A printed brochure is an integral part of the sales process. It serves as a leave-behind after a sales call or meeting with prospective customers. It is also used as a way to respond to inquiries or to introduce new products or services when cold calling. As part of a direct mail campaign, it can be sent with a sales letter or used as a self-mailer. And finally, a brochure can be displayed at the point-of-purchase to interest customers in additional products or services or to provide information.
The best part is a brochure can be tailored to any printing budget. Whether it is a simple one color bi-fold, a two color tri-fold, or an elaborate full color die cut folder, a brochure effectively serves the organization’s marketing objectives.
The Elements of a BrochureMost all brochures share certain characteristics. They have:
- Written copy
- Graphics in the form of photographs, illustrations, diagrams, charts, or graphs
- An underlying organization
- The company or organization’s identity and contact information
Writing the CopyTo write effective copy for your brochure, you need to know your audience, know your product or service, and be able to translate the product or service features into recognizable benefits for your audience. A good way to translate features into benefits is to think, “What’s in it for me?” For example, if your product is made of a different type of material than your competitor’s, the benefit could be that it will last longer or maintain its appearance.
An effective brochure uses concise writing that leads the reader to the important points. Rather than a straight text narrative, brochures use bulleted lists, headlines and subheads, reverse type, captions, and pull quotes to emphasize the message.
Creating Visual InterestVisual images help readers understand complicated concepts, retain more of what they read, and stay interested. Images are what typically catch the reader’s attention first and often generate an emotion that leads to a sale.
The internet is a good source for professional-quality collections of images, particularly illustrations, drawings, and stock photography that can be licensed for a small fee. You may also be able to obtain images from your trade association, product manufacturer, or a professional organization within your industry.
There are many ways to design the cover of a brochure. One simple option is to use your company’s name and logo as the cover design. This is a versatile option and may be quite effective if your company logo is unusual or generates interest.
A second option is to think of the outside panel of your brochure as the front cover of a book. Be sure the design informs the reader of the content, indicates the intended audience, and sufficiently engages the readers in order to catch their interest. Sometimes this can be done by using a photograph that shows people representing the target audience engaged in an activity that is related to the topic of the brochure. If you are designing a brochure that will be displayed in a rack, be aware of how much of the cover will be visible and plan your design accordingly.
The Underlying Organization
When laying out a brochure, keep in mind the order in which the panels of the brochure will become visible as the reader unfolds it, and put the parts of the story on the appropriate panel. A good method to determine when a specific panel will be revealed is to fold a piece of paper into a brochure. Write a number sequentially on each panel as it becomes visible to you, and use the numbers to determine the sequence of the story.
One exception to this method is the back cover. If you are designing a brochure that is to be a self-mailer, then the back cover will be the mail panel where the return address, postage, and addressee information will be placed. If it is not a self-mailer, then the back panel is often used for company contact information.
Formats for Brochure Layout
To add interest and possibly tell the story more effectively, try a variation on the standard tri-fold brochure. For example, fold a 9 x 12 inch sheet like an accordion and you’ll have an entirely new way of revealing the panels. For another variation, fold an 11 x 17 inch sheet in half, then in half again to create an 8.5 x 5.5 inch, 8-panel brochure. Or fold in thirds to create a super sized 6-panel trifold.
The key to all these options is to gather several sheets of paper and start folding unfolding, refolding, and reverse folding until you find a number of panels in the right size and sequence to tell your story, one page at a time.
Professional Design and PrintingBecause a brochure needs copywriting, design, images, and layout, it can be very complicated and time consuming to create. Additionally, a professional looking brochure requires some complex pre-press skills. The brochure panel widths must be adjusted to accommodate the fold, with the amount of adjustment dependent on what type of paper is being used and it’s thickness. Selecting fonts and point sizes to be effective in small panels requires experience in typography. And since the cover of a brochure is so important for attracting reader attention, it requires the training and talent of a graphic designer.
We have been designing and printing brochures for our customers for over 20 years, and we’re experts at it. We are happy to provide you with an estimate for budgeting purposes or we can get started now if you are ready to proceed. For more information or to set an appointment, call Brigid at 215-923-2679 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.