How to Design a Brochure in 10 steps

Designers desk

1. Plan
2. Hire a professional
3. Know your branding
4. Use quality images
5. What’s the aim of the brochure and who will it be for?
6. Size and number of pages
7. Choose the right brochure format
8. Get the right balance of images and text
9. Typography – clarity and consistency
10. Organisation and flow

1 – Plan

Before you do anything it is essential to write a plan for your brochure design. Think about timescales, when do you want or need your brochure to be completed? How will the final brochure be produced, will it be printed or just sent to clients online? Do you have the content for the brochure including the images and text and if not will you be hiring a copywriter? Presuming you’ll be hiring a professional designer, do you already have a designer or will you need to contact graphic designers for quotes etc. You also need to think about the size including the number of pages you’ll need. If you’re working to a budget, you’ll need to consider the size and work out if you’re able to stretch to your wish list or if you’ll need to cut down on the number of pages. Obtaining quotes from designers, copywriters and printers will be an important part in the planning stage.

This initial step will not only help you have a clear vision for your brochure, it will enable your designer to understand your brief and ensure you’re both on the same page. They’ll appreciate the clarity before starting the design process and it will help ensure they work within your timeframe and budget.

2 – Hire a Professional Designer

If you’ve already got a good working relationship with a graphic designer, then this aspect of the process will be easy. You’ll be able to send them your brief, obtain a quote and start the ball rolling. If, however you don’t already have a designer, you’ll need to get in touch with a few to find out how they work, their design styles and also the costs involved. If you are working to a tight budget, then you might be tempted to create the brochure yourself. If you have experience of designing and your previous efforts have been a success, then this might be a viable option. If not and this isn’t your forte, then hiring a professional although increasing your initial outlay, could save you a lot of time and in the long run as well as increase your sales. A top quality brochure design can be the key to achieving your sales target.

3 – Know your branding

As with any marketing it is so important to already have your logo and branding in place. To know what your business is about, to know what image you want to convey and to ensure all of your promotional material and marketing works within your branding framework. You should make sure your designer is aware of your brand colours, any logo guidelines such as positioning or use on a dark background etc. Your final brochure design should sit alongside other promotional material and not look out of place. A clear well branded brochure will help instil confidence in your clients and potential customers. You want them to recognise your brand as this will also help them trust your business as a professional and reliable brand to buy from.

4 – Use Quality Images

Most brochures will have some kind of imagery whether it’s illustrations or photographs. If you are going to have your brochure printed you need to ensure all photos are at least 300dpi. If you have your own photos that you’d like to include, it’s really important that these look professional and don’t detract from your product or service. If you don’t have quality photos, then hiring a professional photographer is one option but if you are just needing some general photos then ask your designer about sourcing stock images. This option will help keep your costs down and should be able to choose from a selection to work with your text and branding.

5 – What’s the aim of your brochure?

Every brochure will have a different purpose. Some brochures will be an extension of a physical shop, something a customer can take away to help them choose a purchase. Your brochure might be posted directed to potential customers and therefore act more heavily as a standalone promotional tool for your business, services and/or products. However you plan on distributing your brochure, you need to think about what outcome you want when someone is looking at it. Do you want them to pick up the phone and call your business or are you just wanting to increase brand awareness? Will your brochure be promoting just one of your products or services or is it going to be marketing your whole business and what you do? The aim of your brochure will be very much linked in with your target market and who you want to be looking through your brochure. Establishing your aim and target market is essential when it comes to the design of your brochure. These aspects will affect the overall look, feel and layout. It is therefore important that you include this in your brief so that your designer can create a successful brochure design that achieves what you hope for.

From your planning you should have established who your brochure will be marketed at and what you hope your brochure will achieve. Knowing your audience will help you and your designer create a brochure which will appeal to your market and therefore achieve the outcome you are hoping for.

6 – Size and number of pages

It’s important to think about the size and number of pages in relation to the aims, target market, distribution and budget. Once you’ve collated your content your designer will be able to discuss with you the options available. Obviously the amount of content will greatly affect the size and number of pages needed. You will also need to consider the amount of text and images you’d like on each page and the size of fonts. Have a look around at other brochures, including your competitors and see what works. Do you need your photos to take up whole pages or will your reader be looking at the finer details within the text? If you are wanting to convey luxury, then having plenty of space between text and using large photographs can help give this impression. If you are having your brochure printed and budget is an issue, always obtain printing prices before reaching a decision about the size etc as these choices will affect your final printing cost.

7 – Choose the right brochure format

If you are choosing to have your brochure printed you will need to decide on the paper and print finishes of your brochure as well as how many you will need. In many cases it’s not necessary to have your brochure printed and an online PDF will be sufficient. Even if you are having your brochure printed, it is always a good idea to ask your designer for an online PDF file so you have the option of uploading it to your website and/or sending it to someone via email.

8 – Get the right balance of images and text

If you are hiring a copywriter to write your text, then you can discuss with them, the amount of text and the style of writing you want for your brochure. The aim of your brochure will also help you decide about what needs to be included. Too much text can put the reader off but too little and you risk losing the readers interest and confidence. As discussed previously, white space can have its advantages and large images can help sell your product or services. When you set the brief for the design of your brochure, you can discuss with your designer the aim of your brochure and they should be able to advise on the quantity of text and images which would work best. It’s usually a good idea to break up text with headings, highlighted sections and bullet points. Well constructed text, along with careful consideration to the placing and sizing of images is crucial in creating a successful design.

 9 – Typography – clarity and consistency

The fonts used within your brochure need to compliment your logo. You may already have brand guidelines which stipulate which fonts should be used. Always make sure you send any branding information to your brochure designer before they start the design process. Text should be easy to read and help reflect what your brand stands for and not distract from the content. As a general rule it’s better to not use more than two or maybe three fonts within the design. Some fonts come from a font family, which will give you a choice of weight and styles. Selecting a font family can give you some variety whilst keeping things consistent and ordered. The size of the fonts will also play a part in the number of pages who might need and the general layout. Key text should be large and/or bolder in some way in order to grab the reader’s attention and focus. Changing the colour of text or the background is also a great way to draw the reader’s eye.

10 – Organisation and flow

Your brochure not only needs to hold the reader’s attention, it needs to be clear and have an easy to follow structure. Obviously the more pages you have, the greater need to have a ‘map’ for the reader to use. By this I mean perhaps a contents page and/or clear structure and dividing of sections. In most cases when a brochure has a lot of pages the reader is unlikely to read or need to go through the whole brochure. This is why a contents page is vital to point them in the right direction. It is also important to have an organised structure to a page so page numbers and other important information such as contact details and section headings can easily be seen. The reader will soon pick up a pattern to the design if these aspects are consistent throughout. It is therefore important to take time when planning your page layout and over all content structure.

In Conclusion…

Before diving into creating a brochure it is so important to take time to plan and consider these 10 steps. It’s important that you have a good working relationship with your brochure designer who will understand your brief and be able to design a brochure which will work for your business and help market your product and/or services to potential customers.

Would you like a quote for designing a brochure? We’d love to discuss your brochure project and send you a quote. Call us on 01298 605010 or email: sales@ampmgraphics.com

Alternatively, click this link for brochure design prices and find out more information.

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am:pm graphics is a graphic design partnership based in Buxton, Derbyshire. We offer a range of quality, affordable graphic design solutions for print and web, helping our customers achieve a consistent professional identity across a variety of media.

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