9 Tips for Creative Brochure Designs

9 Tips for Creative Brochure Designs

9 Tips for Creative Brochure Designs

Brochure are one of my more favorite things to design. Why? Because the creative possibilities are endless. As a graphic designer they are one of the things I look forward to designing. Do not take me wrong, I love designing websites and newsletters, but these little gems stretch my creative abilities to the max.

To start with, what is a brochure?  Wikipedia says this about Brochures.

First and foremost, it is a marketing piece. Something to be handed out to prospective clients that has a lot of information and photographs about your business. Something well designed that will put your companies best foot forward and give a would-be client something to remember and to hold onto. It’s an introduction of the best kind.

Brochures can be a single page (tri-fold, gate-fold or bi-fold) or multi paged (perfect bound, saddle stitched) or have different names such as – pamphlet, booklet or leaflet that can be used for a catalog, menu or for sales. The most common brochure style is a trifold or six panel which is actually a single 8.5 x 11” sheet folded into thirds. This design is just the begining of the variations that this amazing pamphlet can become.

Creative Ideas on Brochure Designs
Creative Ideas on Brochure Designs

People will interact with this compact but effective tool that is jammed packed with information. They will turn it over, unfold the panels, flip the pages. It gives you a chance to design this user experience and how they will perceive you and your business from the start.

9 Tips for Creative Brochure Designs


1.) Be Clear of The Purpose of Your Brochure and Message

What is your message? Focus on what that message is and how your text and photographs relate to one another to make your message clear. Make sure your fonts, colors, copy, layout and images all work together and enhance one another. Who will be reading it? Will it be a persuasive tool or an educational piece? Will it be on display at a retail location or handed out or both? Write out your copy first and the design around that with your copy and photographs. Add a call-to-action. Be clear on what you want the reader to do.

2.) Use the Brochure Format to Your Advantage

How do you do that? Think about how your prospective customer will see the brochure. First, they see the cover then they open it to see what is underneath then they may flip it over and view the back panels. Make it interesting with a surprise that may be reviled as they open the pamphlet.

3.) Carefully Consider the Number and Size of Panels and Pages

You may want to have a general over view of your company or hone in on a specific service that you provide. If you have more information that can fit on an 8.5 x 11” then you can use a 8.5 x 14”. You will want to be cost effective as possible, so you may want to talk to your printer on what the cost may be on each style before you proceed.

4.) Draw Out Your Idea

I recommend that you take a 8.5 x 11” or 8.5 x 14” blank sheet and fold it to the configuration that you want your brochure to look. This step is really important, so you can view how the panels and folds will actually look. Now draw out the different possibilities with a pencil and eraser. This pencil drawing will help you to see first-hand your ideas and make changes easily.

Great Brochure Design Tips

So many things become very clear as you do this exercise. It’s just a rough sketch so do not try and make it perfect. Make a couple of designs with the elements in different spots on the brochure. It’s also not a bad idea to have a couple of people view your ideas for their opinion. At this point if you are hiring a designer, take a cell phone shot of your ideas and send them to them. As designers we do not always know what is going on in someone’s head, so this step gets us in the ball park real fast.  

5.) Font Usage

How will the topography work? Fonts selection is huge and how will they work with each other? Will you use serif fonts (old style with arms and legs) or with or san serif (without)? I personally think using serif typeface looks great on titles and subtitles and can be fancy as long as they are readable. Always use san serifs on sentences and paragraphs because they are much easier to read. Keep your font selection to a minimum. One serif and One san serif. Select a font that has a large family (bold, italic, weight) because it will give you give you many choices that will keep it consistent looking.

6.) Photographs

Photography on marketing material is BIG! A good selection of quality images is a must. They need to be high resolution and lend themselves to what you are trying to show or sell. You can use your own images, use a stock agency or hire a photographer but they need to be of excellent quality. When we design a brochure we use a stock agency many times because they give a big selection to pick from that will tell the story in just the right way that only a great photograph can do.

9 Tips for Creative Brochure Designs

7.) Design a Great Cover

The cover will be the first thing that people will see so you want to make that as attractive and inviting as possible. Make it unique. Do not just put your logo and a photo on this cover but something that will draw the viewer into the rest of the brochure. Use a catchy headline or title, call to action or engaging question. Keep it short. Keep the front cover clean without clutter. Remember many brochures will go on a display rack and only the top third will be visible, and you might be competing with other brochures.  

 Graphic Design on Brochures

8.) Paper Stock for Your Brochure

How thick and how will your brochure feel? Paper will be the tactile part of your brochure experience. Quality, weight and coating will speak volumes all by itself. What do you want that to say? Use a heaver stock when it’s a more substantial brochure. If your brochure needs multiple folds use something thinner but not too thin. This will help it to lay flat and fold clean.

9.) Pick a Good Printing Company

I cannot stress this enough. Make sure the printer is someone you can work with. Contact the printing company before you start on the design.

Ask them questions like:

A.) How do they want to receive the file to be printed?

B.) Do they want it in the native file like Illustrator or InDesign so they can make some basic adjustments or a high resolution PDF or JPG?

C.) Will they print out a sample?

If possible have your printing company print out a sample brochure or two to make sure that finished product will be exactly what you want. You will be able to feel it and make sure it folds like you have intended it to fold and nothing is over lapping and stays within its panels and folds. You will also be able to see if the printer cut or trimmed off too much from the edges and if it needs to be adjusted before he/she prints off a whole bunch of copies.

If you have hired a graphic designer, he will be able to navigate and connect to your printing company on the different issues I just listed above. Leave it to him to sort this out with the people that are actually doing the printing. Better yet, let the designer recommend a printing company that he/she has used before.

Creative Ways to Design Flyers
Creative Ways to Design Flyers

In conclusion

Remember, Creative Brochure Designs are a great marketing piece for your company or business. If they are designed right they can be very effective. I would reflect on these tips as you go through the design process.  

Here are some more idea’s and tips on alternative uses of a Brochures by U Printing.

I also wrote a blog article on layout and design of newsletter that you might find interesting 5 Design Tips for a Great Newsletter and one on website design 9 Signs its Time for a New Website

If you have any questions on the designing brochures, please send us a email. We would love to help you with your next marketing idea.

9 Tips for Creative Brochure Designs

Creative Ideas on Brochure Designs

Great Brochure Design Tips

Graphic Design on Brochures  

Creative Ways to Design Flyers    

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