If you have a small local business, a physical (or digital) brochure can help distinguish your company from your competition and cement your brand in the memory of your prospects. This is doubly true of marketing firms or freelancers, who can use brochures as an opportunity to showcase their skills to potential clients in a package they can hold, touch, and read.
Unlike a pamphlet, a brochure is a multi-paged graphic document designed with commercial intent. Whereas pamphlets are designed to educate or inform, a brochure is usually crafted in order to market a product or service, persuade, or sell. As such, brochures hold considerable power as a marketing and sales tool for businesses. And, if done right, they can take an otherwise sluggish sales performance to new heights.
Do you want to create a marketing brochure using graphic design tools, but aren’t sure where to start? If you’re strapped for ideas, don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered. For this article, our team of expert graphic designers got together to compile a list of creativity-enhancing ideas and tips for building the perfect brochure.
If you’re dead set on designing your own brochure—or if you simply want to see if you have what it takes to make one—don’t hold yourself to too high of a standard. Instead, simply start experimenting on an easy-to-use design platform like Canva and see what happens after tinkering for ten or twenty minutes. The results might surprise you!
Not sure where to start with Canva? I recommend checking out this handy guide to Canva for beginners. For something more specific to brochure-making, try this simple tutorial for making trifold brochures using Canva.
The bottom line is that you should get experimental. Simply create a free Canva account, and then select the “Create a design” button on the top-right. From there, you can select “Brochure” from the drop-down menu and either begin from a template or from scratch.
The best brochures are those that feature bright, attractive, and compelling images. Low-quality stock photos and pixelated images pulled from Google Images aren’t going to cut it. For your brochure to draw positive attention, you need to source high-resolution photos. You can take them yourself, have a professional capture them, or buy them from reputable vendors such as:
Note that some of these vendors offer free services, such as Pexels and Unsplash, but only a small percentage of their total stockpile is available for free. To access premium photos, you will have to pay for the right to license them for commercial use. Since these are premium marketing assets, don’t shy away from paying what they’re worth.
No marketing campaign, much less a brochure, is complete without a call to action (CTA). The CTA is the most important aspect of your brochure because, without it, your reader won’t have anywhere to go to continue through your sales funnel once they’re finished reading. The overarching goal of your brochure is to guide your reader to your CTA.
There are lots of ways that you can execute a CTA, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be placed at the end of the brochure (although this often helps drive conversions). The best brochure design will include compelling directives as their CTA, such as:
Generally, we advise against typing out a URL in a physical document, but it’s better than nothing. Instead, providing your business’ social media contact addresses is more accessible and will lead to higher conversion rates.
Before you write and design a brochure, you need to perfect your brand’s unique voice. If you’re too stuffy and robotic, you can bore your reader and lose their attention—and it’s not like our attention spans are getting any better in today’s tech-permeated world. However, if you’re too casual and aloof you won’t be taken seriously.
Our advice is to first figure out your company’s brand image. Your brochure’s graphic design and copy (i.e., the written content) should reflect your company’s unique sound, look, and vibe. If you aren’t sure what that is just yet, hold off on designing your brochure. Instead, figure out your logo, website, and social profiles. Once you have your personality down, then circle back to your brochure.
In short, it’s hard to know where to start if you don’t have a foundation. Making a basic brand image package (including your brand colors, logo, watermarks, etc.) and jogging down slogan ideas can help get the creative juices flowing and set you on the right track.
Sometimes the best brochure graphic designs revolve around a single simple concept. A concept as simple as two colors and shapes—for instance, blue rectangles and pink triangles—can make for a striking and memorable design. After all, striking, memorably, and clear are the central objectives you’re aiming toward in the way you design your brochure.
My recommendation is to not get caught up in grandiose, overly ambitious designs. Instead, seek simplicity because, as they say, less is often more. Look at the logos of wildly successful companies like Nike, Target, and Apple. Each of these major brands has simple, basic designs that send a clear message about their company. You need to do the same with your brochure, without overcomplicating the delivery.
Brochures are underrated novelties in marketing. Although they aren’t used as often as they once were, there’s something charming about a physical product that you can read as opposed to PDFs, newsletters, or spammy ads that clog our inboxes. If you want to stand out, consider making a marketing brochure—just make sure you stick to the ground rules above.
Yet, not everyone is cut out for design. If you count yourself among those who are better off leaving design work to the pros, don’t fret. There are plenty of professional graphic designers and advertising agencies that would be happy to produce a brochure to your satisfaction. Contact your local marketing agency to inquire about their services.
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