How to make a flyer for your business in 4 steps

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Digital marketing might be king right now, with digital spending forecast to total over $600 billion this year. But still, the humble flyer seems to be…here. And there’s a good reason why: It works. You can make a flyer in just 4 steps.  

As you’re about to discover, flyers can be an effective tool for your business – if they’re done correctly. And the great news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to create a flyer and they’re surprisingly easy to make. No design experience needed. So, here’s everything you need to know about how to make a flyer, the impact it can have on your business and those 4 steps to actually creating one. 


A graffitied wall covered in flyers.

Photo by Yonghyun Lee on Unsplash

Table of contents

What’s the definition of a ‘flyer’?

A flyer is a printed ad that promotes a certain product, service or event. It’s usually just a single page that can be double-sided and folded. As you’ll see later on, flyers come in different shapes and sizes.

Flyers are a good marketing tool to use because they’re cheap to produce and you can create a large number of them to easily spread the word about your business. 

Wooden table littered with flyers.

Photo by Jean Carlo Emer on Unsplash

Flyers vs. leaflets: what’s the difference?

The words are often used interchangeably and they generally do mean the same thing: a piece of paper with promotional information on it. 

Vivid single-page butchery flyer on white table.

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

But a leaflet is usually longer than a flyer, has more information and tends to be made with higher-quality material so it lasts longer. 

Flyers, on the other hand, are simple and use eye-catching designs to deliver a promotional message quickly.

How flyers can help your business take off

Why should you make a flyer for your business? 

Flyers are:

  • Cheap to make
  • Easy to print in large numbers
  • Great for helping you raise your profile in a local area
  • Effective for generating leads and more sales
  • Seen by 78% of people that receive them
  • Read carefully by 23% of people (this jumps to 33% if the flyers include an offer or coupon)
Mid-shot of person holding assortment of colorful flyers.

Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

Considering the fact that email has an average open rate of 17%, the humble flyer is a pretty powerful competitor 💪

So, combined with your digital marketing efforts, if you create a flyer you can bring more customers to your door. 

But for a little flyer to achieve that, it needs to be made the right way.

What makes an effective business flyer?

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to make a flyer that’s effective for your business:

Tailor the flyer to your target audience

First and foremost, any flyer you make (and any marketing that you do) has to be focused on your target audience. 

Who are your ideal customers? Or who do you want to become your customers?

Once you’ve identified your target audience and learned about their problems, wants and needs, you can then create a flyer that’s tailored to them.

That way you can be sure the flyer has the best chance of grabbing their attention. This applies to both the design as well as the messaging.

For example, if your ideal customer is someone in their 70s and you create a flyer with a tiny font, you won’t be doing yourself (or them) any favors.

To tailor your messaging to your ideal customer, keep this question in mind when writing: “What’s in it for them?”

By asking this question, you’ll uncover the benefits of what you’re promoting. And by leading your messaging with the benefits for your audience, you’ll be more likely to hook them in. 

Choose 1 purpose and message

You might have a lot to say to your target consumer, but when it comes to flyers it’s better to be a business of few words. The rule here is to keep it simple. 

Have a single purpose for your flyer: What do you want to achieve with it?

Is it to make people in your neighborhood aware of your upcoming sale? To get more sales for your window-washing business? Or maybe you’re recruiting members for your Backstreet Boys tribute band?

Whatever your purpose is, make sure that your flyer has just one objective. That way you’ll be writing a single message to your audience which will be crystal clear. 

Otherwise, if you overload your flyer with too much information, your readers will be confused. They won’t pay attention to what you have to say and will throw your hard work straight into the trash 😬

Without a single purpose and message, even if someone takes the time to read your flyer, they won’t know what you’re saying.

Include a call to action

As well as having one clear purpose and message, an effective business flyer has a call to action. 

What single action do you want someone to take after reading your flyer?

A call to action is a sentence that clearly tells your reader what to do next, whether that’s signing up to your guitar classes or coming by your store to redeem a coupon.

When it comes to a call to action, it’s better to tell your reader to do just one thing. That way they’ll be more likely to take the desired action.

Otherwise, it won’t be clear what they should do next.

Hook their attention with a headline

The headline is the title of the flyer and lets the reader know what the content is about. 

It’s what your audience will read first, so it’s one of the most important parts of your flyer. A good headline hooks the reader’s attention and gets them to read the next sentence. It tells them why they should care.

To write a good headline, keep it crystal clear so the reader instantly knows what your flyer is about. To hook the reader’s attention, it’s a good idea to include one of the main benefits for your readers.

Because a headline that includes a benefit and addresses a problem that your ideal customer faces will be almost irresistible to them. 


Colors affect our mood. 

Your home has very dirty windows. You know that you have to get around to cleaning them, but it’s been hard to find the time with your busy week (and you just want to relax over the weekend too!). 

But then you spot a flyer in your mail that has the headline: “Get clean windows that sparkle for half the price.” 

The headline is clear and addresses your problem, so it will grab your attention.

Create an impactful design

Just like a good headline, an effective visual design of your flyer helps catch your ideal customer’s eye. 

Going back to the window-washing example above, if the flyer had dull colors that blended in with the assortment of mail, it wouldn’t stick out and grab attention, would it?

To create an impactful design, keep the following principles in mind:

Pay close attention to color

You might already have your own brand colors that you’d like to use, but you can also think about the effect that colors have and what feeling you want to create in your readers. 

Color swatches on computer desk.

Photo by Balázs Kétyi on Unsplash

Warmer colors like red, orange and yellow evoke energy and happiness while colors like green and blue are more soothing. 

When it comes to color, keep the purpose of your flyer in mind. If you’re spreading awareness about your new yoga retreat, for example, soothing colors like green and blue would work well. 

Choose the right typography 

Just like the colors, the type you choose can affect the mood of your flyer, so it’s a good idea to choose one that grabs attention and is in line with your purpose. 

Choose a font for your headline that stands out and sets the mood you want to create for your design, and use a different secondary font to add some contrast that draws the eye to the information you want to be seen.

Keep it balanced

Just like it’s good to keep the information on your flyer short, sweet and simple, it’s also good to keep the design simple and balanced. 

That means balancing the graphic elements you have with white space, larger elements with smaller ones and vibrant colors with more neutral tones. Too much of any one thing can be overwhelming for someone to look at and your message can get lost in the confusion.

Focus on visual hierarchy

Design is a powerful way to guide the reader’s attention to the information you want them to see. And one of the key design principles that help achieve that is visual hierarchy. 

Visual hierarchy is how you organize the design elements on your flyer so that the reader’s eye is guided to each piece of information in order of importance.

You can emphasize the most important pieces of information by using color, contrast or size to differentiate them from the rest.

The headline might be the most important part of the flyer, for example, and could be set in a larger font so it’s read first, while the date and time for the event your flyer is promoting could be in a contrasting color so it sticks out.

Using visual hierarchy in your design makes it easy for people to scan your flyer to find out what they need to know – so they’re more likely to take the action you want them to take. 

Flyer size guide

Flyers come in different shapes and sizes. The type of flyer you use also depends on what you want to achieve. Here are some of the main sizes of flyers and what they could be better suited for: 

Close0up of takeaway menu with person’s hands in shot.

Photo by Khanh Tu Nguyen Huy on Unsplash


Small flyers are typically:

  • 2.5″ x 4″ (64 x 102 mm)
  • 4″ x 6″ (102 x 153 mm)
  • 4.2″ x 5.5″ (107 x 140 mm)
  • 5″ x 7″  (127 x 178 mm)

If you can fit your message on a smaller space, these flyers are perfect for distributing in large numbers, while spending less. 


Half-page flyers are usually 5.5″ x 8.5″ (140 x 216 mm), but they also come in square formats like 6″ x 6″  (153 x 153 mm) or 8″ x 8″ (203 x 203 mm).

These are great to use because they’re more affordable, easy to hand out on the street and easily fit in a customer’s shopping bag.


If you’ve got a little more product or sales information to share, then a standard-sized flyer could be a good way to go for you. 

The standard flyer size is roughly the same as a regular piece of A4 paper: 8.5″ x 11″ (216 x 280 mm).


There are a couple of types of larger flyer formats: long flyers which are 3.75″ x 8.25″ (96 x 210 mm) and oversized flyers which are 11″ x 17″ (280 x 432 mm).

Long flyers fold well and are great for price lists and restaurant menus. But if you want to create a message that people can’t miss, and you don’t want to fold your flyer, you might like an oversized A3 flyer – it’s great for promoting events like store openings or music gigs. 

How to create a flyer for your business in 4 steps

If the thought of creating a flyer is enough to make you break out in a cold sweat, don’t worry. You don’t need to have expert design skills or spend a lot of your time making one (you’re busy enough as it is). 

You can create a flyer in a few minutes by following 4 easy steps:

1) Choose a template

VistaPrint webpage for flyers, with an image of two flyers on the left and buttons outlining different options for types of paper available on the right

Jump onto VistaPrint and search for flyers. On the flyers page you’ll have two options: You can upload a design you’ve already made, or you can click on “Browse designs” to choose from thousands of templates to find what works best for you.

VistaPrint web page for browsing flyer templates with list of templates and a navigation bar on the left

Browse designs using filters such as industry, fold, orientation, size, purpose and color. 

If you have your own brand colors that you want to use, you can pick colorless layout templates that you can add your colors to. 

2) Edit your design

VistaPrint choose template page with preview of flyer on the left and options to change color, orientation and size on the right

Once you’ve chosen your template, click on it. You can choose from a range of matching color palettes. 

Next, click on “Edit my design.” You can always change the colors again later if you like. 

VistaPrint edit template page

Now you can edit the different elements of the template. Add your own text and choose from a library of stock photos if you want to change what’s in the template – or upload your own. 

You can work on the front and the back of the design if you want it to be double-sided. You can also change the size of the flyer, or the template, if you think another one will work better. 

Change the template colors, add graphic elements and even a QR code for customers to easily find your website. 

3) Create a design proof

VistaPrint window with preview of flyer design and button to download PDF proof

Once you’re finished with your design, it’s a good idea to create a design proof of your flyer. This lets you preview what the final product will look like and allows you to do a test print so you can check that you’re happy with it.

Click on the “Preview” button and hit “Download PDF proof.” 

If it looks great as a test print (which I’m sure it does!) then carry on to the final printing step. 

4) Print

VistaPrint design review page

Click “Next” and the design review window will pop up which will let you know if there are any issues with your design (saving you plenty of headaches). 

Tick the box to confirm you’ve reviewed and approve of your design and click “Continue.” 

Depending on the template, you may then have the option to choose paper weight, stock and the number of flyers that you want to print.  

Once you’re done click “Add to basket” and you’ll be guided to the checkout. 

And that’s it! Put your feet up and have a well-deserved cup of coffee – you can expect your wonderful creations to arrive in a few days.

It’s time to spread the word

Now you know how to make a flyer, it’s time to use this marketing medium to spread the word and show everyone how remarkable your business is. 

What’s great is that you don’t have to worry about hiring an expensive designer or agonize for hours over Photoshop – you’ve got templates ready to go in VistaPrint. And these templates already incorporate the principles that you’ve learned today.

So get out there and spread the word.