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Brochures are a very effective way of communicating with your audience. It is very important to have good brochure design principles.
But the truth is there are a lot of design aspects to a brochure that can make it difficult to produce in a professional manner. A lot of information is available on creating brochures, you just got a type in the words design a brochure into a Google search to see the multitude of information available. What I noticed was that there was not a lot of comprehensive and detailed information available on how to design a brochure.
Well help is at hand.In this office tutorial I have collected all the information that I’ve gathered over the years on creating brochures successfully, and I am going to share this information with you. I will also supply a brochure template for the layout and a brochure template of the finished product. Hopefully it will make your job a little bit easier. Right from the outset can I say that you should view this project as an opportunity to hone your existing skills and have fun creating a beautiful tri-fold brochure.
I have a strong interest in design features and characteristics and have tried many different effects to see what works and what does not. Now before I move into the nitty-gritty of how to do all this. Can I just say that what you will be looking at is the way I do things, it isn’t necessarily the way that all things should be done and I’m merely here just passing on to you processes and effects that are worked for me over the years. If you have a great technique, a tip or a trick on how to design a brochure that you use why not post a comment at the bottom of this blog so all can benefit.
The steps are outlined in these office tutorial videos on how to design a brochure. Watch them and pause your video where necessary and copy the steps that are shown. The first video deals with the foundation or layout of your brochure.
Below you will find the foundation document and the completed brochure for you to download after you login to the site.
Download the free template
Brochure Design Template
Brochure Design Video Part1
Brochure Design Video Part2.
This second video now gets into the fun stuff, adding shapes, images, effects, all of the really cool stuff that we all enjoy doing.
When I refer to a brochure I mean a pamphlet a leaflet and in particular we are going to be looking at a trifold two page six sided brochure. Out of interest the word brochure is an 18th century French word “brocher” which means” to stitch”. This refers to the stitching that would hold a book together. For those who like a bit of trivia.
The brochure design aspects include not only the images, shapes and effects but more importantly the layout of the document. It is been my observation and you may agree that so many good projects are ruined or miss their mark because of poor layouts. If you are producing a trifold brochure or threefold brochure whatever you like to call it, then it is particularly important that you have your document laid out effectively. With a brochure this is particularly important because it has to be folded neatly and the text visible on all six faces in the right order, with appropriate margins. The page order is (Outer page 5, 6, 1, Inner page 2, 3, 4,) View Illustration below
Preparation steps required to design a brochure. Here are the 6 brochure design aspects.
1. Document layout.
2. Document styling.
3. Document effects
I often see that many skip step 1 and go straight to 2 and 3. The foundation of a document largely is unseen, but without a good foundation it’s like building our house out of straw.
So the first thing we’re going to look at is the foundation or document layout. When the document is laid out effectively and locked the rest of the process is much easier to perform. In the illustration below you will be able to see some of the foundation aspects of good brochure design.
- The four inside margins between the text placeholders on the inner and outer pages should be at least twice the width of the outside page margins.
- The page size should be set to a size appropriate for your printer, generally I use A 4 or A3. Remember that the default for Microsoft Word is letter-size, if you create your document in letter-size and then later change it to A4 everything will move accordingly. So set your page size first, and then set your margins.
- Add gridlines to your document. Add your text boxes. An appropriate size for your text box would be 19 cm x 7.5 cm approximately. Your outer page margins should be a minimum of at least 1 cm for the top, bottom, right and left.
- Set the inside margins of your text boxes to approximately .5 cm. This will give you a less cluttered look, making your document more appealing to the eye.
- Allow placeholders for your images. Please remember to resize and compress your images before importing them especially if you are using high resolution photographs. A couple of days ago I had a brochure created in Microsoft Word sent to me for printing, it was only two pages long but weighed in at 52 MB. Save your high-resolution photographs for posters, not word documents. I simply use Microsoft’s Picture Manager. It will allow you to resize and compress your images before importing them into your word document.
- Carry out a test print when your document is at boilerplate stage and check the margins and that the brochure folds correctly. Hold the document up to a light so you can see through to both sides and check the alignment. It is easy to make corrections at this stage and is far less frustrating then moving everything at a later stage.
Here are some things that I do that may help you with good brochure design.
a. Choose images that will catch the attention of the reader. A good approach that I have used is for the inner page to be mainly images with just a small amount of text. This is a great approach if your brochure is to say selling artworks, real estate, products or food etc.
b. I always try to theme my documents to a single colour and then use other colours that will complement the main theme colour. Microsoft Word 2010 allows you to create your own custom themes. Experiment with what you find successful and store those themes for later use. I try to avoid the kaleidoscope look because I would like my documents to stand out and at the same time appeal to the eye. People will be more likely to keep and read a document that is well formatted tastefully themed and appealing.
c. Limit the amount of text to only what is necessary. Too much text as I’m sure you’re aware is a fundamental design trap that many fall into. Why we are on the subject of text, it is good to think about how many bullet points we will be using. If you think of the term bullet point we get the mental picture of shooting at a target. In harmony with that thought use bullet points accurately not like a shotgun that sprays all over the place. I am not sure what the point is of bullet pointing almost everything on the page.
d. Always index your documents. The document should carry an indexing number that you store in your database or files list and also a date created and a date for review. The document should have a version number as well. In the example below you will notice that the index number ends with .1 this indicates that it is version 1. The letters at the front of the index refer to Division and Department for the document author. This will help the reader to understand that they’re getting the latest information from you and it will force good document management practices. It also makes the ordering process from your printer much easier. The first thing I look for when a document is sent to me for review, formatting or printing is the Indexing numbers. They are a document biography.
Brochure design index example: QDEH100345.1 Created 12/1/2012 Review Date 12/1/2014.
Please all, and you will please none.
I view print and format and create hundreds and hundreds of documents as part of my secular employment. As our skills develop in designing brochures, posters or formatting word documents, whatever it might be, remember this. Everybody does not have the same taste. Don’t let others discourage you.
Many years ago I bought my children a book of fables called Aesop’s fables. I used many of these in teaching assignments that I had at the time. Many carry powerful messages. There was one particular fable about the Miller the Boy and the Donkey. I used to share these fables with my children and now try to pass these principles onto my grandchildren.
Read the fable and see if you can get the message.
A MAN and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?” 1
So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.” 2
So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.” 3
Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor Donkey of yours—you and your hulking son?” 4
The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the Donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the Donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned. 5
“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them:
“PLEASE ALL, AND YOU WILL PLEASE NONE.”
The point is: prepare well, work hard, except only constructive criticism, be proud of your accomplishments and above all have fun learning with your PC
I hope you have enjoyed this office tutorial. Please leave your comments below.
Microsoft Word 2003 tutorial on how to design a brochure Brochure Template
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