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How to Create a Flyer


Holding Flyers
Image courtesy of InCase

The simple flyer is actually a very effective way to capture the attention of the consumer. Whether it's for a new business, a product launch, or something as basic as selling your car or having a garage sale, the flyer has real power…IF it's done correctly.

David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising, famously promoted the opening of a hotel using just $500 to print a stack of postcard invitations. The hotel opened with a full house. If you think creatively, a flyer can be one of the best tools in your arsenal. But it must have impact or you will see your hard work littering the sidewalks of the city.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 1-8 hours

Here's How:

  1. First, write down everything you want to say about what you’re advertising. A sketch pad is your friend. Put it all down on paper, and see what happens when words collide. You need to spill your ideas onto the sheet and this can lead to ideas that will intrigue and stand out.

  2. Look over all of your ideas and let them sink in. It often helps at this point to step away and work on something else, and let your subconscious work on it.

  3. Got a great headline, or a killer idea? Now it needs to be executed well. Think about paper stock. Is it a certain color? Or texture? Can it use scratch-offs, special inks or smells? Is it even printed on paper at all? Here are a few ways you can make something simple stand out:

    • Print a hardware store sale flyer on the back of sandpaper
    • Offering basement remodels? Try printing on old wallpaper samples.
    • Toy store opening? Fold the flyers in the shape of a paper plane or hat.
    • Selling golf lessons? How about making a flyer that looks like a golf ball has smashed the window of a car, and leave your flyer on car windshields.
    • New café? Print your flyers on paper napkins.
  4. Next, write and design the flyer. If you’re using a method like those listed above, it should be simple. The medium is the message. So, a simple, bold headline with a few lines of copy and a phone number or address will suffice. If your idea is only going to work on regular paper, think about graphics that add to the idea. Maybe you can make the paper look like something else, like a menu or a clipping from a newspaper. Remember, you MUST capture attention, most people take flyers and throw them away without reading them. People are busy, reward them for reading.

  5. If you have a great offer, push it. There’s no shame in doing something as simple as a big headline stating your offer, or turning your flyer into a giant coupon. Being creative is great, but 75% off is hard to beat.

  6. Find a printer and start the negotiations. When you have your files print-ready (which may take the services of a graphic designer if you don’t have the skills) and you have your paper stock chosen, you need to get these flyers printed. Most printers will offer a discount for new business, or for repeat customers, so haggle. You should never take the first offer. You can also negotiate on things like color for b/w pricing, or discounts for volume. And remember, sometimes b/w is all you need if your headline or idea is solid.

  7. Think about distribution. When you have your flyers in hand, how are you going to get them out there? Do you do it yourself, get a street team, leave them near free newspaper sites? HOW you distribute is often as important as what you distribute.


  1. Don't be afraid of white (or empty) space on your flyer. It draws attention to the headline and gives the copy room to breathe. Flyers crammed with information are off-putting and garish.

  2. Follow the law. There may be restrictions on passing out flyers or other printed advertisements. Some often use the rule “ask for forgiveness, not permission” but if you’re a small operation you don’t want to face that kind of legal battle.

  3. Think “would this interest me?” One of the biggest mistakes advertisers make is to believe people are as interested in their product as they are. Not so. But capture their attention, and reward it with good creativity and a great offer, and you’ll make money.

What You Need

  • A sketch pad and pen/pencil
  • A head filled with ideas
  • A computer
  • Design software (or a designer)
  • Money for printing and distribution

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