In this world of hyperactive, interactive, always-connected consumers, a well-designed brochure is still an indispensable part of your marketing toolkit. Of course, customers will use the internet to find businesses and compare prices. But there is something undeniably comforting about having an attractive brochure within easy reach while considering a purchase decision.
With today’s powerful, affordable printers, a well-designed brochure doesn’t have to cost much. However, planning and writing it will take some concentrated effort. To make the best use of your time, focus on the basics.
The four most common design blunders
The owner of a small business once told me, “Get the fundamentals right, and the details tend to take care of themselves.” That advice would easily apply to many aspects of growing a small business, but in this case, the person speaking happened to own a print shop, and they were talking about designing a brochure.
It may seem counter-intuitive for the owner of a printing business to downplay the value of their own professional design services. But as he explained, his best work couldn’t shine if his client ignored a few, basic design principles. Here then, are four of the most common brochure blunders.
Forgetting to checking grammar and spelling
We all make mistakes. A spelling error in a personal email is forgivable, but any kind of sloppiness or lack of attention to details when creating marketing materials can cast doubt on your professionalism. Microsoft Word and other word-processing programs have very good spelling checking systems, but even those tools can misread text that is specific to your business. Always have someone else to read through the text, slowly and out loud. As any writer will tell you, it’s very difficult for a writer to proof their own work objectively.
Making it difficult to read
Several factors contribute to readability. First of all, the text must be large enough. Depending on the font used, that usually means at least 11-point type. The text should be set on a contrasting background — preferably white. Light gray text may have a contemporary feel, but unless your customers have the eyesight of a 25-year-old graphic designer, you might as well be composing the words in Latin.
Resist the temptation to cram each page with as much text as you can. Group text into small, bite-sized paragraphs. Use bold headlines and bullet points to emphasize the key points you want to get across.
Considering the time that you’ll invest in writing the copy for your brochure, it would be nice to know that your prospective customers will actually read it!
Using too many colors
Reserve your palette of bright, bold, attention-grabbing colors for the headline or the cover page. The bulk of the text in your brochure should be dark grey or black. Allow for plenty of spacing between the lines — it’s more restful to the eye.
Use an illustration, a graphic element or a photograph to command attention, not garish colors.
Using inconsistent fonts
In an effort to create a distinctive brand, some people feel compelled to use every font installed on their computer. But when it comes to fonts, boring can be good. Some common, unexciting choices such as Helvetica, Times or Garamond are the most legible. Stick to one, two fonts at the most.
Sometimes the first step in getting things right is to make sure you aren’t doing anything wrong. Once you have the basics down, you can make subtle improvements in layout and design. But be sure to master the fundamentals first.
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