Avoid these mistakes when making your next flyer

Even in the digital world that we’re now living in, there are certain types of marketing collateral that are always going to be valuable – and the flyer is one of them. Flyers are great because they’re an excellent way to quickly convey important information in a way that also relies heavily on the benefits of visual communication. They’re naturally timely and relevant and are often actionable as well.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t use this format incorrectly. In fact, that’s easier to do than you might think.

In fact, there are a few key mistakes that you’ll probably run into when making your next flyer that you should certainly try to avoid at all costs.

Your Flyer Isn’t Digestible

By far, one of the biggest mistakes that you can make when designing a flyer involves either including too much information, or too much of the wrong information – thus creating a confusing and otherwise off-putting experience for everyone involved.

As is true with so many other forms of visual communication, “less is more” in the case of a solid flyer. Anything that doesn’t have to be expressed in words shouldn’t be, especially if a picture or even a graph will convey the message just as clearly.

But a flyer, at its core, is designed to be short and offer bursts of essential information – it shouldn’t be a piece of paper with 300 words of prose on it. Likewise, if you do include a great deal of text on your flyer, make sure that you’re actually including the right information in the first place.

When you sit down to create your next flyer with a tool like Visme (which I founded), think about your message in terms of “who, what, where, why and when.” That is literally all the information that should be present – if you start to have ideas that go beyond that, you’re probably not trying to create a flyer. You’re trying to create something like a presentation or a blog post without realizing it.

Then, take those principles and write them out as succinctly as possible. Use as little text as possible to get those ideas across in a clear, concise way. At that point, look at what you have and see what you can totally remove altogether – if you can replace the “where” with an image of your store, or with an image of a local event venue or something of that nature, you should.

Make sure that whatever text is left isn’t clumped together in massive blocks of information – everything should be shorter and broken up, making it easier to read.

Your Flyer Isn’t Actionable

Part of the reasons why flyers are so successful is that they’re short, sweet and too the point – but they’re rarely ever supposed to offer a complete experience in their own right. Instead, they’re supposed to get people interested enough in whatever it is you have to say to motivate them to take your desired next step.

So if you don’t actually provide those next, actionable steps, obviously you’re looking at a problem that you would want to avoid.

It’s true that some types of events are going to be self-explanatory – but others won’t be. Think about a flyer the same way you would a landing page for your website. Tell people clearly what you want them to do and how to do it and, more often than not, they will.

You’re Too Hung Up on Design

Finally, one of the most important rules of successful flyer creation is the idea of “function over form.” The best-designed flyer in the world ultimately won’t generate the results that you need if it meanders too much, if it gets lost in its own style or if it doesn’t actually offer anything of substance.

Don’t let the fact that you no longer need to be a designer to create the perfect flyer get in the way of the fact that you still have something to say. The core message that your flyer is built around is something that needs to be preserved at all costs. Anything that gets in the way – up to and including the actual visual design portion of it – is working against your goal, not for it.

Make sure the message is crystal clear and then think about everything else. Even if your flyer isn’t necessarily as “visually striking” as you wanted it to be, never forget that the message is all that matters. Over-design is death – period.


About the Author

Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.