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  5. 10 Simple Brochure Design tips

Here are some tips to help you create a brochure which really stands out from the norm!
We know there are brochure templates available for you to use, but these are not always professional enough for client work. These may have helped you learn enough to design brochures from scratch, but are you able to make them striking? To help make your brochures go from good to great is all in the design tips below.

01. What’s the purpose of the Brochure
Before you start, make sure your client outlines the reason for their design objective.
The first stage of any design project is to ask your clients why they want the brochure in the first place and what their design objectives are. It may be that their last brochure didn’t work for them. So, if they give you a brief, make sure to look at it thoroughly in order to see what they are hoping to achieve.

A brochure is normally to whet the appetite of a prospective buyer. It’s not a catalogue, so it doesn’t need lengthy technical information, but just enough content in order for them to get in touch for more. Too little information and this may lead them to think that you do not offer the product or service they need, so you have to strike a balance here.
Always keep the original purpose in mind when designing your brochure. Will the brochures be sent to people on request? Or are they to be given away at an exhibition in person or are they simply to be left behind for potential customers to pick up themselves? Any of these 3 methods will require a different approach to the design.

02. Fonts, less is more.
When planning your brochure design, whatever you do, don’t use loads of fonts! All you will need a font for the heading, the subheading and the main body of text, then the odd accent font for highlighting text of interest. Its easy to fall into the trap that in order to design something unique then you must use unusual fonts. This is a big fail, No-one wants to see a design full of script or gothic style fonts which are too difficult to read, these types of fonts need to be used for graphic effect rather than to explain something in detail.
It really is one the biggest design mistakes you can make to use too many fonts just because you have them at your disposal. If you can refrain from using more than 2-3 font families then this will mean that the overall design is much more professional looking; less is definitely more.

03. Decide on the size format.
Before you even turn your computer on, you need to talk about the size of the document. Typically brochures have always been A4, but due to postage costs we have noticed a rise in popularity of the A5 brochure printing which usually outsells A4 by two to one. You may even want to go for a square design. A 210mm square design is based on an A4, whereas a 150mm square design will be a similar price to an A5. Having a square brochure will make your design stand out from others if it’s sat with other standard A4 designs, but its not frowned upon to just stick to the standard A5 and A4 formats. If you are considering posting out a square brochure then you will probably need to purchase some square envelopes too. A square brochure in an ill-fitting rectangular envelope does not make a very good first impression, so consult your stationery supplier before you start designing your square layout.

04. Get your text right, the information, the tone and the spelling.
Quality written text or ‘copy’ as we refer to it is crucial to a good design. Its often undervalued and written by a staff member who thinks he/she knows best. But its worth exploring other avenues such as having your copy professionally written by someone who is not so close to the organisation, who therefore can create something not only new or fresh but be more objective about the tone needed to approach your potential customers.

It’s often the case that if the same person writes the copy because its always been that way, then you’re unlikely to get something which will catch the imagination of the reader. Good copywriters can easily be found on the Internet, and you can expect to pay only £25- £50 per 500 words.You can always advise a third party company on any product specific information which they may not have a full understanding of.

05. Keep it simple.
Keep your design as clear and simple as possible. Any busy design will make it difficult to read, and if this is case then you’re reducing down the chance of the customer reading it as they have limited patience.

When making a brochure that stands out, sometimes the simple ideas are the best. If your client chooses to have all the usual, overused images, it is probably best to advise against this. Instead, go for a typographical design and takes a literal approach to what they are trying to say. But avoid making it too ‘wordy’, your readers only have short attention spans. If they immediately decide that it’s going to be hassle to read it then they’ll switch off and put it down as quickly as they picked it up.

06. Produce a Wireframe?
This used to be known as drawing or sketching your ideas, but its become known now as ‘wireframing’; this is a line drawing of the design, mainly for layout purposes. It’s important to get this right and make sure your client signs this stage off before your proceed. Not getting your client to agree to this stage will mean repeating work, and this is likely to cost you money.

07. Stick to what works.
When thinking about how to make your brochure stand out, you should never make it too eccentric. Being different just for the sake of it never ends well. There is a reason why designers will reuse the same few fonts in all of their projects… it works! Take a look at what your competitors are up to. This sets the bar in terms of quality and information that they are providing and gives you a good indication of what you need to do in order to make sure your brochure is given a fair crack of the whip.

08. Quality images = quality brochure
Good quality photography will always make a product brochure more pleasurable to glance through. So if your budget won’t stretch to a product photo shoot, therefore you will need to use stock photos, but try to make sure that the images you use don’t look like stock images. There is nothing more fake than using a supermodel image for the girl on reception, it’s so transparent. This is an area you cannot cut corners with when designing. Poor quality imagery usually puts a doubt in your mind that the product is any good. Try to refrain from using photographs taken with a smartphone too. These are usually great for use within your social networks or on a website, but their low resolution normally means they will pixelate and look blurred when printed in a brochure.

We have seen that some companies spend the majority of the design budget on photography and keep the design work to a minimum. The saying ‘a picture speaks a 1000 words’ is very true. A high quality photograph can spark enough interest in your reader for them to contact you for more, assuming you have remembered to add your contact details of course.

9. 10 seconds to make a good first impression.
If your potential customer picks up your brochure and puts it straight down again you’ve lost. Or what’s even worse if they don’t pick it up at all. Your brochure design must send a good impression in the first 10 seconds or its overlooked.

It also has to build trust in your absence. It’s very likely that your brochure is going to be read without you being there to explain it or defend it. So it has to work in a logical flow from the front to the back cover. Depending on how many pages you have decided to go for then a contents page is always a good idea. This sounds simple but by having a content index allows your reader to skip to the part which interests them most. If they have to wade through loads of pages which are not relevant to them, then they are more than likely to get bored and put your brochure down, but if they can skip to the part which contains the information they need then you’re onto a winner.

10. Don’t forget to proof read it
You will need it proofed properly; this is done best by someone who hasn’t seen it before. It’s very easy to overlook grammatical errors and spelling mistakes particularly if you have been working on a document for any length of time. Having a fresh pair of eyes read over it before you go to print is imperative to ensuring you haven’t missed anything.

Dean Williams is a design and marketing blogger working for Print-Print Limited, promoting business and building brands through quality print marketing. If you’re interested in small business promotion then please get in touch hello@print-print.co.uk

About Dean Williams

Dean Williams is a design and marketing blogger working for Print-Print Limited, promoting business and building brands through quality print marketing. If you’re interested in small business promotion then please get in touch hello@print-print.co.uk