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In Part I of this series, we went through some brochure design dos to give you a good foundation for your brochure design. 

In this part, we’ll discuss the don’ts! From neglecting readability, to using images that you shouldn’t – here are some of the things you’ll want to avoid doing when designing your marketing brochure. 

Don’t jump straight into your design software. 

Compared to, say, designing a social media post or flyer, designing a brochure can be a whole different animal – especially if you’re not a seasoned designer. 

You not only have to make something look good, but also have to make sure all that information fits within that space, and flows in a logical manner. 

Using sketches and wireframes on paper can make this part of the process a little faster and easier. You’ll be better able to visualise how much space you have for which sections, and can quickly make multiple iterations to see what feels best. 

By the time you go into your design software, you already have at least a rough idea of where you want things to be. 

Don’t overcrowd your brochure design.

It may be tempting to put as much content as possible into the brochure. But a cluttered looking page will be very fatiguing to a lot of viewers, which may cause them to stop browsing. 

Some white space around the content lets the different elements “breathe”, and makes the page less tiresome to look at. 

If you really need to include a lot of content – for example, your product catalogue – then consider a larger brochure (i.e. more pages) to accommodate it. 

Don’t use too many fonts. 

A brochure already contains plenty of visual elements and information for the reader to process; don’t compound that by using more fonts than is necessary. 

If your company doesn’t have an existing brand guide, here’s a good rule of thumb: Use one clear, easily legible font for all of the body copy, and more stand-out (e.g., bolder, or more visually interesting) for the larger headings. 

A brochure design with too many fonts.
Using too many different fonts leads to a lack of harmony in your brochure design.

Don’t use distracting backgrounds. 

Busy backgrounds are another thing that can add to visual clutter and make your brochure a headache to look at, if not used carefully. 

If you do want to use backgrounds such as patterns or textures, make sure that it doesn’t sacrifice readability of the text, and if possible avoid using it on pages where there’s already a lot going on. 

Correcting a brochure design with a distracting pattern background
Correcting a brochure design with a distracting background image

Background patterns and images can easily make text unreadable, but you can fix that with small changes to the opacity, brightness, or part of the background used. 

Don’t use gradients recklessly.

Gradients can look great… but they don’t always print well. 

Depending on a number of factors (such as the size and colours of the gradient), you might run into some issues in print. The most common one is unsightly banding, which is when the gradient looks striated instead of being a smooth transition. 

We’re not saying avoid gradients like the plague – especially not if they’re a big part of your visual branding – but be prepared to work with your printer in case your gradient doesn’t look quite right on print. 

Don’t use low-quality images 

Using poor quality images can really hurt the impression your brochure makes, so make sure your images are crisp and not blurred or pixelated. 

Print generally requires larger image dimensions than digital, so make sure to check if the images you use are high enough resolution. 

A good standard for brochures (and other printed materials that will be viewed up close) is 300 ppi, or pixels per inch. So if you want an image to be printed clearly at 4×3 inches, you’ll want an image file that is at least 1200 x 900 pixels. 

Don’t use images you don’t have permission to use 

Another important note about images: only use images you have the right to use! This means images that you own (such as your logo and other brand assets, product images, and team photos.)

Other than that: 

  • For illustrative or design images, you can make use of stock photography websites. Some sites like Pexels offer a large selection of images for free, but others will charge you for each image. 
  • Obtain written permission to use the images of persons not within your organisation (e.g., clients or business partners). 
  • Content that comes with Canva can be freely used for commercial purposes. 

Do not just save or screenshot other people’s images from the web and use them without permission! 

Don’t forget to proofread.

We mentioned checking your printer’s proof, but we cannot emphasise how important it is to double- and triple-check your brochure content. 

Apart from reviewing the copy to spot typos and grammatical errors, you also want to look out for: 

  • Details that are incomplete or missing. 
  • Pieces of text that are cut off.
  • Labels that are switched. 
  • Incorrect decimal points and currency symbols on prices. 

Ideally, you’ll want more than one person to proofread the copy, or at least do the first and second (or third!) passes on separate days. 

Don’t neglect paper quality. 

Even if you don’t opt for the premium finishes we mentioned earlier, you still want to consider the quality of the paper to be used. 

Your printer will give you different options for different types and weights (i.e., how thick and sturdy the paper is); higher quality and heavier paper will generally cost more. It’s worth it to examine the paper in person if possible. 

Remember, brochures are a tactile experience! Your prospective customers will not just be looking at them, but touching and leafing through them too. 


As you’ve probably noticed, a big part of designing a good brochure is making the reader’s experience a priority. Making choices based on clarity and good organisation of information will take you farther than simply following a flashy design trend, or copying something your competitors did. 

We hope this two-part blog series helps you create a fantastic marketing brochure! 

Alternatively, if you ultimately decide that this isn’t your thing and want our graphic designers to work on your brochures for you, we’d be happy to. Get in touch with us through the contact form here

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