Thursday 28 February 2013

Leaflet Design Tips

How to design the best Leaflet:

With over 10+ years commercial freelance graphic design experience - I have designed a lot of leaflets in that time, so I am well placed to pass on these leaflet design tips. A lot of my work is now specifically for the design and print of leaflets & flyers, and it's largely due to the success of a specific web-page on my web-site ( through word of mouth and new ciustomers finding me through search engines, my leaflet design and print service just gets more popular as the weeks go by!

Anyway the point of this blog is that I thought I would share some of the knowledge I have gained in this specialised area of leaflet design - to help in other peoples understanding of the thought that should go into creating great looking, engaging and interesting leaflets. If you do also decide to use my Leaflet Design & Cheap Leaflet Printing Services, then bonus! :-)


Top 10 Leaflet Design Tips:

One Youth Dance Leaflet Design Tips, Cheap Leaflet printing, creative
Contemporary creative leaflet design for One Youth Dance

#1. Your leaflet is only as good as your creative brief

Whether you create your own brief, or you fill out one of my tried & tested leaflet briefs, every good leaflet starts with a well thought out brief. This brief should cover essential areas like;

• What size leaflet will best fit your needs? A5? DL (1/3 A4)? etc
• What do you want to achieve with your leaflet? What is the point of it?
• Audience - who will your leaflet be aimed at?
• What do you want your leaflet viewer to do? What will be the main Call To Actions?
Answering all these questions will enable the design, text content & selected imagery to work towards a common goal - and getting the results you need.

spa leaflet design titanic spa, luxury boutique hotel
spa leaflet design for titanic spa, a luxury boutique hotel in yorkshire, england.

#2. AIDA - Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

AIDA is a popular acronym used in marketing that describes a common list of events that should occur when a someone engages with effective marketing material. It is definitely worth bearing in mind when getting together headlines, body text & imagery for a leaflet.

A - Attention (Awareness): which implies you need to attract the attention of your audience. What will appeal to them?

I - Interest: to raise customer interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits, in addition to features

D - Desire: convince your audience that what you are offering is of interest to them and they should keep your leaflet.

A - Action: lead customers towards taking action and doing something

So make sure your leaflet follows the AIDA formula!

#3. Making a good first impression...

Firstly, we've got to understand that there is a lot of marketing stuff out there bombarding us and competing for our attention on daily basis, and for a lot of clients their leaflets are displayed alongside other leaflets. There's a lot of competition in promoting something these days and it's therefore imperative that you make a good first impression with your leaflet. What's more, in todays time-poor world - you've only got around 2 seconds to make that First Impression a positive one and capture the viewers attention. Remember your don't get a second chance to make a first impression! To make a good first impression - there are 2 facets of it - design quality & grabbing attention with a good headline and/or hero image, and you need to use combine to good effect. The next 2 items show you how.

stylish fashion leaflet
Stylish Leaflet For a Fashion Boutique

#4. Why Design Quality Matters

Firstly - the design quality (look & feel) - instantly signifies the quality of a product or service - the quality of your business is being portrayed through your leaflet design. An unprofessional looking leaflet instantly signifies a unprofessional service/business/product being promoted in the leaflet. That's not what any clued-up business owner wants. Most of us already know this, as we get a lot of those cheap & nasty leaflets through the door and chuck them straight in the bin without reading. Often we chuck then in the bin as we just instinctively know through the rubbish poor quality design that it's not a professional and trust-worthy/reputable service we are likely to use - think dodgy cowboy builder or dodgy takeaway service with those big old stock photos of kebabs!

I see a lot of business owners these days trying to get their leaflet designed by the cheapest place out there to save a bit of cash (or even worse - designing their own leaflets - jumping straight into word or publisher - thinking this design lark is a piece of cake), but what they don't know is that by saving a few quid on design costs - they are getting a poorly designed leaflet that in the long term is not going to generate as much interest as a well-designed leaflet. In this respect - you should view the design cost involved in getting a professionally designed leaflet as an investment, not a cost, because a well designed leaflet will get your more interest and business in the long-term.

#5.  Interesting & Engaging Content

As well as the look - the leaflet also needs to have substance - and this substance comes through wise choice of text and imagery, which is chosen to match your communication objectives and appeal to your intended target audience. 

Leaflet Text - Again - what is really going to be of interest to your audience? Get across your value proposition - really sell whats good about what you are offering - people want to know the benefits to them of what it is you are promoting. But as ever when presenting text, remember less is always more, as too much info - i.e. a leaflet that is too text dense - just doesn't look as inviting to read and can put people off. You need to convey your messages with immediacy, brevity and clarity. The copy should not be in bulky paragraphs you need short, sharp statements, bullet points and bold headings.  And remember a little linguistic imagination can really help sell something. e.g. A small venue can offer "an exclusively intimate performance', while an event with a one night run can be "your one and only chance to catch this', when talking about food you can include the words 'delicious', 'scrumptous' - you get the idea!

Leaflet Imagery - We've all heard the saying "pictures tell a thousand words", and with the small space we have on a leaflet - the use of images are a great way to promote your business/service in a small space. As we do not want to overwhelm the reader with your leaflet; the idea is to whet the appetite. And nicely taken (professionally if possible), images are a great way to whet the appetite. They can make your leaflet much more eye catching and break up your text.

With pictures they are also recognisable in an instant as to what they are - so are key to instantly making your audience aware of exactly what it is your leaflet is about. So use images that reinforce your services and are relevant to the text.

Futhermore - we then have the difference between shoddy taken pictures and professionally took or well-taken by an amateur photos. The more professionally taken pics will always show your product/service in a better light - again you can probably relate to this, for instance comparing the seductive photos of a hotel in a glossy travel brochure (which made you want to go in the first place) versus the ones you take your self - which don't seem to quite capture that place in all its glory. So when choosing pics for a leaflet - think quality!

The largest US client I have done design work for is Starwood Hotels & Resorts and the hotel and spa leaflet design above is for one of their best hotels & spas in Hawaii - The Sheraton Waikiki. The idea behind the simple design approach was to let the beautiful professional photos speak for themselves in promoting the quality of the hotel.

#6.  Call to Action

A Call to Action is the means by which a viewer will take further action upon seeing your leaflet - and every leaflet should have a call to action (i.e. a point to the leaflet).

An effective call to action is the linchpin of a successful leaflet and involves drawing together best practice in creative visual design and powerful copy writing. If it is designed right a leaflet designed around an effective Call To Action will generate a real return on investment.

Usually in a leaflet a Call To action at it's basic level is simply a means of clearly listing contact details, whether that is visiting a website, calling a phone number, understanding where a business is physically located, or visiting a Facebook page or a twitter address - or even all of these! If someone is interested in your leaflet - make it easy & clear for them to find out how to get in touch an take action!

But there can be more to it, such as using urgent or benefit-led language around your Call To Actions, all of which encourage viewers to do something. You could even incentivise your leaflet and include a special offer  - which would make it more likely to be kept for future reference - a popular one is xx% off with this leaflet etc. This obviously depends upon what product/service you are promoting. Finally You would also lay out your CTA('s) in a way which gives them adequate design space to allow for easy recognition, whilst also presenting them in a size which again helps with clarity & useability.

#7.  Proof your leaflet. And again.

I can't emphasise the importance of this process. Nothing says amateur like spelling mistakes; it might seem obvious but copy checking should be standard for anything going out to the public - so don't be afraid to proof your leaflet a couple of time - or even get someone else to help you with it. Also it's quiet amateurish to use poor quality, low resolution pixelated pictures - so again check the quality of these. I personally always liase with my clients to ensure all imagery is tip-top!

#8. Printing & Paper Tips

Once you have the design sorted, everything is looking great, reading well - you need to get it printed. The artwork needs to be exported in a print ready version (usually print ready PDF) for the printers, with bleeds crop marks, fonts embedded, correct colour mode etc etc. Spot colours and specialist printing techniques need to be specified to the printers requirements. You also need to think about the paper to be printed on. What finish will fit the design approach? Silk? Gloss? Matt/Uncoated stock? What weight? Bearing in mind the heavier paper costs more, but could signify better quality, but would also make a batch of say 5000 leaflets weigh a lot more (if delivering by hand). Also does it matter if your leaflets flop in the hand or when stood up? Do you need sturdy paper? These care important considerations - so don't be afraid to ask your designer or printer. As part of my one-stop-shop service, I take care of everything from start to finish, by offering a seamless design & cheap leaflet printing service.

#9. You can't beat experience

Being a talented designer is a skill; it's partly innate (some people just have a creative side to them), but it's also learned & developed through experience. This comes from working on a variety of projects, for a variety of clients (international clients to small businesses) and within a variety of industry sectors. I've had over 10+ years commercial design experience, in addition to 5 years college/university training - so I would like to think I'm a pretty good designer. (Forgive me - I'm normally a modest person - but I need to impress you here with my design skills!) It would be impossible to condense my design experience into a few words so someone could easily replicate the quality of leaflets I produce, but I do have some tips, which give you an insight into the thought processes behind designing a leaflet. See below:

#10. General Design Tips

  1. I like to work with & reinforce any brand identity already in existence, and as with any marketing material - it should be consistent across all forms, whether in print on online.  Using a consistent brand identity builds on any previous associations someone may have had with your brand and helps your customer to distinguish and identify your business from the competition. It usually involves making appoint of using your logo, and complimentary colours and fonts to help to get the right message across.
  2.  Less is more. I think that a simple and elegantly layed out leaflet is the best way of helping to capture attention and make it easy for the viewer to understand exactly the leaflet is about and then take action!
  3. Use of Imagery. I'm a big fan of using well-taken photos & seductive imagery - to me a great looking picture is very appealing and instantly gets across key messages. If a client doesn't have any pictures - I have a big stock library which I often draw from.
  4. Core colour palette. Use of colour is great way to attract people - and I'm also a big fan of using colour - but I like to stick to a core colour palette - which compliments the brand - but also gives a distinctive look to the leaflet to help it stand out.
  5. With regards to fonts - I have had a lot of experience working with type - and I know which fonts can help convey a certain message and look, weather that look is stylish, elegant, quality, understated, refined, funky, cutting edge….you get the picture!
  6. It's important for your leaflet to stand out from the crowd and I try to ensure each of my leaflets for a particular brand has a distinctive look - getting the attention your leaflet deserves to ensure you get the results you need.

That just about wraps that blog post up! Hopefully you have found it insightful and informative. If you have any questions about leaflet design or cheap leaflet printing feel free to get in touch.


  1. I'm a designer who gets asked to design leaflets and this blog post has helped thanks

  2. Useful leaflet tips thanks for posting!

  3. Hello Stuart! Thanks for the tips. No wonder your customers are very loyal to you. There's a lot of leaflet printing services today but very few stand out. Your work is an inspiration to others. BTW, I checked out your website. The testimonial section proves your clients adore you. :)

    1. Thanks Amalia for the kind words - I think my leaflet services stand out not only because of the quality of design & print (and the cost) - but also, as you picked up - the client service.

  4. Couldn't agree more Stuart. Keep it up man. Thank you for responding. I really appreciate it.

  5. Thank you very much Stuart for sharing your experience. I am also a new designer and continuously searching for information regarding
    Leaflet printing  and designing. Your tips are really helpful for any person who want to become a leaflet designer. I hope you will provide more information regarding this topic.

  6. This is a wonderful and helpful article, thank you, Stuart!

    1. I'm glad you found it of use Dalia. I see you are a budding visual artist a bit like myself. You might find my full website of interest - It covers a lot of my visual creative work - Freelance graphic design stuff, graphic art, photography etc etc

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Hi Stuart,

    I got some surprise good tips in your post about Leaflet Design. I love to read your post thrice.