If you are trying to figure out what are the best programs for brochure design, you might get overwhelmed by choice. I tried and tested most of them and came up with this list of some of the best programs that can help you get the best results.
Of all print materials that you can utilize as a part of your marketing mix, brochures and pamphlets are the ones that are most focused on your goals. They are usually used to promote particular products during a campaign. Unlike catalogs, which always list the entire company offer and are more expensive to produce, brochures are far cheaper for printing and can help you directly with sales.
With the right software creating a brochure became a relatively straightforward task. Once you have the copy (text for the pamphlet), all you have to do is select the right visuals and use some of the templates that come with the design software. In no time, you will have your brochure ready for print.
Whether you are a professional designer or a design hobbyist, picking the right programs for a particular design project can be challenging. There are plenty of available options. Some of them require time to master all the available tools, while others are relatively limited with options and capabilities. So, this list is here to answer the big question: what are the best programs for brochure design?
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How to pick the right design software?
The number of options for design software is great. Depending on your skills, you can go from easy drag-and-drop solutions. You customize already available templates to professional software that gives you a blank canvas for your creativity.
We analyzed the user-friendliness of the apps, the learning curve, their price, and the final results you can get for this article. The idea was to see which one gives you the best balance of performance and cost and help you find the right software to make a brochure.
So before you decide on one of the options mentioned below, you will need to ask yourself a few questions. How fast do you need the design? Do you plan to do design work occasionally, or will it be part of your weekly tasks? Do you have enough time to sit down and learn how to use some of the specialized software? Are you creative enough to make designs that will look polished and professional? By answering these questions, you will get an idea about the type of software you might need.
Professional graphic design software
Programs such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or Affinity Design are in a league of their own. They are the professional standards, and their results cannot compare to any other software mentioned in this article.
Professional graphic design software gives you absolute control over your designs. All the available tools open an entirely new universe to turn concepts and ideas into reality. Once you master these applications, you can quickly make designs from scratch.
The biggest challenge with professional programs for graphic design is the very steep learning curve. You won’t be able to just open the program and start designing. To create even the simplest brochure, you will have to spend some time learning the basics of any of these apps. Fortunately, there are plenty of available free tutorials on YouTube and other learning resources online.
Adobe InDesign (US$20.99/mo)
Ever since its launch, InDesign established itself as the leader in desktop publishing. Just like any other software from Adobe, InDesign comes with a robust set of professional tools. Once you learn how to use it, you will create any type of material intended for print or digital distribution.
Keep in mind that InDesign requires a lot of time to master. There are plenty of resources available for learning online. You can also find many customizable brochure designs on template markets, such as Creative Market and Envato Elements.
- A powerful set of tools. With all available options, there is no creative concept that you cannot make a reality with InDesign.
- Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud. You can expand the capabilities of InDesign with seamless integration with other Adobe software.
- Advanced font management. With integrated TypeKit support and access to Adobe Fonts, you can quickly find a typeface perfect for your design.
- Large library of free brochure templates that you can tweak and customize in InDesign.
- Price. If you are looking for a tool for occasional brochure design, paying US$20 per month might be too much.
- Steep learning curve. You won’t be able to open it for the first time and start making your brochure. It will take a lot of time and practice before you would be able to do it.
Affinity Publisher (US$49.99 one-time purchase)
Even though it exists only a couple of years, Affinity Publisher quickly became InDesign’s biggest competitor in desktop publishing. Even though InDesign stills has some competitive advantage, you can find almost all tools in Affinity Publisher as well. You can also expand its capabilities by purchasing other apps from the package. Apps such as Affinity Photos, used for photo editing, and Affinity Design, used for graphic design and vector graphics.
- Price. Once you purchase the software license for US$49.99, you own it, and you will get all the next updates for free.
- Available for various platforms. You can use it on Windows and Mac, and the upcoming version will work on iPad OS.
- Steep learning curve. You will have to dedicate time and effort to learn how to use Affinity Publisher. Once you know how you will be able to create unique designs with ease.
- A small library of available templates and plugins. Compared to available options for InDesign, theme markets have significantly smaller collections of customizable brochure templates.
Free and freemium programs for brochure design
These services provide you with extensive libraries of premade templates. You can browse through their collection, pick the designs you find interesting, and customize it right away. Their user interface is usually very intuitive and easy to use. If you want to add additional elements to your designs, you just have to drag and drop the elements on the project canvas.
The majority of these platforms are freemium. This means that the basic version of the app is entirely free. However, paid versions usually have more superior editing options and a far greater selection of templates.
This is one of the most popular online platforms for non-designers. It allows you to create designs for any project you might need quickly. Their library has over 800 easy to customize brochure templates. All you have to do is to pick a layout that you like and start customizing it.
- Easy to use. From the moment you open the app, you can quickly start editing your first brochure design.
- Large selection of templates. There are over 800 brochure templates currently available.
- Quick results. Canva is an excellent solution if you need some design quickly. If you have a ready copy for your brochure, it will take you just a couple of minutes to make your design.
- Limited options for exporting files. You can export your designs as PDF or image files.
- Overused designs. Canva is one of the biggest design platforms, meaning templates have already been used for other brochures.
Like its most prominent competitor Crello also offers templates and tools to make your brochure. They have plenty of short video tutorials that can help you quickly start working on your project. The entire interface is user-friendly, so you won’t have much trouble finding your way around the app.
- Beginner friendly. Crello offers plenty of video tutorials for a smooth start.
- Drag and drop. This makes assembling your designs very easy and intuitive.
- Stock photos library. Crello gives you access to its extensive royalty-free stock photos collection.
- A limited number of templates. They have a smaller catalog of templates. However, combined with free stock photos, the limitation is not that big.
- PDF and JPEG export file formats.
Adobe Spark (freemium)
Unlike its older cousins InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, Spark comes with a much-limited set of tools. Still, the available templates make up for the initial limitations. Spark’s tools combined with unique color palettes give you many opportunities to create your unique designs.
- Simple to use. Just like most web-based tools, Adobe Spark has easy to navigate user interface.
- Color palette generators. With the help of this feature, you can create color palettes from the images you plan to use for your design. This way, you can create looks that are much better tied together.
- Steep learning curve.
- A limited number of templates. Adobe Spark comes with a much smaller template library.
The only completely free alternative to the professional desktop publishing tools is Scribs. As an open-source desktop publishing tool, it works on Linux, Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, and many other operating systems. It offers impressive features that can help you create the brochure design you want. Keep in mind that also with Scribs, you’ll have to spend some time learning how to use it.
- Price. It’s free, and it cannot get better than that.
- Supports industry standards, colors, measurements, and layouts. This will ensure that once you send files to the printer, there will be no unpleasant surprises.
- Steep learning curve.
- Not as powerful as other professional programs. Also, keep in mind that finding customizable templates can be very hard.
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Microsoft Publisher (free with Microsoft 365 subscription)
If you have Microsoft 365 subscription, then Microsoft Publisher can be a decent ally if you need to create promotional materials for an in-office event, school bake sale, or promotional material for a small business. However, this is the weakest of all professional tools we listed here.
- Good integration with Office apps. If you get it as part of a Microsoft 365 subscription, you can do some basic design work with it very quickly.
- Familiar interface. Those who use any app from the Office suite can quickly find their way around this app.
- Very limited options. It is great for personal or office use, but this is not a professional design tool. Getting files suitable for printing can be very difficult.