Faith Ev. Lutheran Church in Prior Lake, MN will be having a free community carnival on Sunday, June 2, from Noon-3 PM. If you are in the area, be sure to stop in and enjoy some family fun!
Not long ago, I compiled a list of 6 Free Resources You Can Use for basic flyer design. In this article, I'll share some of my favorite creative resources for images, ideas, and inspiration.
1. Beautiful Public Domain Images from Pixabay
Whether you are looking for design inspiration, cover images for your Facebook page, pins for Pinterest, or imagery for your newsletter, Pixabay is a great spot to browse for public domain images. Remember, you can always review greater detail on licensing, creative commons, and public domain at Creative Commons.
2. Color palettes from Design Seeds
Managing color can be overwhelming. Remember to keep it simple. If you have no idea where to begin, browse Design Seeds for beautiful palettes. To the right of the palette, you can hover over the color you'd like to use to see the HEX code.
One useful way to use the palettes and codes is for creating beautiful newsletters in MailChimp. When editing the design of your MailChimp template, you can type the HEX code right in to modify the color. (Yep, that's what the goofy letter and number combination next to the color box, with a hashtag, can do for you.) For additional information on using the colors in the Design Seed palettes, read here.
3. Textures from Lost and Taken
If you need a texture for a flyer background, Lost and Taken is your resource. Find torn paper, lined paper, cardboard, metal, grunge textures, leaves, fabric, etc., etc., etc. Consider using some of the images with filters over other images to create texture, or just use them as a simple background for your flyer with a nice bold trusty font.
4. Test drive at Font Squirrel
I've shared my love for Font Squirrel a time or two before, but this time I'd like to share the "test drive" mode. If you have a propensity for typeface installation, it's handy to have a program like Nexus Font to preview and manage your collection. If you like to test drive before you commit, or just want to see some options for bold flyer titles, take some letters for a spin on Font Squirrel. When browsing the font offerings, you can click on a font you'd like to take a closer look at, then click on the "Test Drive" tab at the top. You'll find it next to "Specimens." Type in your flyer title and try out various sizes. If you like what you see, you can download and install the font. For instructions, check out this article.
5. Crazy Ideas from Fast Company Design
If you just need something a little different to get your brain moving in another direction, you can't beat photos of insects wearing hats made of water, a typeface made entirely of the season's hottest clothes, or a city built entirely of chewing gum.
6. Get Outside
What to do with the Words
If you have followed the guidelines in Basic Flyer Design: Implementing Your Concept, but want to jump a little further into typography, a number of resources are out there for you.
First of all, you are not limited to the fonts already installed on your computer. No, Comic Sans is not your only choice for getting "fancy." (Nor should it ever be...) Fonts can be downloaded from sites such as Font Squirrel for free. Always check the licensing for each font as you download, to be sure the font is appropriately licensed for your purpose. Some of them are free even for commercial use, just take a quick look.
These are eleven of the fonts I enjoy using for a variety of purposes. I use them often on calendar designs, meal planner designs, occasionally on illustrations, and of course on flyers. All of them can be downloaded and used on your flyer designs. Be sensible about which fonts you select.
Remember that legibility is number one. To test if your flyer is readable, print a preliminary copy and post it up. Walk a number of feet back and see if the words (at least the title) are legible from a reasonable distance. If you can't read the text, likely culprits are:
- The font you selected is not the easiest to read
- The color of the text is not dark enough or does not contrast enough with the surrounding color
- The text isn't big enough
Or maybe you meant it to be that way? You could always draw them in with a great illustration first, but legible text is crucial.
Where do I download those great fonts?
1. Nevis Bold, from tenbytwenty.com
2. Trendex, can be found on Font Zone
3. Contribute, from Fonts Cafe, also home to other "feel good" fonts
4. Base 02, found at Urban Fonts
5. Gentium This may already by installed on your computer. If not, Font Squirrel will help you out.
6. Conspiracy, Font Squirrel
7. Talking to the Moon, for personal use, donate for commercial use
8. Handy George, dafont.com
9. Junction, Font Squirrel
10. ChunkFive, Font Squirrel
11. Harting Plain, Font Squirrel
How do I install those great fonts?
On my Windows OS, I follow these simple steps:
- Download the file.
- Open the zip folder (mine lands in the Downloads folder).
- Double click on the file labeled with your new font (sometimes there are more than one fonts in the folder, you can install each one individually).
- Click the "install" button when the fun box pops up that says "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."
- You're done. Enjoy.
For further reading on typography, try these nice articles.
In my article, Basic Flyer Design: First Keep it Simple, I suggested simple concepts for flyer design. I have compiled here a list of six free resources that you can use to help you with your flyer designs.
A free graphics manipulation program
A free program that allows you to work with vector graphics
After reading Basic Flyer Design, First Keep it Simple, and watching for new ideas in your community and online, you may be ready to take your inspiration for a test drive. As mentioned in the article above, you hopefully have a couple of painfully simple concepts ready to try, complete with little napkin sketch diagrams like the one below. Now what? 1. Find your artwork.
A number of resources are out there online where you can find photos, clipart, and artwork for use in your flyer. Even if you are a non-profit or individual, you need to follow copyright laws. Creative Commons is a fantastic resources for becoming more familiar with those restrictions, and also for linking to content that has been made available for your use. Many materials are in the public domain and can be used freely by you in your flyers. You can find various types of media through Creative Commons and also browse photography in the public domain on Flickr Commons.
Download a handful of images you may like to use. I often try out more than one image to see what works best. Look for images that are related to your content and have an appropriately high resolution. If you insert the image into your document and it looks tiny, requiring you to enlarge it quite a bit for use, it is too small. A pixelated or watermarked image is not appropriate to use. The flyer design below is for a hypothetical library book sale, and uses an image of a book binding found on Flickr Commons.
2. Plug in Your Content
You have already pre-determined where the pieces of your flyer will be going, using your napkin sketch diagrams. (See Basic Flyer Design: First, Keep it Simple) This is the stage where your planning and practice will pay off more and more as time goes on. Let's try to put those new ideas into action.
This basic flyer sample was created using Microsoft Word. I'm going to assume you have a general working knowledge of the program already, and will show you just a couple of my favorite tools and settings to help you along. If you need a little more time to get familiar with the program first, you can find tutorials here to walk you through some of the basic features.
I like to lay out my Word flyers using only inserted images and text boxes. This way, the objects can more easily be moved around the page and manipulated as needed. This sample poster is made using only two objects: the image and the text box.
After inserting an image or text box, I right click on the object, and set the options. In the screen shot below, I've highlighted my favorite menu options.
I set the text wrapping on all of my objects to "in front of text" and set the border option to "none" under "format picture." Using the "bring to front or send to back" options helps you layer your objects as you need them.
To achieve the bar of color, you could either insert a new shape behind the text, or set the text box color to your desired color. In this sample, I have the text box color set to a dark orange. Then, under "format shape > fill," set the transparency to 25%.
When selecting your font, make sure that it is legible. It is much better to err on the side of a boring typical font than it is to try a fancy font that is hard to see. This font is Century Gothic. Don't use more than a couple of fonts on one flyer.
In this sample, I have intentionally left a white border around the outside of the flyer as part of my composition. This allows for printing on a personal printer without worrying about the bleed and margins interfering with the design. You most likely cannot have a full bleed poster printed at home or in your office. If you do, however, want full bleed, a number of websites have the option, such as Shutterfly. If this is the option you'd like, you will need to have a jpeg file to upload. Power Point has a jpeg file type option under "save as."
A number of programs can be used for making flyers. I have done this sample with Word, since many offices already have it. I prefer to use the Adobe Creative Suite. Some other options you might use are:
- Power Point
- Gimp, a free downloadable program
- Open Office, a free alternative to Microsoft Office
- Photoshop Express, free online photo editing tools
3. Review Your Design
As you work, ask yourself if you are still following the guidelines in Basic Flyer Design, First Keep it Simple. Is it simple? Is your message clear? After reviewing the above flyer, I felt the text wasn't quite as legible as it could be, and adjusted the design to have less contrast behind the text.
Over time, you will adopt some favorite tools, resources, and diagram types, making the job even easier.
Have you found some nice resources for flyer design? Please feel free to share below.