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Print Design: Brochures and Flyers

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Brochures (also called pamphlets) or flyers, hand-outs in common, can be very effective marketing tools. There are many purposes why to print a brochure or a flyer but whatever the purpose may be, you want to create a design that looks professional and attractive.

Brochures almost always act as the face of a company to express their services and ideas, future projects or to showcase a product-launch. Brochures are also often being used by the non-profit organizations to collect funds.

Flyers, on the other hand, are commonly used for announcing upcoming sales and events: a new film, a music-festival, opening of a disco, etc. When designing a flyer you need to make it appealing for the main target group or audiance to come to the event.

So, you will understand it’s quite crucial to concentrate on the quality of the design and also the quality of printing. In this following article I hope to share some basics tips for designing brochures/flyers that could be helpful:

Preparation

As with all projects that succeed, preparation is the key here. The first steps for designing a brochure should be these 3 questions (What is/are):

  • Desired Audience/Target Group
  • Reasons for the Brochure/Flyer
  • Desired Outcome

Before you think about taking your ideas to the printers make sure you also have the knowledge of what information/content you are going to express in it.

High resolution images are crucial

If you are looking to design a professional looking brochure or flyer then you need to add some high-resolution images or graphics, do not suffocate your design with a lot of straight-forward boring bla-blah. Using high-resolution images (300+ dpi) won’t make them blurry or blocky, if it does then your brochure provides a very bad presentation and can hurt the image (.. nice figure of speech BTW ;-P) of your company or brand.

More information, tips and tricks about image resolution you can find in an earlier article in the gonzoblog.nl: Print Design: What is Resolution?

Simplicity is the key

‘Less Is More’ is the most important rule of design that will get your audience’s attention. The design and layout of any brochure/flyer are the only tools to attract that audience. Meaning, a neat and simple design that looks more elegant than other designs which are filled with images and text decoration. Using larger, not more, photos or graphics is better than dumping the whole candy store into one design and please, .. also leave plenty of white space[1]!

Brochure and flyers should be brief and mention only the main points: Using fewer text and the greater will be the readers motivation to read it. Also keep adequate line-spacing to make your brochure attractive and especially legible.

Use captivating color

Color schemes in brochures should be according to the theme and also to the corporate identity guidelines of the company. Colors are the most expressive elements in any design, so use them wisely. But the thing is, it doesn’t matter how many or less colors you should use in the design, what matters is the way of presenting them. Dare to use striking colors in your brochure by using good color schemes.

On any office desk or coffee-table, your brochure or flyer is competing with all the other brochures and therefore should be noticed, with the right color scheme you can achieve that. For more information about colors and how to use them in graphic design, please read: Color Psychology and Graphic Design.

Typography

As your brochure or flyer has to express an amount of information about your business or event, you should use readable typefaces. Do not use capitalization, underlining, boldface, second colors, or fancy fonts in the body copy of your design, not even for emphasis (Tip of the week: always use italic for emphasis!). They tend to make your copy more difficult to read, e.g. boldface type in body copy will make readers skip over everything to see what’s so important that it’s screaming out in bold letters.

Diversity is a good thing but not in this matter of selecting types. You should not use more than 2 or 3 typefaces in a brochure or flyer if you want to have the attention of the readers. Of course you can use for your headlines or subheads a different, but complimentary, typestyle to increases the viewer’s comprehension of your brochure.

Be consistent in your use of typeface and size for headlines, body text and captions, this will give an appealing appearance to your brochure. Just because you have access to 100 different typestyles and sizes doesn’t mean you have to use them all!

More information on how to set type, please read the following article: Style Considerations, Guidelines and Tips.

Utilize a Proofreader

After you’ve worked your socks off in designing all the necessary things for your brochure, it would be a waste of time, effort and money if it has spelling mistakes, poor grammar, design flaws or incorrect information about the company. This could lead to reprinting the brochure or flyer and increasing your business fixed costs.

To avoid this situation you should use a proofreader, who should be professional and independent. Ask the proofreader to honestly comment what he/she thinks about the layout and the text provided in your brochure. You should pay attention to this feedback and correct any mistakes he/she points out. You can also ask three to five people for more feedback about the design and content of the brochure or flyer.

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Digital File Submission Standards

A digital file must be “print ready” and sent in accordance with the digital file submission instructions of your printer, to ensure that problems will not be encountered during the manufacturing process. Don’t hesitate to ask for these instructions!

Use the proper software to design your brochure/flyer, you’ll find out that almost every printer can read designs made in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe InDesign. Please don’t come to your printer with an design made up in Mocrosoft Word, you’ll be the laugh of the week!

Deliver your digital files in an .eps-format, embed/outline all fonts and all font family members used (otherwise include the typefaces used in the design on the CD-Rom), all images or artwork must be submitted in CMYK format at a 300dpi resolution (include these in a directory on the CD-ROM, DVD or Zip Disk). All the specified colors in 2/C and 4/C digital files must be set to CMYK process colors.

More information about print-production and the most common mistakes you can read in an earlier article: The 7 Deadly Sins of Print Production and also in the rest of our Print Design – series (see the ‘More Posts about this Topic/Related Post’-section in this article)

Use a Professional Printer

Last step in designing a brochure is its printing, also a significant and crucial step in the design-process. You can contact professional brochure printers, I would recommend you to spend some extra money on this part, because if you have everything right but the printing sucks, then all of your spending would be a waste.

So get services from a professional printer which provides excellent results for a fair price, you need to do some research first to find the best printer for the specific task.

Ask for some examples as you visit some of the printers in your neighbourhood. By now I know what printer to use according to the size, amount, extra specifications (e.g. automatic folding machine for multi-paged brochures), etc. needed for the print production.

Conclusion

The layout for a brochure will be slightly more complex than flyers printing when having to take in to account the different folds available and the way the brochure will be bound. But the goals are the same: An unique and stimulating Design can attract the attention, express quality, distinguish and seduce to read or to buy.

Therefore aim for an original or unique style that is different to your competitors.

Footnotes:

[1] ~ This is just plain paper without any type, graphics, or anything else on it. Studies consistently show that designs with plenty of white space are more pleasant to read and get more attention.

 

Author: Jan Rajtoral

Jan Rajtoral AKA Gonzo the Great is the Founder of and Designer at gonzodesign, providing design services across the full spectrum of Brand Identity, Graphic Design, Print and Advertising Design & Website Design.

4 comments

on this article: “Print Design: Brochures and Flyers”
  1. Thanks for the great share! I totally agree and appreciate all the info, here.