Putting Together a Brochure

When creating marketing materials, the most efficient method is to develop the information and the layout at the same time. A good way to kick off the process is to gather any materials you’ve written in the past (including info from your web site), then extract the most important and relevant information. You can also use brochures from other companies to get ideas and inspiration for your format.

Step 1: Create an Outline

An outline will help you organize your information into sections. Words and phrases are fine. No need for sentences yet. Use your outline to indicate logical places for logos and photos or other images that will reinforce your message. Take a guess about how much content each section will have…will it need a sentence, a few bullet points or 2 paragraphs?

Step 2: Decide What Format to Use

By now you have a pretty good idea of what will be in your brochure (paragraphs, lists, photos, charts, etc.), and roughly how big it should be to contain all this info. It’s time to choose a format…a mini brochure (bookmark or postcard), trifold (or other folded sheet), bound booklet or system of loose sheets. Tip: Trifolds are easily mailed in a standard #10 business envelope and fit neatly into a shirt pocket.

A word of caution: steer away from odd sizes that won’t fit in a file folder; clients may throw them away.

Step 3: Set Up the Pages

Arrange your outlined content on pages/panels to approximate how much text you’ll have. Place the most important information up front, with the remaining content flowing logically from page to page, front to back.

Step 4: Fill in the Blanks

Flesh out the content with full sentences and paragraphs, then edit heavily. Even if you’re a start-up, you don’t need to tell everything! Keep only the best examples and the most relevant information. Divide text into manageable chunks by using short paragraphs, bulleted lists and headings.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Place your logo, photos, charts and other graphics on the pages. Create a page design if you’d like. If you need multiple page designs to accommodate different types of information on different pages, make sure the designs complement instead of clash.

Format your text using the fonts you use in your other documents—one for headings, one for text—two or three at the most. Save the trendy or weird fonts for special effects or a special occasion…don’t use them throughout your brochure unless your business itself is very trendy.