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:
-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.
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.