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How to Design a Brochure: The A to Z of Brochure Designing

Brochure designing is sensitive art.

Did Pablo Picasso or Leonardo Vinci or other virtuosos of the olden times hurriedly jump onto the canvas? No!

First, they delved into the deepest recesses of their mind, laid the blueprints for their masterpieces, and then and only then sketched what we call today as “timeless jewels”.

So before you even think about designing a brochure ask yourself the following questions.

And keep on asking them until you find the answers that are clear as day. Otherwise, your brochure design is going to turn out unfocused, unappealing and all-in-all a glaring mess.

Fortunately, there’s a roadmap for getting to these answers quickly. Let me show you the way.

RELATED: What is Brochure Design?

 What is the Message of my Brand?

Stop worrying about the aesthetics of the design. They will eventually come through. What matters the most is the text that’s going to represent your business. More specifically, the words that you’re going to use to grab the attention of your readers.

But how can you find the right words?

It’s simple: you find everything there is to know about your customers, the products they like, their client histories, what kind of language intrigues them to read on ― anything you can get your hands on. Treat this information as your bible, your guiding light in the shadows.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s suppose you’re designing a brochure to advertise your new bookshop. A sample message would be something like this.

“Come quench your thirst for knowledge; Books of all genres available at {Shop name} at affordable prices.”

Notice how simple the language is? It’s easily readable, doesn’t confuse the reader or divert his attention. Also, it mentions what your target audience really wants ― books of all genres and an affordable price. You’ve advertised your bookshop as if it’s a paradise for book fanatics; their very own book heaven.

But, please don’t just use this message verbatim. Your message should be unique; not a poor copy of something on the internet.

Use this as an example to find your own words.

Always remember that the message takes precedence over images and formats and sizes.

It’s the stepping stone, a strong foundation. If your foundation is shaky, your brochure is going to collapse like a house of cards.

What’s my Target Market?

Of course, the brochure is aimed at a certain group. But who are these people and how do I find them?

Different audiences have different tastes. You can’t use the same brochure for creative designers and photographers; that would be a fallacy − an unforgivable mistake.

To refrain from making such a grave mistake, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Who is my ideal customer?
  • What does he like?
  • What does he dislike?
  • What does he really want out of my services or product?
  • Is he a Millenial kid who is more receptive to images than text or a persnickety old grump who is fussy about the specifications of your products?
  • What strategies have worked in the past to entice him?

All of these questions revolve around your ideal customer because, in the end, he’s the only one who really matters. He’s a gold standard, a touchstone for all other customers.

How do I Gauge the Success of my Brochure?

Gauging the success of your brochure holds paramount importance.

If your brochure doesn’t sell a lot, and you keep on rolling it out like it’s a secret ingredient for success, you’re going to waste your time and money.

Sometimes, we put so much effort and painstaking labor in a brochure design that we go blind. Instead of accepting the fact that it is not performing well and will not yield the numbers, we reel in denial.

Sometimes, you have to accept that the fact that a total revamp is needed to get things on track.

Here are some simple ways to gauge the selling numbers of your brochures.

  • Slide in a coupon or voucher in your brochure and count how many of them are redeemed in your store. This will give you a rough estimate, something to go on.
  • If it’s an E-brochure, designed for your website, you can insert a URL on the pamphlet and track the traffic.

How much can I spend on the Brochure?

Embark upon the journey of making a brochure design that costs thousands of pounds with only a few hundred in your pocket, and you’ll have to spend the rest of your days stranded at sea.

While analyzing the total cost of the brochure, the following factors come into play.

  • The number of brochures you want to print.
  • Cost of paper
  • Cost of printing techniques

Always have a rough budget per print in mind and then tread accordingly. Your budget will dictate the following decisions.

  • The thickness of the paper
  • Type of Illustrations used
  • Inking choices
  • Printing techniques

Of course, if you have a solid budget, you can invest in the best paper, the best ink etc. etc. But the best designs don’t necessarily break the bank. They are just a concoction of smart choices. In the end, it all boils down to squeezing the best out of every buck.

RELATED: How Much Does It Cost to Have a Brochure Designed?

Finally, Designing the Brochure

After you’re done with the thinking and planning, it’s time to build your magnum opus, a creative design that casts a spell on your readers.

Choose the elements of Your Design in Accordance with your Brand personality

What do I mean?

Let me clarify this point with an example.

Suppose you’re opening an online educational platform for lawyers. You’re uploading videos pertaining to complex law concepts, making interactive quizzes and another hoopla to help law students.

Now, you can’t really make a brochure that’s pink and flashy. Law is a respectable profession. The black color is almost always associated with it. Partly because lawyers wear black advocate gowns.

So, you go with the black color or something along those lines and choose the rest of the details ― the font, the images – keeping your target audience in mind.

Your Brand identity is key. Know it, study it and let it shape your design.

Pick the Type of Brochure

This might be new information for you, but brochures come in a variety of different folds ― 15 in total. Choosing the right brochure type is tricky business, to say the least.

All you have to keep in mind is that the choice of brochure design depends on the message of your brand.

If the message of your brand is simple and comprised of only a few sentences, a classic tri-fold will suffice. However, if you want to convey bundles of information, an 8-panel roll fold or a 16-panel roll fold are more suitable options.

If you’re the owner of a technical brand and want to give a step-by-step tutorial to refine and elucidate the message of your brand, go with the Four Panel Roll Fold.

Also, figure out how you’re going to present your brochure.

  • Is your brochure going to occupy a place on a shelf?
  • Are you going to squeeze it in a bag with other promotional treats?
  • Are you going to mail it?

This information will play a pivotal role in deciding which fold will fare well for your brochure.

Assemble the Graphic Ammunition

Before inking the design, gather your copy and images. This will ensure your design doesn’t face untoward stoppages, and important decisions about layout, font sizes etc. are made on the go.

Choose just the right size for your copy

Those oversized blocks of texts aren’t advisable. They occupy a lot of space and confuse and overwhelm the reader.  But don’t go for an extremely small copy either that readers have to see through the thick lens of a magnifying glass. Choose something in the middle.

Headlines and subheadings, bullet points, footers will help you structure your text, give it an appealing shape. Catchy and punchy headlines are your chance to make a stellar first impression. Don’t let this chance go to waste.

Now, insert only those images which are compatible with your brand story, at suitable places, and discard the rest.

In this age of Instagram and Tumblr, graphic candy seduces the audience more than anything else.

Let your Style Make the Difference

In the end, stylistic elements are going to put that finishing touch to your design.

Say No to an Excess of Aesthetic Detail

Some people design brochures that seem as if someone has carelessly spilled all the glitter and the text and the images on it. What a mess!

Keep it neat and clean.

Otherwise, it will get on the nerves of the reader, confound him, and make him doozy.

Hand-sketched illustrations separate ordinary designs from the extraordinary ones. Consumers are tired, weary to the bone, of seeing the same designs pop up in front of their eyes. They want ingenuity, a design that titillates their senses and arouses their curiosity, not some banal crap that makes them yawn.

Dare to think different. Search your imagination. Come up with something no one has ever thought of before. Bring it to life.

 Call-to-Action is King

The whole reason you’ve gone through the painstaking trouble of making a design is snatching customers. So, if you’re not tempting them to take action, not luring them towards your business, what are you doing?

All your physical and mental exertions are like filling water in a glass with no bottom.

Make sure that the text that calls your reader to take action is conspicuous and not hiding under a boulder of text. You want people to see it. Vividly. Glaringly. Unquestioningly.

Also, give it a spot on multiple locations on your brochure. So that no matter which page the reader is skimming through, the CTA’s right there for the taking.

Rolling out Your Brochure: The Final Stage

The design is done and dusted. You’re almost ready to show it to the world. But wait, not so quick, there’s still some work to do.

Proof it one final time

This is your one last chance to check for errors or make changes. Make sure you don’t miss this opportunity. One small mistake can ruin days of hard work.

Give Your Brochure a Design a Score

  • Points for the message of the brochure
  • Points for the Graphic appeal
  • Points for the Call-to-action
  • Points for Consistency with the Brand Identity

Then ask yourself, is the final score to your satisfaction? If not, how can you improve it?

And don’t just ask these questions to yourself. Take a second, third or even a fourth opinion if you have to.

Choose the Right Printing Service

A state-of-the-art printing can make a world of difference in your final brochure design. Choose an average service and your design comes out as a pixelated, blurry version of what you envisioned.

I would strongly advise you to acquire the services of a printer that has a history of brochure printing, has cutting-edge equipment, and an army of skilled designers to ensure any problems in your design are resolved on-the-spot.

Also, consult with your printing service to decide on the best printing materials for your brochure. Here are some important points to touch on.

  • Paperweight

This is to ensure the thickness and the weight of the brochure is to your liking.

  • Finish

After finalizing the paper, it’s time to finalize the finish. Here are your options.

  1. Matte: A moisture resistant finish that eliminates all shine and gives a flat smooth finish.
  2. Semi-Gloss: a blend of Matte and glossy finishes. It’s shiny but not as shiny.
  3. Glossy: Highly reflective. It provides a glimmering shine.

Again, the choice of finish will largely ride on the identity and message of your brand.

  • Special Features

Some printing services offer some special features that provide an extra-something to your brochure. Here are some of them.

  • UV Spot: Gives a shiny texture to your text and images.
  • Emboss: Buries images into the background to make them seem elevated.
  • Foil: A beaming ink that provides a radiant shine.

The Verdict:

This is a comprehensive guide on how to create a brochure that makes a solid statement in front of your audience. Cater to every instruction carefully and you will have a brochure that both you and your customers adore.