No matter your professional industry, product and service brochures are a staple of effective marketing schemes and are something every marketing or sales professional should be familiar with. Whether you work on contract or 40 hours a week for a major corporation, familiarizing yourself with brochure design will help you increase the value of your efforts and make you an inextricable part of any important project. (And - cross our fingers - earn you more money!)
Designing a brochure can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task, but there’s a way to simplify the process. Whether it's your first or 100th time, following these six steps in your next brochure design will be sure to save you time, resources, stress and hair pulling!
1. Identify your goals. Like any aspect of a marketing or advertising campaign, it’s imperative to define the goals of your brochure before you go any further in the process. This will streamline your vision, keep you focused when factors outside your range of goals present themselves, and will influence every other area of decision.
2. Determine your audience. A brochure directed at mid-level executives in the mining industry reads differently than one that targets tourists interested in exploring the jungles and natural waterfalls of Costa Rica. The offers are different, the tone is varied, and the content is chosen carefully. Why? Simply because it wouldn't work any other way. Like your goals, your audience is a factor in every decision of the brochure design process. Getting to know your target audience early in the process will provide the necessary coherence and overall tone for the rest of the project, and will help you immensely with step number three.
3. Draft your text. Writing brochure text is more than a one-time task. It’s important to keep in mind that revisions are not only part of the process, but that they’re a useful application of your time. With your goals and audience in mind, make a first draft of your text and give yourself time to work out the kinks.
4. Cull your images. If you’re working with a graphic designer in your firm, buying images from design websites, or creating your brochure graphics yourself, allow time for selecting the right ones. We’ve heard that a picture is worth 1,000 words, and with already limited space in your brochure, it’s crucial that your images intrigue, spark or captivate the attention and interest of your audience. The images you select can be the deciding factor in whether your brochure is thoroughly read or immediately tossed out.
5. Design your layout. In creating complicated pieces, we tend to look at the design first, putting in hours of time to create the perfect outline only to find that we haven’t left enough room for the text or images, or have completely ignored the motivations of our audiences. The brochure layout should complement the information you’ve offered, not drown it out. Saving this portion of the process until the end can help eliminate the risk of having to start over.
6. Create your covers. (Yes, plural.) The front cover of your product or service brochure is what your prospects will see first, and whether it’s brochures, albums or books, we often make quick assumptions about the content or tone of the information inside based on our first impression of the cover. The back cover of the brochure is equally important and should play on the action you want your recipients to take. Are you looking for a phone call, requests for consultations or a buying decision? Entice your prospects with one final thought and leave your contact information with a personalized URL or quick response code to help them learn more.
Things to Consider:
Variable data printing
Direct mail campaign piece
Statement stuffer brochures
Business or appointment card slits
Perforated business reply cards
Brochure design can seem like a tedious and strenuous task, but the reality is that it’s only as complicated as we make it. Doing things the right way and in the right order takes most of the complexity out of the mix and leaves behind a simple path to the most effective design and, consequently, the biggest ROI for your business. Learn to tackle brochure design like a pro, and capitalize on your growing professional value!