How To Create A Great Company Brochure (a marketing managers guide)
Updated: Aug 18
You’ve been asked to create a brochure for your company. Your first thought is -
"What have I done to deserve this? Where do I even begin to begin?"
Ok, put down the Valium. It's pretty easy if you follow the following (if you follow): Unless you actually are a designer, you should now contact your designer and tell them the good news! Give them a brief outline of the general style you want and include a rough page count. Let them know two key dates:
1/ When they can expect your final content (text, images, graphics, etc.), and
2/ When you absolutely need the final brochure delivered to your office.
This information allows them to slot your project into their design schedule. Make sure you stick to the dates they confirm. Don’t forget you’re not their only client, and they may not be able to 'shoehorn' you in, should you miss your dates. Assuming you’re happy with their quote, you can get started straight away.
Step 1: Your Content Content is key. Identify exactly whom the brochure is for? What are the key pieces of information you wish to communicate? How do you want your reader to feel or what action do you want them to take? It’s often helpful to plot out a spidergram. This visual drawing will help you set out the main components of the brochure and put them into a logical order. From here you can draft up the text copy*. Keep a sharp eye on grammar, spelling and punctuation. If possible, have a professional editor go over your document when you finish writing it. It's surprisingly inexpensive and worth every penny. Top Tip: Try and make sure your text is as final as possible. Frequently people send their draft to the designer and then start making amends once they receive the first proof. What they don’t realise is that it’s not just a case of copy & paste. Design software is very different to Microsoft Word and what seems like a small bit of additional text can cause “reflow". This late extra content can have a knock-on effect on the overall document and leads to the designer having to redo major elements. This takes time and time is money. If you don't want to pay extra, get it right first time. Simple. Another Top Tip: Be conscious of text volume. It’s true that designers have many superpowers. Unfortunately, they cannot ram five A4 pages of text into a stylish formatted single A4 page. As a rule of thumb, if your text completely fills your page, it will fill the designer's page too (leaving no room for images or graphics) (* If you’ve got the budget, consider using a professional copywriter. This is a real skill and not many mortals have it)
Step 2: Additional Elements You’ll be briefing the designer shortly so you need to get your housekeeping in order. Make sure you’re ready to forward any/all of the relevant additional components at the same time.
Images – jpegs (to size at 300dpi)
Tag all photos (never assume your designers will know the difference between one product and another)
Logos – Vector file EPS
Fonts – If you have a specified font that you want the designer to use
Any specific graphics you want the designer to use
Corporate Guidelines – If applicable
Completed Briefing Document (if they’ve has sent you one)
Top Tip: Large files or images greater than 10mbs in size, can be easily sent to your designer for free via wetransfer.com (up to 2GBs free of charge))
Step 3: Briefing your Designer The briefing is one of the most important elements in the design process and can take place in person, by phone, via Skype, Zoom, etc. Ideally, your designer will give you a design questionnaire, which will clarify exactly what you're looking to achieve. If you’ve any “absolutes” in terms of fonts, colours, tables, infographics, images, etc., make sure to specify these. Also, If you’ve any samples of brochures or visual styles that you would like to emulate, show these to your designer before they get started. If they haven’t already done so, agree on firm dates to have the first complete draft with you. This will allow you block-off time to review and return any amends or edits. Be mindful that printing has a lead time and never starts until the final proof is signed off. Top Tip: With large brochures, it’s often worth requesting a few concept covers and an inside layout. This will ensure you are happy with the style of the brochure before they begin to populate the whole publication. For expensive print runs, we would recommend that you do a press check (i.e. you are present as the first off-set copies come off the printer)
Step 4: The Proofing Process For many reasons, the most efficient method of proofing is via your designer’s online proofing platform. If they cannot provide this facility, the next best method is adding sticky notes to the PDF proof. The number of rounds of amends is typically dependent on the size of the brochure (page count). Usually, two or three rounds should be sufficient if you’ve followed the steps above. Step 5: Final Sign-off Here's the best possible advice we can give you: Get as many eyes on the final PDF proof as possible. You'd be surprised as to how often people give final sign-off after a quick scan of the document. This is never a good idea. Apart from being expensive, there are few things more painful to your pride than having to order a reprint. Go through the document with a fine tooth-comb. The major items to look out for are:
Text (spelling and positioning - obviously the set document carefully)
Contents and Index Pages (pointing to the correct pages)
Correct titles on images
Step 5: Take A Bow If you’ve done everything mentioned above and you’ve employed a good professional designer, prepare for the plaudits, bouquets of flowers and speeches you’ll have to make. Well, maybe not quite. But you can take great satisfaction in a job well done and know that everyone will see your thumbprint on this project.
If you're still reading this, STOP! - It's time to go to work on your Brand.