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project pointers brochures

Project Pointers: Brochures

Whether you’re designing in-house or for a client, brochures are classic method of attracting attention and promoting your brand in a tangible way.

From graphic design to paper choice, there’s a lot that goes into creating an effective and attractive brochure. Start by asking yourself two questions:

  1. Who is your client?
  2. Who is the intended audience?

When you understand your client and their objectives, as well as their target audience, you can create a design that will clearly and confidently communicate the desired message.

Let’s get started:

1. Who is your client?

It’s important that the style and tone of the brochure fits your client.

Begin the design process with them in mind: what products do they make? What services do they provide? Clients who produce luxury goods will want their brochures to reflect that, whereas a non-profit organization or charity may want something a little more plain and understated that focuses on the message rather than graphics.

It’s also important to consider short term objectives. Is this brochure promoting a giveaway at an event? Is it an informational brochure that asks readers to visit the website? Understanding these objectives will help you determine what information to emphasize using design techniques like proximity, the rule of thirds, and alignment.

2. Who is the intended audience?

Understanding the target market makes it easier for you to create a more effective brochure, so take the time to get to know your client’s target audience. Talk to the people who interact with the customers, such as sales or service representatives, to find out what the target audience wants or needs from this product or service and build your design around their answers.

brochure design

Image source: Evan Courtney via Flickr

Use the brochure to explain how your audience will benefit from selecting your brand, what problem you can solve, and what you can do for them rather than highlighting all of your accomplishments.

Selecting Paper

The paper you select for your brochure is one of the first things the customer sees. A paper that feels and looks high-quality will create a favorable, lasting impression of your client’s brand, even if the brochure gets tossed a few minutes later.

When you’re selecting a paper, consider these questions:

  • What size is your brochure?
  • How durable does the paper need to be?
  • Are there any print or paper finishes you should avoid or emphasize?
  • Should you use coated or uncoated paper? If your brochure includes a lot of images and illustrations, it’s best to use coated paper. Coated papers are also more durable than uncoated.
Pro Tip: Select a sheet with a fairly high opacity to prevent text from showing through.

It can be hard to find a balance between function and form, and the cost of production can limit what options are available. If you are only creating a limited run of brochures, splurging on a high quality paper can make a greater impact on readers.

Here are some of our favorite papers for brochures:

Paper Options

Glossy

Glossy paper is ideal for printing photos or illustrations.

Futura White Paper

Smooth

Smooth paper is a clean and classic choice for any brochure.

Exact Digital Color Copy 98 HD Hyper White Paper

Crane’s Lettra

Crane’s Lettra is great for creating unique LetterPress designs.

CRANE'S LETTRA Fluorescent White Paper

Brochure Design

An effectively designed brochure combines eye-catching design with informative content. How you arrange your copy and design elements has a significant impact on how well your brochure communicates your message.

Be Unique

Don’t be afraid to move away from the typical brochure format! A design that stands out from the crowd is more likely to be picked up and opened by your target audience. For example, smaller brochures fit into purses, bags or pockets, meaning that people are more likely to hold onto them.

You should also think about how and where these brochures will be displayed and distributed and incorporate that into your design.

Be Concise with your Copy

Copy is the most important element of any brochure. You want the copy to entice the reader to learn more about your company and answer your call to action without bogging them down with an excess of information, so don’t use complicated language or include too much text. Focus on aspects of the company, product or service that will interest the reader, but keep it short.

brochure design

Image source: orangefred3 via Flickr

Pro Tip: Use bullet points to draw attention to key details and keep readers focused on the overall message of the brochure.

9 Tips for Designing Effective Brochures

Keep these tips in mind when you’re designing your brochure:

  1. Use brand colors as a starting point for your design to ensure that you maintain corporate identity.
  2. Don’t overload your brochure with different fonts. If the client uses a brand font, stick with that one and select one or two others that compliment it.
  3. Check your copy for mistakes.
  4. Check your copy again.
  5. Know your print size before submitting the brochure for printing. If the printer has to alter the size of your layout to fit the paper size, it can impact the final printed product.
  6. Always allow for bleed.
  7. Make sure your photos and illustrations have the correct DPI to print crisp, clear images.
  8. Include a call to action to encourage your readers to engage further with your brand.
  9. Make sure to include the name, website, social media accounts contact information, and email in a visible location. Don’t make customers work to find you. You may consider including a QR code to direct readers to a website with more detailed information.

Designing a Sure Thing

Paper choice and effective, pleasing graphic design are key to creating a memorable brochure that clearly communicates your message.

Steph Schinkel
Steph Schinkel

Steph is an avid crafter, DIY enthusiast, and regular contributor to The Paper who loves to handmake all of her cards. Above all else, Steph is a die-hard foodie with a massive sweet tooth and a deep, soul-consuming love for chocolate.