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Even though so much of marketing is done online these days, you still shouldn’t underestimate what a good brochure can do for your business. 

A well-designed brochure presents all the information needed to spur someone along their customer journey, without them needing to navigate. It’s also another avenue through which your brand can make a good impression. 

But the keyword there is well-designed

A poorly designed brochure can confuse your potential customer and make your brand look bad.

To help steer you in the right direction, we’ve put together some dos and don’ts when creating your brochure design. 

Do keep the design tidy and organised.

When designing materials that have a lot of content (text and images) to present, organisation is key.

A consistent hierarchy for text and images will let the viewer know which products or services belong to which categories, or guide them along different steps in a process. 

Also on the subject of organisation: when in doubt, use a grid. 

The uniform alignment of a grid layout creates a sense of order in the design, which is important when you’re trying to present a lot of information in a limited space. 

A tidy grid layout will make your brochure easier to read than a messy one.
The tidier layout on the left will be much more pleasant to read. 

Do design with the fold in mind.  

You’ll have different fold options available for your brochure; the most common ones are the bi-fold (a single fold in the middle) and tri-fold (two folds, dividing the paper into three panels). 

The way in which the brochure folds will determine which panel will be visible to the viewer first. So plan your design with this in mind! 

To avoid confusion, take a piece of paper that you can cut and fold into roughly the same dimensions you want your brochure to be, and use that rough mockup to help you visualise and plan your design. 

A blank paper mockup showing brochure folds
A paper mockup will make planning the brochure contents easier.

Do prioritise legibility

One of your main considerations when designing your brochure should be whether all the information on the page is easy to read. This can be a challenge when you want to fit so much into such limited space – so just remind yourself that there’s no point in having all that content in there if people can’t read it all! 

For most of the body copy, you’ll want to keep the font size at 9pt or above (you can go down to 6pt for fine print, but do so sparingly).

As for the choice of typeface, it’s hard to go wrong with classic sans-serif fonts such as Helvetica, Verdana, or Univers. 

Not sure which body font to use for your brochure? One of these three will be a good place to start. 

Do make calls-to-action and other key pieces of information stand out. 

“We’re the only official distributor of X Brand in the country!” 

“We offer free next-day shipping!” 

That’s great! Make sure your reader notices it. 

Draw the viewer’s attention to important details and messages by making them stand out from the rest of the page. Put them in their own callout boxes, or use your brand’s accent colours to make them more visible. 

Do design an eye-catching brochure cover. 

Do judge your brochure by its cover! An eye-catching, beautiful cover is what will entice the viewer to flip through your brochure. 

As well as including the logo, make sure that the colours and fonts used on the cover are on-brand

Do add a QR code to your website. 

If you have a website, it’s worth it to generate a QR code that points to it, and include that in your brochure. 

A lot of people will find it more convenient to scan the code rather than type in your website’s URL. It might seem like a tiny thing, but it helps towards creating as little resistance as possible along your customer’s path. 

If you’re using Canva, you can use its own QR code generator

Do design in CMYK.

CMYK mode is the industry standard for printing. It stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, the four inks used to print in colour.

Digital screens, on the other hand, use RGB; this stands for red, green, and blue, the three colours of light used. 

By default, many design software or apps will use RGB. However, there are times when RGB colours don’t translate exactly to CMYK mode. If you send an RGB design to a printer, you might find that the printed colours are not what you expected. 

Depending on the program you use, it may allow you to either design in CMYK from the start, or convert to CMYK as you save your file. Doing this will give you a better idea of what the colours will look like in print. 

Do double-check your printer’s proof. 

Some printers, especially before printing a large order, will send a print proof (a prototype of the final printed material) to the client for approval before printing. When you get this proof from your printer, don’t just give it the once-over – examine it closely! 

Apart from the colours, here are some things to take note of: 

  • Accuracy of the text: Make sure everything is correct and typed properly! (More on this later.)
  • Legibility: Is all the text all readable? Nothing too small, too low-contrast, or drowned by any background images? 
  • Images: Check for any images that are blurry/pixelated, too dark or washed out. 
  • Overlaps: Make sure there aren’t any texts or images being overlapped or obscured by accident. 
  • Any extraneous elements: Spot any text or graphics that were supposed to be deleted but were left in. 

Do consider premium print finishes and die cuts

It’s not just the colours, images, and typography that you can play around with for your design. 

You can also try different finishes (such as matte or gloss), as well as cutting different shapes into the brochure. A skilled designer will know how to use die cuts and spot lamination to great effect. 

These will cost extra to produce, but if you’re marketing an upscale product or service, then it’s definitely worth it to give your brochure that premium feel. 

Ready to learn the don’ts?… 

Make sure you don’t miss our next blog, in which we’ll tackle the design choices and practices you’ll want to avoid!

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