Derived from the French brocher meaning to stitch (as in several sheets stitched together), today a brochure is just as likely to simply be a single sheet folded two or three times. A brochure is a small booklet or leaflet that typically offers a summary of information or advertising about a product, place (such as a travel brochure), or service.
There is no single form or size for a brochure although the letter size tri-fold is common for brochures as well as business letters and newsletters. Larger brochures herald back to their original stitched roots, composed of several folded and nested saddle-stitched pages.
Designing a BrochureA brochure is one of a range of documents known collectively as collaterals. The design varies depending on the purpose of the brochure but some general guidelines include:
- Create a Compelling Cover
Treat the first panel as the cover of a book, magazine, or newsletter. Draw the reader in with a strong visual and/or strong message. Make the reader want to take the brochure from a rack or open it and read it after receiving it from a salesperson.
- Avoid Gray Text In Any Color
Break up text into short sections. Follow all the basic rules and guidelines for good text composition.
- Let Pictures Do The Talking
Use a careful selection of artwork that supports the purpose of the brochure. A travel brochure needs luscious photos of the location. A product brochure should show pictures of the product, perhaps illustrations or drawing showing how it works. If applicable, include a map showing the location of the business or organization. A designer might include a collage of samples of their work (like a mini-portfolio). A theater group could have scenes from some of their productions. A brochure for a seminar might include headshots of the key speakers.
- Add a Call To Action
If the purpose of the brochure is to sell a product, provide a means of ordering it or locations where it can be purchased. If the purpose is to get the reader to make a phone call, ask them to call and display the phone number prominently. Hand-in-hand with the call to action, provide contact information. This can range from a company name and phone number to a map with store hours to an email address and Web address. Include whatever contact information is appropriate for the company or organization creating the brochure.
- Beef Up The Back Panel
Don't shortchange the back panel of the brochure. The reader may not always encounter the brochure face up with your compelling message and visuals beckoning. Make the back panel visually interesting too. If created as a self-mailer, this is likely to be the first panel the recipient encounters. Repeat a version of your headline or other hook in this area or something as simple as a fancy arrow and a "Look Inside to Find Out How to … " message.
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