How to Design a Flyer that Sells

  1. What’s the One thing

It may sound obvious to some, but it’s shocking how many business owners (and designers) skip this vital step. Your starting point to a flyers that turns readers into customers is to have a clear view on what you want to achieve. I mean, if you don’t know, how can you expect Mr Perfect Customer to figure it out either?

And part of that planning process is to concentrate on just ONE THING.

I see it all the time. A business owner creates a flyer – and then screws it up by trying to say everything and instead of a well-honed marketing piece, they create a cluttered, confusing mess that has the visual impact of a rotten tomato. YUCK!

  1. Plan your priorities

Once you’re clear on the ONE THING you want to focus on, you can start getting creative. And that’s the fun bit

But wait! Before you get carried away with layouts and images I need to make a really important point. So listen up! One of the BIGGEST (and most consistent) mistakes a lot of designers make is creating “pretty” design rather than design that sells.

And let me tell you there’s a BIG difference…

Pretty may look good – but if your key objective is to persuade a customer to part with their cash, it’s more important your flyer design contains the following proven design conventions. BUT that does not mean it can look budget and un-pro. You CAN have BOTH. You deserve a great looking flyer that sells. (Phew, I’m glad I got that off my chest!)

  1. Head first

Please resist the temptation to put anything else on the page until you’ve positioned your headline in poll position – that’s across the first line in the middle of the top 2 thirds of the page.

Once you’ve got the position right, the next thing is to check the…

  • Spacing: Do the gaps between the individual words and letters work in favour of readability?
  • Font: Is the headline clear and easy to read?  (By the way, just don’t use comic sans – it screams, “I’m an amateur”).
  • Colour: Do the words stand out? (white on black is great for high impact contrast BUT it’s hard to read – FACT).
  1. Say it again

Your heading is super important but it’s just a lead into the next line, all your copy should be structured to lead into the next point. So make sure you have a clear and easy to follow sub-head which sits under your headline. It’s a good idea to choose a contrasting font as this instantly ensures readers can tell the difference between the two. For example:

  • Try a sans serif headline along with a hand font sub header OR
  • A slab serif header and a thin sans serif sub head.


And if you want a bit more inspiration on font usage, take a look at my Font Porn Collection… It’s hot stuff!

  1. Give it some CTA

So your reader likes what you’re offering and is keen to take the next step – this is where your Call To Action comes in…

For maximum impact you’ll want to position those all important how to buy instructions under your main content but above the footer zone. An easy way to get it right is to imagine your flyer in 3 zones and then position your CTA at the top of the lower third, towards the right. Simples.

  1. Make yourself easy to contact

Don’t forget your contact details! And I’m not joking. I‘ve seen great flyers with absolutely NO contact details. Nothing. Not even a tiny url somewhere hidden in the depths!

It means all that hard work of crafting your message, choosing the perfect font and ensuring your colour scheme attracts masses of new customers is completely pointless.

Be it a website, telephone number or address; make sure you have at least one of those screaming off the page.

  1. What Hierarchy

The body copy should reveal the finer details of your offer. And a good way for readers to see, at a glance, the order in which your message should be read is to vary the font size. In practice this means your headline should be the largest font size, then your sub-head and finally your main body.

And here’s another tip… avoid the temptation to clutter up your page by trying to pack in too much information. Remember, white space is easy on the eye and therefore a very good thing.

  1. Message over Logo

No I didn’t forget your logo. It’s this far down the list because your logo is not as important as you think when it comes to creating flyers that sell.

Now I know most people are tempted to place BIG logos in the main position. But in terms of selling they’ve got it wrong. You see NO ONE cares who you are – they’re only interested in how your offer will benefit them. It means a big logo is a big distraction that will detract attention from your sales message. So instead relegate your logo to the bottom of the page. And I dare you, make it smaller…

  1. Pick the right Image

It’s always best to use your own images. And with the quality of smart phone cameras there’s really no excuse for NOT creating a gallery of original images to use in your design work.

If you do need to use a stock library, approach with caution. Stock images tend to be clichéd and yes, your customer will spot them a mile off! So instead, think laterally and choose something your audience wouldn’t necessarily expect (for example, a business flyer doesn’t have to come complete with a grey-suited smiley business woman clutching a briefcase!

Finally, don’t underestimate the difference a semi transparent colour box can have in transforming a dull image. Give it a try!

  1. Do the Shuffle!

Great stuff. You now have all the ingredients to a sizzling hot flyer and the final thing to do is tidy up…

  • Check the layout. Does the message flow logically from start to finish?
  • Is there enough white space to ensure the message isn’t too cluttered.
  • Have you left some margins to ensure your reader’s eyes naturally focus on the centre of your page?

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