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Communication Tools: Brochures

Brochures are a common communication tool, however to make them EFFECTIVE communication tools, a few things should be kept in mind.


  • The layout needs to attract –and keep- the attention of the audience
  • Use a layout the is clean and simple, yet powerful
  • Be sure the message can be obtained through visuals without having to read too much copy
  • Use the organization’s brand, logo and themes
  • Use “bullets” to breakup text and make information easier to read
  • Use brief captions with photos (Next to the cover, captions are the most read items in a brochure)
  • Ensure the copy has enough “white space” around it
  • Split the content into topic sections with topic headers to help the reader find information

Photos and Graphics
The selection of photos and graphics should be deliberate and serve as a vehicle of or organization’s brand. Some things to keep in mind:

  • One really good - large photo is better than lots of small one
  • Show a pictures of your target audience so they can identify
  • Photos should illustrate the benefits of the organization


  • Use 10-14 point size
  • Use easy-to-read fonts for most of the text, saving the fancy fonts for headlines and topic headers
  • Set captions in a different style (such as italics)
  • Avoid typographic overkill by using too many CAPS, italics and bolds
  • Stick to no more than three different fonts in a brochure.

Copy or text presentation is also an important part of the overall brochure design. Too much text (or all text) can overwhelm the reader. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Skip the details. Give them just enough for them to inquire for more information
  • Address information that the reader needs to or wants to know
  • Write in short, interesting paragraphs (some paragraphs may be only one sentence)
  • Write in simple, non-technical language (at about the 5th grade level)
  • If technical terms must be used, be sure they are illustrated or defined
  • Provide contacts to obtain more information

Paper Selection
Another important area to consider is what kind of paper on which to print your brochure. Here are some things to consider:

  • If you print photographs on color paper, the "white" parts of the photo will now become the color of the paper and can really ruin a photograph
  • For display rack use you may want to consider a stronger (heavier weight) paper
  • Use lighter weight papers for mail outs or bulk mailings.

When putting together a brochure or other printed piece, it is a good idea to get the help of a graphic designer. Most print shops have designers on hand who can help you put together your publication.