Getting your flyers right

Friday 19 October, 2018

Owen Ralph

Arts marketer and musician

Do flyers still matter?

This is a pertinent question to ask in our digital age, in a time when audiences can be targeted with remarkable accuracy via huge companies, feeding content directly to the electronic device you always keep on your person.

But yes, yes they do matter. The vast majority will go to waste, their effectiveness is hard to monitor and you can’t immediately interact with a flyer in the way you can with a Facebook event or Google advert, but yes they matter. Having your print displayed and/or handed out at relevant events and venues can be an effective way of making that first contact with a potential audience member, and being handed a flyer does feel that bit more personal than an advert popping up in your Twitter feed.

Flyers are very easy to do badly however, so here are a few tips for making the most out of them.

  1. Don’t require overprinting
  2. If you’re producing tour print, and you send every venue several hundred flyers with a blank space where the date and venue need to be overprinted, the venue’s marketing team will hate you. A few posters is doable, but nobody has time to overprint a big stack of flyers. There is a reasonable chance that your print never makes it into the flyer racks in this situation. If you don’t want to print venue-specific flyers, putting all your tour dates on is totally fine. Just don’t leave them blank.

  3. Choose your paper type
  4. If you’re not familiar with the different paper types, most printing companies will be willing to provide you with a sample book so you can get a sense of the different weights and textures. Usually flyers are printed on coated stock, eg gloss or silk. If a more rustic feel is what you’re looking for, it could be worth considering an uncoated stock, which is coarser to the touch, although this can be a little more expensive. If you’re not sure and/or don’t care, I would always recommend going for silk as a nice middle ground.

  5. Choose your weight
  6. A printing company will always ask what paper weight you need. Technically it’s actually paper density, as it is measured in grams per square metre (gsm), but let’s call it weight like everyone else as nobody likes a smart-arse. For an A5 flyer on coated stock, you don’t want to go much lighter than 250gsm. Lower than that and your flyers will feel a bit flimsy, and are likely to curl over when placed in a flyer rack.

    The smaller the paper size, the heavier you need to go. For A6, 350gsm will give you a good sturdy postcard feel; certainly don’t go lighter than 300gsm if you can help it.

  7. Print something on the back
  8. I don’t care what it is, but for crying out loud do not leave the back of your flyers blank. You don’t only dress your front and leave your bum hanging out (I mean I can only speak for myself), so make sure you cover your back, or your flyers will look cheap and unprofessional.

  9. Keep it simple
  10. Despite having just stressed the need to cover both sides of your print, don’t over do it with the information. Photos are your friends; as long as you have your tour dates, ticket URLs, social media handles, maybe a very short blurb and/or press quotes, you’ve done all you need to.