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How To Make An Effective Flyer

Updated on March 14, 2017

The simple yet effective flyer. Small business and particularly home based businesses have basically three means of self-promotion; face to face contact with potential customers, word of mouth and a printed piece of paper. Anything more than that and you’ll be looking at costs which may be prohibitive.

Photo used with permission.


It's simple really. A flyer has one aim. To promote your business. And it can do this in a number of ways: tell people what you can do, tell them what they need, tell them what they want or a special offer. Then there's the details; your (business) name and phone number and/or address.

Yet, some people can make a mess of this surprisingly simple concept. How many times has a shonky looking flyer been stuffed into your letterbox. And what happens to them? Straight in the recycle bin or used to start a fire.

It's hard enough to get most people to take their junk mail inside with so many professionally printed brochures turning up every day (Where I live I'm sure they cut down a portion of forest the size of a football field to make the weekly printed advertisements for my letterbox alone).

With some aspiring Desktop Publishers it's a hit and miss affair. They have a computer, they have clipart installed on the hard drive with their wordprocessor (or spent money on a CD ROM crammed packed with it) and they throw every picture and font style they can possibly fit onto the page.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to keep it simple. Keep it to the bare minimum. Don't expound your writing, filling it with extra words to puff up the length of text. The best read words are ones that are well edited (which I've had to do again after hitting publish on this article by changing "one's" to "ones"... which was pointed out to me by an eagle eyed reader who emailed me that correction, thank you Don! :-D ).

No one wants to read mindless drivel. It's annoying.

After you've mastered the art of the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid) you can rise to the next level. And create a flyer that is a powerful weapon.

You've got to do three things!

  • Step one: Get Their ATTENTION

    The use of a big bold HEADLINE. Or perhaps an image. it has to be relevant as well. don’t use a clip art if it’s got nothing to do with the subject. You really are better off paying (or conning) someone artistically inclined than use a clip art that is 1) not quite what you wanted and 2) is available for use by anyone else with the same software. Be creative. Draw something, redraw it, scan it, play with it on your computer and then save it as a WMF (Windows Meta File, the file format of cliparts)

  • Step Two: Create a DESIRE

    Now that you’ve got their attention you have to create some INTEREST. Here you have a few lines or paragraphs to let the prospective customer know what you’ve got and they’ll decide whether they want it. It may be a special offer, something free, a limited time only, a unique selling point, or there’ something about your product or service.

  • Step Three: A Call to ACTION

    Now we go for the ACTION. They have to respond to the ad. So you give them the details of how they can contact you. Your name, your business name, your address and your phone number. Use your business logo (you know how to do it yourself, you read my last article).

Pitfalls To Avoid - The computer is not creative. Only the operator using it.

Now you've got the basic rules let me point out the pitfalls to avoid:

  • Fold a piece of paper in half then half again. Open it. Draw 4 roughs of how you want your flyer to look. Do it quickly, these are not finished bits of art, hence the name 'roughs'. These will give you ideas for layout. Choose the best of the four. Look at what you can improve. Perhaps draw it with a little bit more care and talent. Now take this rough to your computer and use it as a guideline when doing your flyer on your Desktop Publishing package or Word Processor. Too many people lose track of what their objective is, and that's probably because they don't know what it is.
  • Don't use your business name at the top of the flyer. Save it for last (or second last). Whatever is the last thing they read will be the thing that stays in their mind, whether consciously or subliminally.
  • Use a big bold font for the headline. Perhaps you have the fonts Impact or Arial Black already on your system. These are known as sans serifs (sans = without) they don't have the curly bits on the ends of the letters. Or you may choose to use a decorative font (a style that you'd never uses for a body of text) but make sure it's still readable and doesn't take away from the message.
  • For the main body of copy use Times New Roman. This is a serif style font. It has the curly bits at the end. I once had a guy show me his self (mutilated) produced flyer. I suggested he change the font so people might actually be able to read it. Times Roman works for me but he said everybody uses it. Trust me, Times New Roman isn't about to wear out. It isn't a fad, it isn't a trend that's about to go out of style. Alternately you may choose to use Arial. It's clean and crisp. It descended from the Helvetica typeface and it's been around almost as long as Times Roman.
  • Set your font size no smaller than 10 points and no bigger than 14. The human eye is able to read anything between these sizes with ease and speed (unless of course your market is the vision impaired).

What To Know About Artwork


Certain colors do not reproduce in black and white and are unsuitable to supply as art. Generally, dark colors will result in a black image and pale colors will reproduce as a white image. Therefore, a dark color on a dark background will photograph as a solid black area. A pale color on a pale background will not produce an image at all.

Some examples of these color combinations are:

  • Black on Red will be a solid black area
  • Gold on Black will become a solid black
  • Yellow on White will not produce an image
  • Pale to Middle Blue will not produce an image
  • Green and Silver generally reproduce as a 'dirty' grey

Other Considerations

Here are some things to think about...

Don't flog your inkjet printer within an inch of its life. If you're not going to get a printing company to run off a thousand copies then use a photocopier. Some places charge as little as 5 cents a copy. And if you've ever licked something printed on an inkjet (well okay, just wet your finger and try it) you'll see it smudge. So if you're sticking these flyers under windscreen wipers or in letter boxes the owner will find a runny mess of black ink if it rains.

What color should the paper be? Black on white works for me. Don't go out and buy a ream of pink paper just to be different. If you want to be different take some time and research colors and come up with the right ones for your corporate identity.

Size Does Matter. A4 is good if you're sticking it up on a notice board but if it's intended to be handed out or (as mentioned above) sticking under windscreen wipers and stuffed in letterboxes then go A5 or A6. That also means a reduction in cost. Cut your photocopied flyers into halves or quarters. But please, use a guillotine. Nothing looks worse than a cut edge that is hacked or skewed. Presentation is important.

Image campaign

Get the attention

It's not about advertising, marketing or graphic design. It's a combination of all three. You want an 'image' campaign.

Sure you may be announcing that you're a new business, or you've got a special offer, you stress the benefits of your product/service but it all comes back to the same thing: you are selling an image.

When you know what the image is that you want to sell it gets a lot easier. But you have to be conscious of what it is.

Image does not come about by accident. It is thought out and planned. It is developed and maintained. And when used effectively, that's when the rewards will be reaped.

It doesn't take one flyer, brochure or ad. It takes a campaign. But that doesn't mean it has to be costly. Get back to the 'thinking' and 'planning' stage. If you will bring in new business or sell a product more then you would without advertising then it is worth the cost of a campaign.

The Gripping Conclusion

Now before you run off and get all creative and exercise that imagination that I know you all have, consider this. Instead of doing a one off flyer, create a series. Three or four good flyers that stand alone but where you (and others) can see a strong corporate identity linking them. 'Release' them one at a time.

This will not only make you look professional it will reinforce the image you're trying to portray with your business. If you want to be the best you've also got to look your best.

Will you use these tips to create a flyer promoting your Squidoo lens?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      These are excellent points. I will definitely use them. Thank you!

    • LauraCarExpert profile image

      LauraCarExpert 4 years ago

      Simplicity and bullet points!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes I will they are great

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      To the point information. Got what i was looking for. Thank you very much

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      Yes, Thanks for the info it will come in handy the next time I make a flyer.

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      Flyers are still a great marketing tool and I think they always will be.

    • ArslanSultan profile image

      ArslanSultan 4 years ago

      Very informative lens, thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      jura 4 years ago

      It's a good stuff it's not easy to make great flyer.

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      Lots of good information.

    • bluelily lm profile image

      bluelily lm 4 years ago

      Creative flyers with well presented stuffs are not only engaging but also initiates the customer to take action.

    • vinopete profile image

      vinopete 4 years ago

      Thank you. This is very helpful.

    • profile image

      seangeav 4 years ago

      Sounds really good!

    • victoriahaneveer profile image

      victoriahaneveer 4 years ago

      Lots of handy info. Usually the simpler the better on flyers. No one wants to look at something too confusing with too much info on.

    • ManfromModesto LM profile image

      ManfromModesto LM 5 years ago

      People remember the last thing read as part of what is called the "recency effect". The last things on the mental short term platform remain there. There is also a primacy effect- people recall the first things, too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very good tips and I will use it in my up comng leaflets and flyers advert.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great information

    • profile image

      bojansavke 5 years ago

      It seems that Layout index is a good book and available as Kindle edition. Thanks for recommendation.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great tips. Will definitely use! Another thing you could use is Augmented Reality on your flyers - cool, cost-effective but hard-hitting!

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 5 years ago

      Just what I was looking for today! Great lens

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image

      TedWritesStuff 5 years ago

      good tips!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Why not! Thanks for your sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      flyers are be a very effective tool for marketing

    • Freestuffer LM profile image

      Freestuffer LM 5 years ago

      Yeah, simplicity is really the best. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Excellent resources for making an effective flyer. Thanks!

    • profile image

      jgbrew50 5 years ago

      Well done I have been using flyers with huge success for years with my building business (I have even written a book about it on my lens).

    • profile image

      myspace9 5 years ago

      Nice tips and nice lens.

    • homesweethomebi1 profile image

      homesweethomebi1 5 years ago

      This is good information. Thanks so much.

    • ruth-williams lm profile image

      ruth-williams lm 5 years ago

      Great tips here, thanks very much! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great tips!

    • profile image

      myspace9 5 years ago

      Good lens.

    • profile image

      graphicdesignindia 5 years ago

      Good lens ... It will help me to think more in my work...

    • mariasconsulting profile image

      mariasconsulting 5 years ago

      Thanks these are great tips!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I was gave a hobo my ice cream because he looked lonely and hungry :) ....swaggg

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I was have a hobo my ice cream cone because he looked hungry :/

    • profile image

      davidpw-two 5 years ago

      Also, you should ask a few questions to focus your flyer: what do you want to say? What do you want to achieve. This helps to focus and avoid confused clutter in images and words.

    • grahamcox lm profile image

      grahamcox lm 5 years ago

      Excellent lens - very helpful!

    • IssacAlouf profile image

      IssacAlouf 5 years ago

      Eggcellent resource here... thanks! These tips definitely will help me make this flyer I've been working on.

    • nolinel lm profile image

      nolinel lm 5 years ago

      Great tips - I wish the computer was more creative. :-)

    • profile image

      AlexBPearl 5 years ago


    • profile image

      VladimirasRiabcevas 5 years ago

      Great tips...

    • DanielKV profile image

      DanielKV 5 years ago

      Great tips, thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great lens, squidliked, +1

    • profile image

      StephenObrion 5 years ago

      Definitely will!

    • VivianAldana LM profile image

      VivianAldana LM 5 years ago

      Good tips...great lens!

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Excellent tips and resources shared here. Thanks so much. Very helpful.

    • profile image

      kgdunst 5 years ago

      Maybe. Thanks for the tips.

    • profile image

      FreddieHanger 5 years ago

      Yes I will! It was very helpful and exactly what I was looking for :)

    • profile image

      donpenton 5 years ago

      Good deal! I was just making a flyer today and this helped find something to revise. I forgot to spice it up.

    • businessb2b profile image

      businessb2b 5 years ago

      Great tips - how to make an effective flyer. i read and bookmarked.

    • profile image

      inspirationz 5 years ago

      Helpful and easy to understand - awesome lens!

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 5 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      What a great idea! I'll bet it would get attention, that is for sure!

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 5 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      Great tips for making a flyer.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great lense

    • profile image

      oakstreet 5 years ago

      very useful len for business promotion. I "like" it.

    • lezsaysit lm profile image

      lezsaysit lm 5 years ago

      I'm glad that I read this Lens!

    • profile image

      allmysonsjacksonville 5 years ago

      You're right. Sometimes we can make a mess out of something so simple. THat you for the tips!

    • lsfinancial profile image

      lsfinancial 5 years ago

      Great lens. I will use some of these tips in my next flyer

    • profile image

      DMVAgent 5 years ago

      I learned a lot from this.

    • steph-naylor profile image

      steph-naylor 5 years ago

      Just the lens I was looking for - thank you

    • cliffhpowell profile image

      cliffhpowell 5 years ago

      very informative article. knowing how to make a flyer that stands out is important

    • profile image

      mavonne17 5 years ago

      Roughs are a good idea. I've spent plenty of time staring at a blank sheet or screen.

    • profile image

      lcl1967 5 years ago

      Thanks for the info. I did not know about the inkjet smudging so will have to go careful there. Very informative article I liked the part about company image.

    • Lawguy22 profile image

      Lawguy22 5 years ago

      Great lens. Adobe Illustrator is actually really easy to use. It just takes a few hours to get used to. There are lots of free tutorials online though.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      No, but I'll use these tips to create a new set of flyers for my partner's new CD!

    • profile image

      Matt_Lowe 5 years ago

      Like you said, many people want to focus on their business name as big as possible. I suppose this is for the sake of their own ego's. It's copywriting 101 stuff. I like how you kept it simple and to the point.Thanks!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      Nice and concise. You dispense helpful info.

    • profile image

      googlesniperfreetraffic 5 years ago

      Thank you for the great information, this is Exactly how to....

    • cstrouse lm profile image

      cstrouse lm 5 years ago

      Another thing that I've seen work is printing on odd-sized paper so that it sticks out in the mail pile. Oh, and I'm not going to use print for promoting lenses because I doubt it would be very effective.

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      Thank you for all of the ideas! I make flyers at work all of the time!

    • profile image

      kanzelm3 5 years ago

      Great lens man! I liked that you mentioned something about colors. People don't realize it, but choosing the right colors can make or break a call-to-action. You touched on what colors not to use, but I recently wrote a hub about web design tips, and I mention colors that work well for getting users to take action. So, if you are interested, it is called 5 Web Design Tips for 2012. Go check it out and let me know what you think!

    • profile image

      ChrisClark1 5 years ago

      This is a great help to many online and offline advertisers. Thanks

    • profile image

      sandi_x 5 years ago

      there are some great tips, thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Yes! I've been looking for days and this was by far the most complete information for free. thank you!

    • profile image

      TheMotionCrafters 5 years ago

      Yes I will use all the tips excellent working on my flyer as we speak or as i speak.

    • profile image

      expertseofrance 5 years ago

      thanks for the great tips man!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks, nice read.

    • Michelle Hogan profile image

      Michelle Hogan 5 years ago

      good lense but though I have lived by all these recommendations, only a small percentage of response can ever be expected. The best way to maximize your message's response is to target it to your specific market as best you can.

    • EAM1414 profile image

      EAM1414 5 years ago

      well thought out lens!

    • profile image

      EmergencyPrepar 5 years ago

      Great information. Thanks for sharing on your lens.

    • profile image

      freshAPS 5 years ago

      Great promotion lens. This is going to be very useful when we try to market our blog and business. Good job keep up the good work!

    • profile image

      purpleslug 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for this great information. I needed the know how to promote my glass business.

    • profile image

      tradefollowr 5 years ago

      Flyers often look simple but are not that easy to pull off. Thanks for the great tips.

    • bohica96 profile image

      bohica96 5 years ago

      I just used your advice to help my son make a "Power Washing" flyer for his summer employment. Thanks!

    • xriotdotbiz lm profile image

      xriotdotbiz lm 5 years ago

      Appreciate the focus on the headline, need to grab attention and build desire.

    • AlexTedford profile image

      AlexTedford 5 years ago

      Awesome lens! Very helpful. I will definitely be referring back to this lens for help on the next business flyer I make.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very important tips especially keeping it simple to draw attention and curiosity to get the to check out more.

    • makemoneyonline5 profile image

      makemoneyonline5 5 years ago

      Fantastic information thank you for sharing

    • Peta Panos profile image

      Peta Panos 5 years ago from Norway

      wonderful and informative lens - Thank-you!

    • profile image

      PCInkcouk 5 years ago

      I'll be testing at least one of the ideas soon and seeing if the response rate increases.

    • profile image

      OctavioMelesio 5 years ago

      thanks for this information, necessary to promote my offline business... I like it your lens

    • HSP Connections profile image

      Peter Messerschmidt 5 years ago from Port Townsend, WA, USA

      Some useful info here! I spent many years doing creative work for flyers and newsletters for businesses... and always aad the hardest time convincing clients that (usually!) less is more.

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

      Thanks for this informative lens full of helpful design tips. ~~Blessed~~

    • RusticWeddingGu1 profile image

      RusticWeddingGu1 5 years ago

      Thank you for the informative information. We will implement it into our business plan

    • profile image

      RJDubya 5 years ago

      Sure will - am re- editing my flyer for my business as we speak :)

    • spellbindingsis profile image

      spellbindingsis 5 years ago


    • WebdesignErfurt1 profile image

      WebdesignErfurt1 5 years ago

      thanks for the tips

    • profile image

      NC Shepherd 5 years ago

      I work at a print shop, too. My two cents: if you're creating a piece that is to be cut down, let the professionals set up the art, especially if you are wanting the printing to bleed off the edge. Unless, of course, you want it to look crappy...then by all means, have at it. (you guessed it -- I operate the cutter and hate having to fudge customer art to make it look decent.)

    • profile image

      Tamara14 5 years ago

      Great tips here. In fact it's all rather simple yet so easy overlooked or many people overdo it with too much of everything on the flyer. Same with websites and lenses here at Squidoo. Thank you for pointing out how planning is actually important.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Great guidelines for making a good flyer. I used to do desktop publishing and serif fonts are definitely easier to read than sans serif. Simple is best.

    • profile image

      fish-oil-expert 5 years ago

      I like the copywriting tips. I'll try this out!