What is a One-Sheet?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A one-sheet is a single page document which is designed to provide a burst of information about a product for the purpose of sales or advertising. One-sheets are used in a variety of industries, especially entertainment. Movie studios and record companies regularly send out one-sheets to promote upcoming releases, and some fans collect these promotional materials, along with other memorabilia. The most well known example of a one-sheet is a movie poster, although one-sheets actually come in a range of sizes and styles.

A car salesman will likely give a prospective customer a one-sheet for the model she is test driving.
A car salesman will likely give a prospective customer a one-sheet for the model she is test driving.

The goal of a one-sheet is to spark interest in the product being advertised. In the case of promotional material aimed at the public, the material on the one-sheet may not be incredibly detailed, but it will pique the interest of someone who sees the one-sheet. For example, a movie poster might use iconic, classic imagery and a simple tagline to make it appealing to potential movie-goers. A one-sheet posted on a bulletin board to advertise an upcoming musical performance would also use bold imagery and provide clear information about where and when the event is happening.

Most companies also design one-sheets for industry insiders. For example, record companies send out one-sheets to music stores and radio stations to convince staff to order their products. These one-sheets tend to be more detailed, and they include information like the name of the band, the name of the album, when the album will be released, what the recommended price point is, and so forth. These one-sheets are also usually constructed with some care to create a flashy, appealing image which makes them stand out.

One-sheets are also used in sales so that customers have something to take home and look at. A car salesman might give out one-sheets for the models a client test-drives so that he or she can review the material on these promotional sheets at leisure. The one-sheet is also designed to keep the client interested in the product, and it may include a number of selling points for the client to mull over.

Designing a good one-sheet is an art, and some graphic design companies specialize in the creation of one-sheets. Many companies spend a great deal of money on a wide range of promotional material which includes one-sheets. The quick visual impact of these promotional tools can be extremely powerful, as anyone who has seen a movie poster can tell you.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@helene55, I have also seen this and confess that it kind of annoys me as well. However, I was once told that many of the people you see handing out these product and event one sheets are not only getting paid to do so, but do not get any payment until they have handed out every single one. While I'm not sure how this could possibly be checked, since then I have decided to just accept every one I'm handed without complaint.


I live in a large city, and people are constantly standing around on the street trying to hand out one sheet posters of concerts, products, special deals, et cetera. Most of the time these one sheets are the size of a half sheet of printer paper, just enough to be really sort of annoying to constantly have people thrusting at you when you walk by. I had never seen this in the United States.

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