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How to design an effective leaflet

As part of a team helping a candidate in a local council election next month, I’ve recently been doing some revision homework into the art of the leaflet. Fortunately, our candidate isn’t standing as part of a political party, so we don’t have any branding guidelines being issued to us from above, and we have a clean slate. I hope we’ve used our advantage well.

Leaflets are so often unnecessarily tatty, but they shouldn’t be. There are a range of circumstances in which they can get a message over effectively – I remember guerrilla leafleting people in the NEC Car Park before an exhibition once, to great impact (“bring this leaflet with you to our stand…”). They can also be cost effective bundled in with a magazine.

So, here are few things I’ve (re-)learned. If your leaflet is not being handed over personally, it can appear either side up, so ensure the main message is on both sides. Keep it simple and understandable at a single glance – if you’ve got a lot of information to get over, choose a four-pager and put the bulk of the content inside. The outsides should scream ‘the benefit from acting on this’ to the reader.

Edit down the content and edit it down again. So many leaflets feature eight tiny photos, just to keep everyone happy, when they should feature two big ones. Solid colours, strong graphics and great typography are a given, of course, but all should be chosen to be part of the message.

And don’t forget the call to action! More than almost any other promotional medium I can think of, the main function of a leaflet is to make the reader do something simple.