The purpose of your brochure may vary from business to business. Some are designed to display services, whereas others are focused on selling an idea. No matter what the focus of the brochure is, it needs to be readable, intriguing, and functional. The brochure must grab a viewer’s attention and hold it long enough to deliver the pertinent information. Proper planning and execution can determine the difference between a brochure that is read and one that is simply cast aside with the junk mail. Here are some suggestions to get you on your way to an effective brochure.

Keep Your Eyes on the Goal

Determine what you expect the brochure to achieve. Be sure it fits in with your current business and marketing objectives. What is its purpose? Should it generate leads? Serve as a overview of your firm? Much of this can be determined by when and where you intend to distribute the brochure. Are they being handed out at a trade show? During a sales pitch? Mailed out or delivered with other marketing pieces?

At this point you’re still not quite ready to move into the actual design process as you need to refer back to that target audience the brochure is aimed at. Here you need to know the answer the following question: what is the message the client is sending with this brochure? Advertising, educating, informing or entertaining, and how that message is presented; the actual message is what you want to say about the particular product, service or company.

Once all that information is gathered, you can have a designer finally get down to the business of designing. They will take into account the basic elements of good design – alignment, repetition for a sense of unity, contrast and a focal point that provides interest, balance, scale and perspective, a color palette and so on. Other things that will factor in will be font styles, usage, size and orientation. These are all things that will come into play once you have determined your goals. Quite often the purpose of a brochure will drive the content and design.

Who Are Your Fans and What’s in it For Them?

Your brochure should grab the interest of your target audience with a message that resonates with them. The primary message should be one your audience can relate to and will be of benefit to them. You must find a way to stand out from the crowd and find something that differentiates yourself from others.

If budget will allow, work with a professional copywriter. They can guide you in crafting the right message for your piece. Resist the temptation to write boring details about your company, and instead focus on the customer and what they would be interested in reading. Design is always key to creating an image that is eye catching, however the content has to be written in such a way that it will captivate the reader so they will continue through the entire brochure. Read other brochures and sales materials to get ideas.

Organize Your Content

Make sure your content is well organized, short and to the point. Your main message should be obvious in a quick skim of the brochure.

The front of your brochure should have a message that generates interest. The inside content should contain the information needed to bring the customer to the next step without overwhelming them with too much text (remember that white space is your friend). Don’t be afraid to stretch text and photos over multiple panels. The back of the brochure should contain all contact information. And finally, end your brochure with a call to action.

A (Good) Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

If you are using a picture of your product in your brochure, make sure it looks great. Take the photo in good lighting and make sure your camera is in focus. A designer can adjust colors and lighting in Photoshop, but it is best to start with a good photo. If budget allows, hire a professional photographer.

If you need a generic photo to emphasize a point, purchase a stock image or be creative with color if photography is out of the question.  Don’t let amateur photography decrease the quality of your brochure.

Hire a Professional

Though content is king, good design is crucial to the success of a brochure. The best content in the world cannot help a poorly designed brochure. Good design and placement of elements will help to promote your message and keep your readers interested. Once you have established what your goals are it is key to having your text and content prepared prior to hiring a graphic designer. It is much easier for a designer to get ideas of what comes next when they are provided with a road map to your vision. Your brochure may be the first impression customers get of your business. Show your customers that you are professional and reputable by having a professionally designed brochure.

Stand Up for Your Brand

Be sure your brochure fits with any other marketing materials you have. Don’t use one logo on your brochure and different one on your business cards and yet another one on a website. If your brochure happens to be your first professionally designed piece, don’t modify the brochure but rather slowly update your other materials as you can. Be consistent with your color scheme and font choices. All of your marketing materials should work together to deliver a consistent message and further build your brand.