I'm currently a graphic designer for a local library who makes around 30-40 event flyers a month (actually about 15 work days, as they need done by the 3rd week and I dont get the next round until the 1st of the next month) for 9 library locations. I've started to notice that ALL of my flyers use centered texts and images. Each event flyer only contains this information and rarely ever deviates from this formulae:

-Event Title

-Time and Date

-Brief Description (1-2 sentences IF I'm lucky..)

so its hard for me to make things both clear and interesting with such little content without throwing it smack-dab in the middle of the page. I've seen lots of more typographical approaches, but that sometimes creates difficulty for patrons that may be illiterate and those who plain don't care to take them time to actually read a flyer.

Has anyone run into a similar situation? I know it's possible to make 'non-centered' flyers, but I'm in quite a rut with it.

  • 1
    If someone doesn't care to read (or can't read)... it's very doubtful the type alignment will change that.
    – Scott
    Jul 7 '17 at 19:38
  • As sad as it is that's true. Its one of the most frustrating things about designing for a library. A large amount of people that come in don't care to read or involve themselves our community, just use our computers.
    – AlliRae
    Jul 7 '17 at 19:57
  • I get that. My point was.. you shouldn't feel limited because you think people will only read line-for-line centering. Truth is a more dynamic layout may actually entice more people to read, not deter them.
    – Scott
    Jul 7 '17 at 20:00
  • Sorry! Mistook what you were saying. I'll try some more dynamic layouts to see if they attract more patrons.
    – AlliRae
    Jul 7 '17 at 20:05

I had a quite experienced teacher tell us "There is never a good reason for centered text". Admittedly she is trained in 70's Bauhaus typography and so has a different view of whats best, but her advice has stuck with me.

Theory: centered, balanced layout is quiet, static and not engaging to the eye. Dynamic layout which pulls energy in one direction or another is more engaging and interesting.

Centered layout is conveniently linear, viewers consume each item in turn starting at the top and working down.

A designer drives attention with position, size and color. Get them to read the things in the order you want them to by using the attention tricks, and fight the static centered balance by mixing up position, size and color.

Usually the highest and biggest thing gets read first. Emphasize the primary info by placing it highest and biggest with Bold titles and consistent subtitles and text.

Use the same titling scheme for your second item, place it anywhere below the first item (not below the third item) and it will be read second.

Imagery is just as important in driving attention in your layout. Keep this in mind when placing and sizing images.

Very generally each article can be assumed to consist of a picture, a title and some text, perhaps a sub title, and an attribution for the image.

Set up some article templates that use contain these elements and show different dynamic pull. By having several templates and varying them you can make a truly dynamic piece.

These items may be things like "Picture on left, title and text on right" "Title overlayed on picture with text below" "Full page picture with title and text overlayed" "Left aligned title and pic with text below" "Giant Title, little picture, text box on right" etc.

Make an alignment grid for your whole publication (really just define the edge borders) then put your item templates within the edge borders. I'd put all my generic templates in as placeholders and save the file as a Template.

Most of your article templates will be full page wide so yes, they get presented linearly, one above the other, but with your dynamic text and image treatments your page will have more visual interest. To break it up even more make templates to cover "2 across" and "3 across" situations where you have several small articles next to each other on the page.

My main daily design task that requires thought is placement of type with images. It's fun and varying it in creative ways is rewarding.

Let me caution you that while striving for dynamic imbalance is key, consistency, alignment and the grid is essential to make your stuff look neat and professional. Your typography must be very neat and consistent (use same size titles in different articles, only 1-3 fonts, consistent colors).

The battle between balance and imbalance is a key lesson in design.

  • Thank you for the advice! Luckily I 'get' most of what you explained and have been designing for a few years now, just struggling with the monotony of 40 flyers a month, and somehow making them all eye catching. I'll try making some layout blanks to change it up a bit.
    – AlliRae
    Jul 7 '17 at 20:00
  • ..."Admittedly she is trained in 70's Bauhaus typography and so has a different view of whats best" - She has the RIGHT view of what's best! ;) haha Jul 8 '17 at 7:05
  • Formal certificates like diplomas use a lot of traditional decoration and... centered text.
    – Webster
    Jul 10 '17 at 18:15

How important it's to study! How important it's to study graphic design history!

There are thousands of examples, I choose for this answer the most obvious and clarifying.

At the twentieth century beginning absolutely all printed books followed the same pattern, practically the inherited from the middle ages: title, image, text to one or two columns. Five hundred years following the same design is too much!

Around the same time, a group of poets emerged (at the beginning) that manifested their art in different ways: public readings, performances and printed paper. These poets called their printed poems Words in freedom and were very representative of their artistic philosophy: going against everything established.

The importance of studying their work, not only enters what is general culture but also visual culture. Search on Google Futurism and Dada Graphics. Some artist names to look for: Fortunato Depero, Filippo Marinetti, Tristan Tzara...

enter image description here

In the nineties of the last century, and with the beginning of the rise of the digital edition, several designers revealed themselves against what was stipulated as logical in editorial design, following a stylistic movement called deconstructivism.

They gave a graphic cry against the basic page design laws such as readability, reading order, text frame, format limits, margins, etc. Search on Google for Deconstructivism Graphic Design. Some graphic designers and names to look for: David Carson, Emigre, Neville Brody...

enter image description here

In graphic design, as in any visual art, we must educate and train the mind and the eye.

  • 1
    As always, quoting history, quoting theory.
    – Rafael
    Apr 28 '19 at 21:01

It is interesting that you are mass producing flyers, which is probably a wrong strategy. They can easily make bigger flyers, with some more robust information or nicer finishes, but, oh well...

My tip would be:

Make some templates... different ones, and cycle thru them.

Then start adding some variants, step by step... One paragraph here, one there. And see how they go.

It would be an interesting "time-lapse" project. :o)

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