With all free and freemium software options, it’s never been easier to create a brochure design for your business. However, creating a successful brochure that grabs attention and reaches its marketing goals requires preparation and research. Learn how to design a brochure for your business with our easy-to-follow tips.
Brochures are compact, easy to distribute, and can contain a lot of valuable information. All this makes them a very valuable part of the marketing mix. They can be used for various purposes, such as: informing potential clients about the opening of a new business, providing them with a snapshot of your offer, or offering particular benefits and contact information.
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They are also easy to distribute. You can hand them out at large gatherings, distribute them door-to-door or insert them in publications. They are perfect for targeting a group of people in a particular area. It’s no wonder why most local businesses and regional companies use them frequently.
Brochures serve an excellent purpose for referrals. Some 48% of people save brochures, flyers, and direct mail for future reference. Also, 39% of people decide to try out new business after seeing a print ad, and 29% pass on printed ads to their friends and family.
Source: Sagar Paul at dribbble
Why are brochures important for your marketing mix?
Print materials are still an essential part of the marketing mix. Consider that 88% of people spend at least 2.8 seconds looking at a print ad, compared to only 4% of people who spent roughly the same time looking at a digital ad. You can quickly understand why print is still essential today. And in the research conducted by Marketing Sherpa, 76% of people said they prefer direct mail (brochures, flyers, and catalogs) to digital ads.
Print can be a powerful ally in establishing brand identity, reinforcing the brand message, and raising brand awareness. Research by neuromarketing company True Impact shows that people need 21% less cognitive effort when processing information from print ads compared to digital.
The same study also showed that 75% of people could easily retrace information they saw in the print ads compared to 44% of those who saw a digital version of the ad. So it comes as no surprise that print is still an essential part of most marketing strategies.
Types of brochures
With the advancements of print technologies, you can create brochures and pamphlets in any format and size imaginable. There are some fifteen types of brochure folding, but these four types are industry standards.
- Bi-Fold Brochure is a widely used format among businesses and corporations. Because of its more formal style, bi-folds are usually used for promotional materials for trade shows, presentations, or corporate meetings.
- Tri-Fold Brochure is the most commonly used type. It has enough space for designers to layout graphics, images, and copy. Tri-fold is also small enough for easy distribution.
- Z-Fold Brochure or accordion fold is popular because of its versatility. Designers can use each panel as a separate space. However, once unfolded, the entire spread can be used for a bigger design.
- Gate Fold Brochures are not very common, mainly because of their cost. They are usually printed on premium paper and are most commonly used for the promotion of luxury items.
Source: Matt Brown at dribbble
The brochure design process in a nutshell
You can select the type of brochure you like the most, find a template in Canva or Adobe Spark and start designing. You can even decide to use some professional design programs. However, if you want to make a brochure that will benefit your business, you need to do a few things in advance to ensure the end result will be the right one.
The entire process can be divided into three phases. The more steps you complete in each stage, the better the final results will be.
- The first phase includes research, setting key performance indicators, and creating a concept.
- The second phase is the phase where the design and content for the brochure are being made.
- The third phase consists of proofing, approval, and printing.
Phase one: Research, KPIs, and concept
The first phase is essential because it helps you get the necessary information and inspiration to speed up the design process. You can start creating your designs right away. However, this phase will ensure that designs will bring you desired results.
It would help if you did research what your competitors are doing. What kind of print ads do they utilize, and who are they targeting them with. Researching your closest competitors or similar industries will help you come up with your ideas or refine the ones you have. It will also give you valuable insight into how competitors promote their business and what you can do to improve your marketing activities.
Now, every marketing effort needs to have some measurable goal so you can see if the entire endeavor was profitable or not. Brochures, in general, can be used for different things. You can use them for promotion, sales, or even educating your customers about some topics related to your business. Whichever purpose you select, it will help you later set up the KPIs.
Key performance indicators help you determine if the goal you set for your campaign has been reached or not. If the campaign was successful, you would know what worked and use it again in the future. If not, you can quickly identify what didn’t work and make necessary changes for the next campaign.
All these steps should give you a rough idea about the look of your brochure. You can create your first concept and ask your friends and family about their honest opinion. You want to sharpen your idea as much as possible before you move to the second phase.
Source: Christos at dribbble
Phase two: Content and design
The second phase is creatively most challenging. If it’s your first time creating marketing material, it can be rather time-consuming. Or perhaps you might discover that you have a hidden talent for writing marketing copy or design. Whatever is the case, phase two should be done in the following order.
Once you have an idea of the purpose of the brochure, you can start writing the copy. Usually, you can start with defining one key message and call to action. Both should be clear and easy to understand and without any room for double interpretation. Writing a piece of copy can be a tricky part for two reasons. People either try to put too much information in one brochure or get writer’s block due to the format’s constraints.
It is always best to come up with too much text then none at all. During the design process, you will most likely have to shorten and change the text you prepared. Every writer will tell you that it is always much easier to delete a few pages than to come up with a few additional sentences.
When creating copy for brochures, keep in mind that no one likes to read long blocks of text. Instead, try to break it with headlines, sub-headers, and bullet points. Make the copy dynamic and easy to skim through it. Most people will glance at it, so you want to think of attention-grabbing headlines and block quotes.
Preparing the visual elements
One thing that many businesses forget when they create promotional materials is their brand identity. The elements that visually describe the look and feel of your brand will help you assemble your final design. Brand logo, colors, and fonts should be used in your design to amplify your brand message and identity.
The amount of text in your brochure will dictate the number of images you can use. You should always select pictures after you have your copy ready. They should help the reader visualize the information you are sharing. If you plan to use stock photos, make sure that they closely reflect your brand’s image.
Design for your readers, not your business
Just make sure that you are designing your brochure with the reader in mind. As a business owner, you might want your brochure to talk about your business, the excellent service you offer, or how amazing your products are. Still, like every piece of marketing material, handouts should focus on your target audience.
Think about the reasons they might need your product or service and how it can help them. By focusing on your audience, you will make a brochure that will likely bring you the desired results.
Creating brochure design
This is usually the part that most people think of when they google “how to design a brochure for my business.” With all the necessary elements ready, creating a brochure design shouldn’t be a very challenging task.
You will have to find the best program for brochure design. If you are an absolute beginner and haven’t done any design work in your life, maybe you should pick some online platforms like Canva, Adobe Spark, or Crello. They have extensive libraries of high-quality customizable brochure templates. It will take just a few minutes until you have your design ready.
Source: Elivera at dribbble
Suppose graphic design is something you are very passionate about. In that case, you should consider some professional design programs like Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or Affinity Publisher. They have a steep learning curve, but there are plenty of free online resources that can help you master these apps.
Phase three: Proofing and printing
Once you have the final design ready, you are all set for the final phase. Before you send your files to the printer and start distributing them, you’ll have to check the designs and ensure that everything is correct. Unlike social media or blog posts that you can easily edit, once your brochure is printed, any additional changes will cost you.
So before you send your brochures for printing, make few test copies and ask yourself, your family, friends, and some of your clients the following:
- Is design grabbing your attention?
- Is the message clear?
- Do you understand the CTA?
- Is the brochure design in line with the company branding?
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If all answers to these questions are positive, you can send your design to the printer. Before you give a green light for the printing of the entire batch, make sure to make a few test prints. It will help you see if the colors match the design and if there are some other things that you need to tweak.
Like every creative work, making a brochure design can seem overly complicated and frustrating at first. However, if you do a little bit of research and some planning, the entire process can be fun, even if you don’t have any designing experience.