The ultimate guide to create your own flyer design

The ultimate guide to flyer design_featured image

Flyers(opens in a new tab or window) might not be as trendy as they once were, but that doesn’t mean they’re not effective. In this article, we’ll take a look at why flyer design should still be a key element in your overall marketing and advertising strategy, and, more importantly, how to design flyers that drive results for your business.

In today’s age of all digital, all the time, flyer design(opens in a new tab or window) probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think design trends.

But flyers are still an effective way to get the word out about your business or event—if you know how to maximize their design impact.

Let’s take a look at how to design a flyer in a way that’s going to grab people’s attention, deliver key messaging, and drive real results.

Table of Contents

Why flyers are still just as useful today as they were in the 90s

If you want your flyer to have a throwback vibe, try a 90s-inspired template, like this Art Event Flyer(opens in a new tab or window) or the Purple Cyber Monday Sale Announcements Flyer(opens in a new tab or window).

So, you might think that flyers went out of style back in the 90s, right alongside scrunchies, car phones, and platform sneakers. But the truth is, flyers are just as useful and effective today as they were in 1993.

In the digital age, most brands focus on an exclusively digital strategy. But because people are so inundated with emails, ads, and information (a lot of which is irrelevant), they can be wary of information they get online. Print mediums also come with a sense of authority and legitimacy.

Flyers also give you the opportunity to capture people where they already are and deliver the most relevant information at the most relevant time.

For example, if your flyer is advertising an upcoming race, you could pass it out at a local marathon where you know you’ll have access to many runners who are your target audience. If your flyer is advertising your consulting services for small businesses, you can pass them out at a local coworking spot. The point is, passing out flyers might not be as simple as clicking your mouse, but it does allow you to capture your audience when they’re most likely to be open to hearing your message, and that’s worth the extra effort.

The elements of an impactful flyer design

Photo by Yonghyun Lee on Unsplash

Alright, so now that we know that flyers are an effective medium (and why), let’s talk about how to get the most out of your flyer design.

There are a few design elements every flyer needs in order to make an impact, including:

01. An attention-grabbing headline

A template with a killer headline, like the Black Yellow Car Wash Flyer(opens in a new tab or window), is a great way to grab your audience’s attention.

Your headline is the first thing people are going to see when they look at your flyer, so it needs to really stand out and grab their attention.

The key to anattention-grabbing headline is to make it juicy; the juicier the headline, the more people will feel compelled to keep reading—and the better chance you have at delivering all of your messaging.

When writing your headline, think of ways you can draw people in. You can use a question, like “Want to know how to save thousands of dollars on your accounting this year?” You can use a simple statement like “Small businesses waste an average of 100 hours every month on their accounting.” You can even use a simple word, like “Sale!”.

02. Visual hierarchy

Templates that already have an established visual hierarchy, like the Green Medicine Icons Health Fair Flyer(opens in a new tab or window) or the Light Blue and Monochrome Job Fair Flyer(opens in a new tab or window), can help you draw attention to key messaging in your flyer design.

If you want yourflyer designs to be effective, you can’t just throw all the information on a page and hope for the best. The visual hierarchy you create, or, in other words, the way you lay out each element on your flyer, will key your audience into what’s important and what they need to pay attention to.

As a general rule of thumb, the more prominent the design element, the more people’s eyes will be drawn to it—and the more likely they’ll be to pay attention. So the large, bold text at the top of the flyer? You can pretty much guarantee your audience will get that message. But the tiny text hidden in the footer? Not so much.

Creating a visual hierarchy ensures that your key messaging and branding aren’t lost in the design—so make sure to make any important details or branding elements (like your logo) large enough to stand out.

03. Balance

Using a pre-designed template, like this Event Flyer(opens in a new tab or window) or the Monochromatic Camping Event Flyer(opens in a new tab or window), can help ensure the different elements of your flyer design (like graphics and text) are in balance.

When you’re designing your flyer, you might be tempted to include any and all information you can fit on the page. But, if you want your flyer design to be successful, it’s important to fight that temptation.

The last thing you want to do is try to fit too many elements (text, graphics,images, and colors) into your flyer design. Not only will it be visually overwhelming but when you’ve got too many elements on the page, your audience is going to have no idea where to direct their attention, and your message will get lost in the shuffle.

If you want your flyer design to deliver results, you need to keep things balanced, well-spaced, and uncrowded. When creating your flyer, make sure to:

  • Make use of white space. Not only will it make your design less visually overwhelming, but white space(opens in a new tab or window) will also add emphasis to whatever it surrounds—making it a great strategy to make key design elements jump off the page.
  • Balance every element. Each element on your flyer should be balanced in proportion to other elements. So, for example, if you have a large graphic that takes up a solid portion of the design space, make sure to balance it out with smaller text so the entire design doesn’t feel too overwhelming.
  • Assess the relevance of your information. Again, your flyer isn’t an opportunity to fit as many design elements as possible on a single page. When it comes to flyer design, less is more. Keep things as simple and uncluttered as possible.

04. The right typography

Different fonts can create a very different look and feel (and ultimately, a different result) for your flyer design. For more traditional businesses, use a template with a traditional font, like the Business Woman Promotional A4 Flyer(opens in a new tab or window). If your business or event is more fun, casual, or cutting-edge, experiment with a template with a graphic font, like the Record Store Grand Opening Flyer(opens in a new tab or window), or a whimsical font, like the Black and Gold Christmas Party Flyer(opens in a new tab or window).

Explore uniquely curated party flyer(opens in a new tab or window) ideas and a lot more in our library.

Obviously, what you say with your flyer is important. But so is how you say it.

The fonts(opens in a new tab or window) you choose to incorporate into your flyer design will go a long way in communicating your flyer’s message. The right fonts can help drive home your branding(opens in a new tab or window) and reinforce your messaging, while the wrong fonts can confuse your audience.

Let’s say, you’re creating a flyer to advertise a new financial services firm. You need a font that translates as trustworthy and dependable—so Comic Sans probably isn’t the right choice. On the flip side, if you’re designing a flyer to advertise a children’s clothing boutique, a traditional font(opens in a new tab or window) like Helvetica would feel too stuffy.

When choosing fonts, think about what that font might say to your audience, and whether that’s in line with your branding and flyer messaging.

Tips to maximize your flyer design

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

The best tip for maximizing your flyer design is to use a template. Using a pre-designed template (like the Brown and White Coffee Beans Coffee Flyer(opens in a new tab or window) or the City Late Night Happy Hour Flyer(opens in a new tab or window)) will give you an incredible end result—but save a ton of time and hassle in the process.

So, now you know the key elements to include in your flyer design. But if you really want to maximize the effectiveness of your flyer designs, there are a few additional tips you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Focus on one key message. If you try to communicate too much with one flyer (This is who we are! This is the event we’re hosting! This is the social media contest we’re hosting! This is our CEO!), all your messaging will get lost in the shuffle. Focus on one key message per flyer; the less you try to communicate, the easier your message will be to get across.
  • Include a clear call-to-action. The most successful flyers are the ones that drive results. But you’ll never get those results if you don’t explain to people what you want from them. If you want your audience to do something—whether that’s to attend your event, sign up for your email list, or come into your office for a free consultation, you need to tell them. Including a clear call-to-action on your flyer will help maximize the effectiveness of your flyer design, and get you the results you’re looking for.
  • Make sure your flyer design is on-brand. When it comes to building trust and brand recognition with your audience, consistency is key. When you’re designing your flyer, make sure it uses all your branding elements—like your logo(opens in a new tab or window), color palette(opens in a new tab or window), and brand fonts(opens in a new tab or window)—so that the end design is something your audience will easily link to your brand.
  • Use a template. When it comes to flyer design, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Using a pre-designed template(opens in a new tab or window) will not only save you time, energy, and money, but it will also ensure that all the elements are in place to make your end design a complete slam dunk with your audience. In the Canva editor, simply search for ‘flyer’, you can add an adjective to make your search more specific. Or, if you want to keep it broad, try ‘single-sided’ or ‘double-sided flyer’. Once you find a design that resonates with you, click on it and you can start customizing it. You can change or remove any element to make the flyer perfect for your needs.
  • Design with your audience in mind. If you want your flyer design to be successful, you need to think about who you’re designing it for. The flyer design that’s going to drive results with millennial business owners is going to be completely different from the flyer design that really makes an impact on new parents, travel-loving retirees, or CEOs of unicorn startups. The point is, you need to have a clear idea of your audience—and then keep that audience in mind as you’re designing your flyer.
  • Look for ways to repurpose your flyer. Obviously, you’re going to use your final design as a flyer. But don’t stop there! There are tons of different ways you can repurpose your flyer design, including as a social media(opens in a new tab or window) post, through email marketing—you can even pop it on your website! The point is, flyers are a great way to make a more face-to-face connection with your audience—but if you can find a way to tie them into your digital strategy, you can double their impact.

Flyer dimensions

When it comes to designing a flyer, they can often take different sizes and orientations. However, there are common flyer dimensions that are commonly used.

Half sheet flyer

This flyer size is also called half sheet. It is most commonly chosen for the minimal cost required for printing. Half sheet dimensions are 5.5 x 8.5 inches


This flyer size is the industry standard for flyer sizes. Standard flyer dimensions are 8.5 x 11 inches

Large format

This large-format flyer is good for documents that need to be folded such as restaurant menus, broadsheet inserts, and oversized leaflets, among others. A large fyer format is 11 x 17 inches

How to create a flyer from scratch

It’s easier than you might think to design a flyer from scratch. If you want some guidance, check out our free course on Print Advertising and for some design insights, try our free course on typography and layout. In the Canva editor, go to the top right and click ‘Create a Design’. Search ‘flyer’ and choose landscape or portrait. This will open up a blank page for you to create your perfect flyer from scratch. Remember there are three critical elements to a flyer: a headline, body copy and a call to action. Everything else is optional.

Of course, you’ll want to add an eye-catching visual element as we mentioned earlier but that could be a big, bold headline, or obviously an image or graphic element. One thing to keep in mind while you’re creating your flyer is readability. Make sure your text is easy to read, check out this guide on how to add and edit text. You can do this by ensuring the text size is large enough and the text color contrasts with any background color or imagery. This handy guide will help you pair up any imagery and text too.

How to print a flyer

Once you’ve finished designing your flyer, you can print it directly from Canva instead of having the call up a printer and Google your way through the different jargon. In the top right of the editor, next to the share button, click ‘Print Flyer’ and follow the prompts. Mark the front and back, choose your paper size, paper type, finish and quantity. You’ll then be prompted to proof your design and text. Then you checkout and that’s it – you’ve sent your flyer to print!

Check out our video tutorial

For a more in-depth look at how to make flyers in Canva, check out our video tutorial.

Flyer ideas and flyer images




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