Top 5 essential steps to good brochure design

July 5, 2009

As we all know, designing a brochure can sometimes be like trying to hit the ducks with a poorly aimed toy gun as they file by on a mid-way carnival game. Moving targets are always harder to nail down.

With a little planning up front, you can get a bull’s eye every time. Here’s where to start:

  • Write up the purpose of the piece in 25 words or less.
  • Identify the audience in a sentence or less, and include any secondary target
  • Outline the essential information to be included.
  • List the benefits or points of the information
  • Establish a timetable for execution and distribution.

Make sure that the purpose of the brochure is clearly understood. What is to be accomplished? Your brochure should have a specific function.

Like any media, a brochure should be carefully targeted. The audience will shape your voice, look at attitude and use of color, type and design. Know your audience as clearly as you know your purpose.

The distribution method will have a great influence on the design. Will the piece be handed out or mailed out in a bulk mailing. Is weight and postage cost a consideration? What is the life expectancy? Is it for a one-time event or will it be used for years?

Production and printing costs also need to be addressed. What’s the budget? How many do you need to print? Your budget may greatly influence your design. Can you afford illustration or photography, special folds or die cutting?

As your vision starts to take shape you may want to create a dummy mock-up. I prefer to make half-size dummies. I sometime show the client these mini mock-ups. I find that the small size makes them feel like the design is not so locked in and that they are still part of the design process.

Always remember to organize your files (read more about this) and keep your client abreast of the production schedule to make sure you meet your deadline.

Brochure design can be difficult and demanding because of its complexity. With a bit of planning you can deliver a successful solution.

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.