Aaron Giles

Graphic Design

Concert Flyers

One of the nice things about running your own choir is that you get to do the art design for your advertising. During my previous work with the Sacred Music Chorale, I was only peripherally involved in the visual design of the flyers. I would get the designs from another chorister, and then would do mild adjustments to the layout, mostly to line things up and balance them (they were not very detail-oriented about this kind of thing).

My general philosophy about doing concert flyers is to start by finding a single, visually compelling image, and then to use that as a full background image. I’m personally not a fan of designs that only use images for a part of the flyer; they don’t feel very dynamic to me, and you have to do a lot of finagling to make your design work in multiple contexts. A single image ends up being the easiest to work with and that then becomes the thing you use with all your concert publicity.

A personal preference, but one that I think helps a lot with visual attention-grabbing, is to lean toward darker, richer-colored images.

After the image, you need to decide what text to put down on a flyer. This is very important. It should include at the very least:

In addition, you may want to include a little information about the program. This should not be too much, just enough to clarify what will be heard if it’s not obvious from the program title. Use either a subtitle, or a one-line description of the program, or a short list of featured composers.

Given the image and the text, the final step is to lay the text down on top of it. The key for me is to find the less-interesting areas of the image and reserve those for text. The image may need to be scaled, cropped, etc. in order to create sufficient space and/or position that space in the right way.

The text should be set in a large, readable font. Avoid multiple fonts, and only use a couple of different sizes. The information you are providing is dry and does not demand a lot of crazy text shenanigans. If your image is dark or rich-colored (my personal preference), use white for your text. Add black outlines and/or shadows to help define the text and make it “pop” over the image, especially if things are kind of busy behind it.

Finally, make things line up! Don’t just do it visually. Use the tools provided by your design program of choice and look at the numbers. Make sure centered things are numerically centered. Make sure that text which starts or ends near common horizontal locations actually starts or ends at exactly the same horizontal location. These subtle details help provide a professional look to any design.

Below are some of the flyers I’ve designed for Summer Fling Singers. Click to download full resolution PDFs.


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