It’s a little known fact that the classic Stevie Wonder song ‘Isn’t She Lovely?’ was originally intended as an ode to flyer advertising. His Motown record label, however, feared that ‘Isn’t Flyer Advertising Lovely?’ would alienate younger members of his audience and so a compromise was reached. History has not been kind to the songwriter’s original vision, but he had a point, didn’t he? It may not be a subject that lends itself easily to hit records, but flyer advertising can certainly be lovely. Well, extremely effective anyway.
This is why it’s so popular and why, in about a month’s time, every inch of Edinburgh will be covered in an overwhelming array of flyers promoting the shows on at this year’s Fringe Festival. Local residents, visitors and performers can easily grow tired of the advertising onslaught to which they’re subjected, especially considering the countless number of flyers that exchange hands in the city’s major pedestrian areas, with many quick to voice their disapproval. The comedian Richard Herring has even gone so far as to publicly denounce the flyer as an investment, spending his usual advertising budget on the creation of DVDs to distribute for free among his audiences.
While few would disagree with Herring’s assessment of how saturated The Fringe is with A5 flyers, it’s important to note that this does not diminish their importance and effectiveness. Instead, we argue that those who follow effective flyer advertising guidelines are as likely to make an impact with their campaigns as ever. To put it simply, those with good designs will stand in stark relief to the majority of their competition.
Having endured for centuries, flyers continue to benefit from modern printing techniques and stylistic innovations, yet remain a true staple of advertising. While sometimes simply being seen is enough to ensure awareness of a brand, product, event or service, good flyers can convey more information through images than words could ever hope to.
As such, many of the best flyer designs observe a clear, uncluttered simplicity. Easy to comprehend from a distance, they present the public with relatively little information, but instead plant a seed of curiosity in their minds or present them with a clear call to action. Large fonts are a must, as is the desire to convey a single message.
Just like when one is designing a business card, it can be hard to edit your intentions and services down to just their essence, but avoiding over-ambition is key. The more accurate a flyer is as a reflection of what it’s promoting, the more it will stand out. To this end, many of the best flyers are the result of their creators having total faith in what they’re offering, presenting their venture to the world without hiding behind any extraneous details.
The Fringe may seem far removed from the everyday world of business, but overlook its flamboyance and the brief span of its existence, and parallels between the two become clear. The majority will always use flyer advertising as a means of promoting themselves, attracted by the possibilities of success that it offers. It’s always up to the individual, however, to ensure that they form part of the minority of those who truly understand the nature of the medium and use it to its full potential.