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What makes a good brochure design?

In this comprehensive guide, our team of expert graphic designers shed some light on the importance of brochures and the art of creating a real page-turner.

Despite the rise of digital technology over the past few decades, brochures remain an integral part of the marketing mix.

As the noise on social media intensifies and inboxes become saturated with emails, brochure design and other forms of printed marketing offer an effective means to cut through the din.

In this blog, we part some wisdom on what makes a good brochure design, especially when it comes to boosting your key business metrics.

The importance of brochures

Brochures still have an important role to play in the way businesses market themselves. Why? Because of their long-term impact.

With most content forms delivered via digital platforms, haptic print is becoming a powerful differentiator in a saturated marketplace.

Social content, PPC ads and blogs come and go. There are so many variables where your audience could miss your content.

Humans are naturally drawn to information attained through touch. It’s a part of our DNA. So, if you master the brochure graphic design and place it in their hands, they’re more inclined to keep it for future reference.

The conclusion of Bentley University’s survey on the relevance of brochures in today’s digital age also followed a similar pattern, as the statistics below reveal.

·       80% of people consider visiting a business they saw in a brochure.

·       7 out of 10 tourists and visitors will pick up brochures when they see one.

    • 95% of visitors who get a brochure become aware of a business.

Creating a good brochure design enables your business to develop its brand identity, add more depth than a paid ad, and disrupt your market.

Whether you’re attending an event or sending out a piece of lumpy mail to a dream customer, a brochure is a keepsake your prospects cannot scroll past.

It’s tangible. It’s effective. But only if you grasp the fundamentals of graphic design for brochures. Next slide, please. 👇

What makes a good brochure design? [8 creative tips]

#1 Use the format to your advantage 💡

First things first, you need to decide on what type of brochure design you want. It may seem like a simple choice, but there are dozens to choose from.

•   Half-fold– A standard type of brochure, often compared to a booklet.

     Tri-fold– A tri-fold brochure design is produced using two bends.

•       Z-fold– This brochure format looks like a zigzag and includes six equal parts.

• Gate-fold – This popular type of brochure design is referred to as a window fold.

Double gate-fold – The central part has two outer panels that fold in, and the piece is folded again.

Once you’ve figured out the format of your brochure design, it’s a case of creating a design that utilises the folds.

For instance, with a tri-fold brochure design, you can use each panel to describe features or focus on a theme. In terms of the content, this offers a more natural way to break sections up and will entice prospects to keep turning.

Also, don’t be afraid to stretch the graphic design over multiple pages. This effect can create a flow from panel to panel on any type of brochure design.

#2 Leave room for space 💡

What makes a good brochure design often isn’t what’s inside, it’s the stuff you deliberately choose to leave out. While utilising the format of the brochure is super essential, over-crowding is a common pitfall you want to avoid.

When you use white space to your advantage, it can elevate key points such as stats, headlines, infographics and images. White space adds much-needed contrast to your content and can help you produce a professional, minimal graphic design brochure.

A minimal graphic design brochure by Design in the Shires for Think Outsource

#3 The rule of four 💡

If you’re looking for a half-fold brochure design to cover a vast range of services or products, always think about the number of pages needed.

A half-fold brochure design should always go up in multiples of four. No ifs, no buts. At Design in the Shires, we often recommend 4, 8, 12 or 16 pages. Although if you’re planning on using a suite of high-resolution images, you may want to exceed this number.

A image-led brochure design by Design in the Shires for Pride & Joy Storage Solutions

#4 Make the CTA your focal point 💡

Why are you designing a brochure in the first place? To start a conversation and generate leads, of course. Sure, you want to build brand awareness. But the end goal always remains the same.

With this in mind, don’t be afraid to go big and bold with your call to action (CTA). Hiding vital contact details within paragraphs of text will frustrate prospects. You should include CTAs throughout the brochure.

A professional way of doing this is to add a footer and follow it up with a loud, eye-catching final CTA on the final page.

#5 Design with purpose 💡

Everything you do in your brochure design hinges on this point. Without considering the purpose of your brochure design, prospects will switch off and lose interest.

Your brochure isn’t about what you want, it’s about what your prospects need. Don’t just show and tell them what your product or service is. Demonstrate why they need it. When you sell the solution and use graphic design to highlight these points, your brochure will start to resonate.

Ask any quality copywriter, and they will tell you that content paragraphs should be capped at a maximum of 2-3 lines. It helps the copy flow and stops removes ugly, text-heavy sections. Even the warmest prospects don’t have the luxury of reading every brochure word for word. The world is far too busy. So, use short, punchy paragraphs and bullet points to your advantage.

Alternatively, you can always add boxes or convert facts into infographics to add a visual touch to your solution-led copy.

A Infographic brochure design by Design in the Shires

#6 Use colours to capture your identity 💡

According to Crowdspring, colour is a key factor for a brand. A signature brand colour can increase brand recognition by up to 80%.

So, when you’re planning your brochure design, don’t forget about the importance of your brand colours. If you have an expansive colour palette, don’t feel obliged to use every hue. Stick to your primary colours and use the secondary ones to add contrast to your CTAs or other points of interest.

A modern graphic design by Design in the Shires for Prokom

#7 Don’t forget the quality of the print 💡

You can create the best graphic design for a brochure, but if the print quality isn’t up to scratch, your hard work won’t generate a return on investment (ROI).

Digital print is often the cheapest and quickest option. However, if you’re trying to make an impact, consider print embellishment. Foiling, embossing, UV spot and textured effects can elevate a standard piece of print into something game-changing.

The print community, JetPros, revealed that profit margins on using digital print enhancement can be anywhere between 50% to 400%. That’s a staggering statistic.  

It’s also worth considering the following questions when you’re choosing a print company and style for your brochure design:
·     Does the print company offer digital proofs before printing my brochure design?
·       Can the print company offer embellishment services? And if so, are they able to help guide you on how to design for it?
·       Do they offer matte, semi-gloss and glossy finishes?
·       What type of paper weight is available and affordable?

#8 Think about paper stock 💡

As we mentioned in ‘The importance of brochures’ section, haptic/tactile print is a powerful part of the brochure experience.

Heavier paper stock can add a rich and luxurious feel to your brochure design. Remember, you want to make your prospects feel obligated to touch it and unable to part ways with it. The longer it stays on a desk, the more likely they are to eventually pick up the phone.

However, if you prefer a multi-folded brochure design, you’ll need a thinner stock. Just don’t go too thin, or it’ll feel disposable. A casing example being a takeaway leaflet, which usually ends up in the bin before placing an order.

Speak to a brochure design agency 📞

Need a hand with the graphic design for your brochure? At Design in the Shires, we can produce stunning brochure designs that’ll help you generate more business and make the perfect first impression.

Head to our portfolio page to see some examples of our work. Or if you’d like a price for a brochure design, get in touch with us today for a free quote.

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