Tips for Creating Promotional Materials

Know Your Audience - Who is your target audience?
Kids? Adults? Seniors? Animal lovers? How much do they know about the subject? How much time are they likely to spend reading your flier? Your design and text should be appropriate for your audience.

Visual Hierarchy – What do you want the reader to see and in what order?
The first thing readers see should be the most important piece of information. Generally, the visual hierarchy of your marketing communications should be:

  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • How Much
  • More Information

3 Second, 30 Seconds and 3 Minute Rule – The time you have to grab the reader’s attention.

3 Seconds – This is how long you have to get the reader’s attention. This means the title, which defines what the topic is, should be most prominent. Your title should clearly inform the reader what the topic is. If you get the reader’s attention, he or she may then review the information for up to 30 seconds.

30 Seconds – This is when the reader will review the when, where and how much information. If you really piqued the reader’s interest, you may get 3 minutes.

3 Minutes – This is when the reader will take the time to learn more about the topic and may go online or contact someone for more information. You only have a few precious seconds to grab the reader’s attention. This vital knowledge should guide your design, written content and ultimately the visual hierarchy.

More is Not Always Better – White space is important.
White space is an area that does not have images, text or design elements. Generally people think white space is wasted space but it is actually very valuable space, because it:

  • Allows the reader to focus on the important details
  • Visually highlights your content
  • Adds balance to your design
  • Gives the reader’s eyes a rest

A design that does not have white space can appear cluttered and difficult to read. Studies demonstrate that when this happens, the natural instinct is for the reader to bypass the information. Another general rule is to use no more than two fonts. Multiple fonts will not bring your design or message to life. Multiple fonts tend to confuse the reader and also detract from your visual hierarchy.

The Relationship between Images and Text – Images and text should complement each other.

Everything included in your marketing communications should have relevance to the topic you are trying to communicate and should promote your goals. This means text and images need to work well together.

Text – The content should be clear, easy to read and minimal. Titles need to be clear and effectively communicate the topic. Avoid cute titles that play on words if it means the reader will not be able to tell, immediately, what the event is by solely looking at the title.

We Can Do It! vs. Canned Food Drive
Although the first title may seem more “fun,” it’s not immediately clear what the topic is and requires an explanation. The second title ensures the topic is clear. Those who are interested will most likely review the information in greater detail.

Images – You should effectively use images that relate to the topic and that help you use fewer words. For instance, a Nike image of a sweating marathoner with the words “Just Do It” is more effective than over explaining the importance of getting out there and having the courage to try your best. In other words, avoid making materials content heavy. Remember, “a photo is worth a thousand words.”

Designing your Promotional Materials

There are many graphic design programs you can use to create your promotional materials. Be as imaginative as you like, but remember to have a clear, concise message. In order to create an informative and appealing promotional piece, (e.g. a poster or flyer), remember to include the following:

  • Event name
  • Date of event
  • Time
  • Location (including street address)
  • Ticket price and where to purchase tickets, if applicable
  • Brief description of what the event is and what it includes (e.g. entertainment, silent auction and/or dinner).
  • Contact number and/or website URL for more information