Add real feeling to your flier
Words inform—while art imparts the feeling.
How can you design fun and casual fliers without ignoring readability or design guidelines?
One of the best ways is with pictures. To do so, first understand how pictures communicate differently than words. Think of words as information and pictures as feeling. Your goal is to use pictures not to restate the words but to set a mood; that is, to convey what you want your audience to feel.
Pictures and words will combine to “broadcast” on many channels at once. Keep in mind that they always work together; a change in one will affect the other. What’s fun is that the interaction can yield fruitful surprises. The following four techniques are basic to all picture-word layouts.
Before What’s the matter here? It’s that too much attention has been given to getting attention. The word attention tries but isn’t strong enough. Yellow paper helps, but makes the effort much too obvious. Let’s work on the message first.
After This iteration just feels good. What says “casual” better than hanging around? The art says relax; the word “casual” feels casual. And white paper works just fine. Headline: Fashion Compressed and Myriad Tilt; Text: Garamond Light Condensed
1 Same size headline and art
How would you inform a colleague about Casual Day? You’d say, “Friday is Casual Day.” That’s how to write a headline, and it’s a great way to start your design. Then what? Find one piece of art to characterize your message. To find this one, we keyed on the word Casual and thumbed through art until we found a cheery little opossum, who looked like he was enjoying himself—exactly how Casual Day devotees should feel.
Then what? In this case, the headline was set first, and the opossum was hung nearby. After that, placement of the text seemed obvious. Note the wide leading (14/19) and the immense amount of white space. The result is ideal: The headline says it, but the art lets you feel it.
2 Big headline, small art
Here the headline carries the design; the art is now a supporting player. Leading is extremely tight (200/150); an align-left setting has created big gaps into which justified text can be tucked quite neatly. Huge contrasts in type sizes and styles are sophisticated. This technique is easy and a lot of fun—and works with many typefaces (below).
3 Big art, small headline
Art now dominates the design, and the message acquires a hint of wit. Note, far right, that, as with the opossum, the lecturer has no direct connection to Casual Day. Remember, the job of the picture is to create a feel. Primitive art requires special typography—balance the ragged style with slick, understated text (right, centered; far right, margin to margin). Note all of the empty space. If you are new to this, try ignoring the column guides and watch instead for lines of sight. If one develops, take advantage of it.
4 Art mixed with text
What a difference a headline can make. Here a detached pronouncement—RAFFLE TO HELP FLOOD VICTIMS IN THE MID-WEST—has been replaced with WIN A PAIR OF ROCKIES TICKETS!, which shifts the attention from them to me. We’ll get to them in a moment; in the meantime, the booming typestyle generates a feeling of excitement. We have now gained the reader’s ear, into which we can plead our case to great effect. (Note “various baked goods” have also been recast into desirable prizes.) If you have a lot to say, especially if it’s central to the message, set your text quite large (here, 20/21)—which makes it easier to read and elevates its value—then sprinkle in clip art as seasoning. In this case, the art’s purpose is to provide visual reinforcement. You’ll get good results most easily if the clip art is all one style. Note here that the art illustrates the words literally.