type for our flyer, it’s important to set up the basic design and put together some of the foundation elements of the layout, such as background color and texture. To start, we’ll be using Adobe InDesign, so get the program opened up, and we’ll go from there.
In InDesign go to File > New > Document. Keep the Intent set to Print, Number of Pages to 1, and deselect Facing Pages.
From the Page Size drop-down menu, choose Flyer 8.5x11, or manually type in the Width as 215.9 mm and Height as 279.4 mm. Reduce the Margins to 10 mm in diameter, and add a Bleed of 3 mm to all edges of the page.
Click OK to create the new document.
Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and double-click on the Layer 1 name to open the Layer Options window. Rename the layer Paper and click OK.
Select the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) from the Tools panel on the left side of the workspace, and click and drag onto the page to create a new image frame that extends up to the edge of the bleed.
Go to File > Place, navigate to the Paper Texture image, and click Open. Click on the Fill Frame Proportionally button on the Controls panel at the top of the workspace to ensure the image fills the frame completely.
Return to the Layers panel and click on the Create new layer button at the bottom of the panel. Double-click on the layer to rename it Background Color. Click OK, and then lock the Paper layer below.
Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and click on the New Swatch button at the bottom of the panel.
Name the swatch Gold, and set the Type to Process and Mode to CMYK. Set the levels to C=2 M=36 Y=71 K=25, and click OK.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a new rectangle shape on the page, which also extends up to the bleed edge. From the Swatches panel, set the Fill of the rectangle to Gold.
With the rectangle selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency. From the Mode menu, choose Overlay, and reduce the Opacity to 50%.
Lock the Background Color layer and create a new layer above it, naming it Gradient. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a new rectangle shape that extends from the top of the page to about three quarters of the way down.
Create a new CMYK swatch from the Swatches panel. Set the levels to C=72 M=8 Y=10 K=13, and name it Ice Blue. Apply the Ice Blue swatch to the Fill of the rectangle.
Select the rectangle and go to Object > Effects > Gradient Feather. Move the dark, left-hand gradient stop towards the halfway point of the slider, and adjust the gradient’s Angle to 90 degrees.
Click on the Transparency option at the top of the window’s left-hand menu, and set the Mode to Hard Light. Reduce the Opacity to 78% and click OK.
Go to File > Save As and save your InDesign document with a memorable name, something like ‘Office Party Flyer.indd’, and then minimize the InDesign window. We’ll be coming back to this soon.
2. How to Create a Silhouetted Image
Now that we have the layout of our flyer sorted out, we’re ready to start thinking about the creative elements of the design. And what could be more festive than a reindeer silhouette?! We’ll use the deer in a forest photo as the basis for creating this, so make sure you have it downloaded.
Open up the deer image in Adobe Photoshop. In the Layers panel (Window > Layers) drag the Background layer down onto the Create a new layer button to duplicate it. Switch off the visibility of the background layer.
Go to Select > Color Range.
Click onto one of the lightest parts of the deer, either the antlers or ears, and then increase the Fuzziness level to about 145 to pick up the whole deer silhouette more strongly.
Add a new Levels Adjustment Layer, and move the sliders to increase the whiteness of the selected area of the image.
With the contrast in the image now more exaggerated, it will be easier for us to separate the deer silhouette from the background of the photo.
Use the Lasso Tool (L) to trace roughly around the left side of the deer, working around the antler and then sectioning off the left area of the background.
Click on the Refine Edge button at the top of the workspace, and play around with the sliders to make the selection really tight to the silhouette of the deer.
Click on Smart Radius and add a Smooth value of about 2 to make the edge less sharp.
When you’re happy with the selection, click OK, and then hit Delete to get rid of the selected background.
Repeat the process, marking out the next section of background with the Lasso Tool (L) and using the Refine Edge function to make it more accurate. Then hit OK, and Delete the selection.
Continue to work around the edge of the reindeer silhouette (we only need to be able to trace the head and neck of the deer, so don’t worry about the bottom part of the background), deleting sections as you go.
Use the Lasso Tool (L) or Magic Wand Tool (W) to pick out any background sections that might remain around the silhouette and refine and delete them.
When you’re happy with the silhouette, click back onto the Levels Adjustment Layer we created earlier.
We’ll be moving this image over into Illustrator for tracing, so it’s important that we make the silhouette as dark and bold as possible to get the best tracing result. Pull the Levels sliders to the opposite direction, making the whole image much darker and almost completely silhouetted.
Then head up to File > Save As and save the image as a PSD file.
Minimize Photoshop and open up Adobe Illustrator. Create a new document.
Go to File > Place, choose the PSD image, and click Open. With the image selected, go to Window > Image Trace.
Adjust the Mode to Black and White, and then check the Preview box at the bottom of the window to view the tracing effect. Move the sliders around until you’re happy with the result. You want a strong silhouette, but you also want to preserve some of the details of the edge, like fur and antler imperfections, to make the result look interesting. Check the Ignore White box, and then exit the Image Trace window.
With the traced image selected, go to Object > Image Trace > Expand.
Right-Click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac) > Ungroup, and then select and delete the background of the traced image so that only the silhouette remains.
Select the black silhouette, and then head up to the Brush Definition drop-down menu at the top of the workspace. Click on the Brush Libraries Menu button > Artistic > Artistic_ChalkCharcoalPencil.
Add a black stroke around the edge of the silhouette, setting it in the Pencil brush and increasing the Weight of the stroke to 1.5 pt.
Then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke.
Open the Pathfinder window (Window > Pathfinder) and click on the Unite button to merge the stroke with the bulk of the silhouette, creating one solid vector shape.
With the silhouette still selected, go to the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) and adjust the Fill color of the shape from Black to White.
Head up to File > Save As and save the image as an Illustrator file.
Return to your InDesign document and lock the Gradient layer. Create a new layer above and name it Reindeer.
Take the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) and drag onto the page to create a large image frame. Go to File > Place, choose the Illustrator image, and hit Open.
Double-click inside the image frame to directly select the image, and resize it using Shift to retain the proportions. Allow the deer to fill up almost the whole of the page, leaving a small amount of space at the top.
3. How to Incorporate Typography Into a Flyer Design
The typography for this flyer is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle! We’ll be fitting text in the gaps between the antlers to create a dense type effect towards the top of the flyer.
Lock the Reindeer layer and create a new layer above it, naming it Typography 1. Keeping all the different items of text on separate layers will make it easier to tweak individual parts of the design.
Go to the Swatches panel and create a new CMYK swatch, C=73 M=11 Y=10 K=9, and name it Blue.
Take the Type Tool (T) and drag onto the page, creating a small frame between the innermost points of the deer’s antlers. Type in ‘eat’ and, from either the Character window (Window > Type & Tables > Character) or the Formatting Controls panel at the top of the workspace, set the Font to Le Paris, and set the Font Size to about 90 pt. From the Swatches panel, set the Font Color to Blue.
Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste the text frame, positioning it below the first. Edit the text to read ‘drink’. Size the text so that it seems to slot in perfectly with the text above. This technique takes a bit of practice, but keep resizing the font and adjusting the position of the text frame to get it just right.
Continue to Copy and Paste text frames, placing each new word or character (e.g. exclamation marks) in its own text frame and adjusting the text to read the phrase ‘eat drink and be very merry!’. Adjust the Font Size and text frame positions to get it all slotting together really well.
Create a new layer, called Typography 2.
Zoom into the top-left corner of the page and Paste another text frame. Adjust the Font Color to [Paper] and edit the text to read ‘come’. Copy and Paste a second text frame, reading ‘along’. Allow a bit of these frames to sit over the trim edge of the page, onto the bleed.
Continue to build up the text, so that it reads ‘come along and join in the festive fun!’.
Create a new layer, called Typography 3. Then create a new CMYK swatch, C=53 M=52 Y=70 K=53, and name it Dark Green.
Move over to the right side of the page and Paste a new text frame. Set the Font Color to Dark Green. This is the perfect place to type up the location of the event and a contact address.
Open the Glyphs panel (Window > Type & Tables > Glyphs) and create a new text frame, double-clicking on the hyphen symbol to insert it in the text frame, before setting it in Le Paris, Dark Green.
Go to Type > Create Outlines to transform the hyphen into a vector shape, making it easier to scale and stretch or compress.
You can use this shape to fill space and highlight certain parts of the text.
Create another new layer, naming it Typography 4. Continue to Paste more text frames onto the layout, setting the text of these in the Gold swatch you created at the start of the tutorial. Position the text frames over on the left side of the flyer. Fill in the text content with info about the entertainment, food, and other features of the event.
Add more text frames onto the Typography 4 layer, set in Gold, filling up some of the space remaining on the right side of the flyer.
Fill up any smaller gaps between parts of the antlers with small items of text.
On a new layer, Typography 5, add more text set in Dark Green above the head of the reindeer. Describe the time the event starts.
Add in the day and date in Dark Green at the top left of the flyer.
Return to other layers to add even more text, filling all the gaps between the antlers.
The important thing to do is to make sure key info, like date, place and time, are set in the bolder Dark Green color.
Eventually you’ll have filled the top half of the flyer with typography—fantastic work, it’s very nearly there!
4. How to Add a Texture Overlay to Your Flyer
Our final task is to add a subtle texture overlay to the layout. Texture will help give the flyer a more vintage, on-trend look and will make the whole design feel more professional.
Minimize the InDesign window for a moment.
Open up the Brushed Grunge Texture vector file in Illustrator.
Delete the white background of the image, retaining just the black texture. Set the Fill color of the texture to White.
File > Save As the texture as an Illustrator file.
Return to your InDesign document and create a new layer, naming it Texture.
Take the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) and create a new image frame that extends across the whole page. Go to File > Place, choose your texture Illustrator file, and click Open.
Arrange the image inside the frame so that it covers the whole page without obscuring any of the text or deer silhouette too much.
With the image frame selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency. Set the Mode to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 60%. Click OK.
And there we have it! Your flyer design is complete, amazing work! All that’s left to do is export it ready for printing or sharing online.
Go to File > Export. Give the file a name, and choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format drop-down menu (if you’re going to circulate your flyer online or over email, choose Adobe PDF (Interactive) instead). Click Save.
In the Export to Adobe PDF window that opens, choose [Press Quality] from the Preset drop-down menu at the top of the window.
Click on the Marks and Bleeds option in the window’s left-hand menu. Check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. Click OK to create your print-ready PDF. You can send this off to any professional print shop for printing.
Conclusion: Tips for Creating Great Flyer Designs
Flyers may be small, but they don’t need to lack impact. A well-designed flyer is a cost-effective way of drawing in an enthusiastic crowd to your event. In this tutorial, we’ve created a festive office party flyer using Adobe software, and picked up some useful tips and tricks for creating effective flyers. You now know how to:
- Set up a flyer layout in Adobe InDesign, and layer up color and gradients for an attractive backdrop.
- Create a striking silhouette image using Photoshop and Illustrator.
- Use a lettering typeface to create a dense typographic design.
- Apply a texture overlay to add a final vintage touch to the flyer.
Whatever your event, this four-step process is a great basis for any flyer design, and will guarantee a high-impact result every time.