Hi, I'm an avid reader of your blog. I'm a graphic designer so I just had to comment on your recent blog post on Flyer Design. Feel free to reprint this in entirety along with the attached file layout concept that I created for you (I'll be happy to send you a layered .psd file for you to use). I hope you take this all as positive constructive feedback.My main point is that if real estate agents should use professional photographers to show off homes, because photographers are skilled masters of their field, shouldn't professional photographers use professional graphic designers for that same reason? Of course, I say! :)My thoughts echo many comments by others regarding professionalism in graphic design, the use of InDesign, etc. It strikes me that many best practices for graphic design echo those of great photography: have great composition, use color well, simplify/declutter the space to show the subject, etc. In the case of your flyer design, the focus needs to be on that outstanding exterior photo. But your initial design concept clutters up the photo with all the text elements upon it. Instead, I recommend keeping your photos and text areas separate (see my design concept). With this layout, the most of the visual area is for your exterior photo. You lose a bit of size from the full page version, but you gain clarity for every element.Secondly, the fonts/typography. As another commenter mentioned, keep your fonts to 2 or 3 choices and around 3 sizes at most. Take great care in choosing fonts - I would recommend keeping far, far away from Comic Sans which is considered a tacky font. It's tempting to use fonts that came pre-installed with your computer (Times, Arial, etc.), but it would benefit the aspiring designer to see what else is out there. One of the best websites to compare and evaluate font styles is http://www.fonts.com. Some fonts cost $25, some families are in the hundreds. Some classic serif fonts to use are Bodoni, Caslon and Garamond.In the case of this flyer concept, I used Garamond with the largest size set for the "Headline" in the top left; bold with a bit of letter kerning (space between letters) for the price; 12 point size for all the details/information about the home - the way the details are grouped is to show them as sets of information. The two smaller photos work well to provide a break between the green and blue text areas. In the blue area, I reworded the invitation for the virtual tour in order to feature the website address and create a balanced text area shape with the company logo below (inverted pyramid). Levi's personal contact information is white in order to catch the viewer's attention. Levi's photo has been reduced in size and put on the right corner in order to reduce its distraction potential. The reason I did this is related to the real estate photography rule of "no people" in photos - they're distracting. The bottom-right corner is the most out-of-the-way place, so that's why I put her photo there.Special effects - bevels, drop shadows, glows, etc. Take great care and restrain your desire to use these. The more you overdo these, the less tasteful your design. There are other ways to pop text off of a colored background or photo such as using semi-transparent blocks of solid color. I used two semi-transparent gradients that fade out in both text areas of my flyer design concept. It adds subtle interest but doesn't overpower the viewer. The dark gradient inside the blue text area works to integrate both sets of text and Levi's photo.Color theory - Keeping a palette of 1-3 colors is best, whether for backgrounds, fonts, or other design elements. In my concept, you can see that I pulled shades of green and blue that are found in the main exterior photograph. The colors are desaturated somewhat so that they complement but not compete with the main photo. A safe way to make sure your photos pop are to use neutral colors (beige, taupe, gray, etc.) for backgrounds. Let your photos speak for themselves and be the main attraction on the page. You'll notice that I used a black background/black lines to separate each area/element, and that the black is at the edges of the design. This is to pop each photo and element and also allow for easy creation of printer bleeds (the black bleeds off the page's edges).Another tip I have for real estate flyer design, is to avoid placing photos inside a larger photo, or overlapping photos. There is absolutely no benefit to doing either. The big reason not to is because nesting photos inside each other creates distraction and visual noise compared to keeping photos separated in their own area. When photos are overlapped, the edges interrupt the content of those photos they're overlapping. The only time I would maybe possibly somewhat be convinced to give my blessing to a photo overlap technique is if both photos have very little content or visual noise in their composition. But in real estate photography, that is rare. However, let's say that the main exterior photo for another property features a large, clean, green lawn that takes up half the photo from the bottom up. Then great, any inset photos will still look great with a calm, grassy background behind them (or a driveway or swimming pool).The best tip I have for any layout template design is "Keep It Simple, $." That last $ instead of an 'S' is to remind you that Keeping it Simple is the best way to make sure you end up with a tasteful, professional image that attracts $. :)I would enjoy consulting with the real estate photographer community on ideas and tips for flyer and brochure layouts. I would more enjoy creating working relationships as well. Thanks for reading. Best to you, Larry, and to all.Rob JordanEnhance DesignOmaha, Nebraska(402) 980-9535http://www.enhancedesign.com
Great points and advice that Robs gives. Thanks Rob for all the ideas and the flyer redesign.