An effective brochure design is one that communicates its message to visitors in the most efficient manner. However, creating a design capable of forming a favourable first impression is not an easy task. Yet, once created, the design’s effectiveness can be judged in 3 quick and simple ways:
Its Impact on the Recipient: This simple test can be done with your colleagues, friends or family. After you have designed the brochure, show it to people from whom you are certain of receiving valuable feedback/suggestions. If you have been able to please most of your recipients, there is a good possibility your design will rank with customers too.
Ensure you note feedback/suggestions on the following design aspects:
• Graphics and Text Layout
• Paper – quality and size.
• Print – quality and font size
• An overall idea regarding the design
Make changes/modifications where necessary, and only if you think they are necessary. Don’t get swayed by other people’s personal preferences that clash with your aesthetics. If you think orange and black is a good contrast and does justice to the brand, stick to it. There’s no telling the kind of impact yellow and orange could create on a large audience.
A designer’s confidence is what helps him distinguish convention from creativity. Practice it.
Reflection of Professionalism: What do recipients of your brochure see when they receive it? Do they see something that is impressive or do they see something that is just run-of-the-mill design?
This simple test can be performed by observing your brochure through its reflection in a mirror. Hold your brochure close to your chest, stand at least a feet away from the mirror and observe – the design, fonts, layout, graphics and pages as they flip open. You can also test by placing it on a table and observing it from at least 6 feet away.
A look from a distance will reveal to you how your brochure will be perceived by an audience once they receive it. Of course, you can fall back to a test group for more solid conclusions. (point #1 above)
Use high-resolution images in your brochure. Use a font style and size that is readable. Low-cost images and small prints will certainly save you money but fail to create the kind of impact you desire. Remember, if it’s cheap, it’ll show. No amount of Photoshop can spruce up an already blurry image.
The layout of text is important because ultimately, you want people to read about the company’s services/products. Arrange your headings, sub-headings and body text in descending font size so each one is clearly distinct from the other. In other words, since headings are meant to grab attention, make sure they are in larger fonts than sub-headings, which in turn should be larger than body text. Additionally, bullet points can help explain a number of features distinctly.
The paper used for printing is an important determinant of corporate value. A thick matt or gloss variety is many times better than thin paper. Gloss offers more style and is inevitably, better at creating first impressions.
A professional brochure will require investing quite an amount of money. However, if marketed well, your brochure will be worth the effort, and cash.
Quality of Communication: What if someone does not want to read your content? Is your brochure communicative independent of pages of text?
To test your brochure’s comprehensibility with minimal text, check if your graphics and graphical presentations are self-explanatory. The most important objective of creating a brochure is one-to-one communication with an audience. Content will do the major part of communicating by providing information about a company. However, images, infographics, diagrams, etc, can effectively complement text to deliver a message. At times, images are more coveted than text to learn about a company. For example, a cosmetics brand, a vehicle brand, electronics, etc.
The key to a great design is simplicity combined with attractiveness. Aesthetics play a huge part in how you bring a balance between the two and create a customized brochure design.