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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.

Layout

  • 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

Fonts

  • 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/Text
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.