How To Create A Great Company Brochure

By Stephen Murphy | Branding Strategist

 

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):

 

Before you begin, 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 content (text, images, etc.), and
  2. When you absolutely need the brochure delivered to your office.

 

This information allows them build 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.

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.
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 it fills your page, it will fill the designer's page too.

 

(* If you’ve 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.

 

  1. Images – jpegs (to size at 300dpi)
  2. Logos – Vector file EPS
  3. Fonts – If you have a specified font that you want the designer to use
  4. Any preformatted graphics you want the designer to use
  5. Corporate Guidelines – If applicable
  6. Completed Briefing Document (if they’ve has sent you one)

 

Top Tip:  Large files/images >10mbs can be easily sent to your designer
for free via hightail.com

Step 3: Briefing your Designer

 

Briefing is one of the most important elements in the design process and can take place in person or by phone, Skype, etc.  Ideally they’ll have given you a design brief questionnaire, which will save you both time and make your meeting more meaningful.

 

If you’ve any “definites” in terms of fonts, colours, tables, infographics, images, etc. now is the time to specify these.  If you’ve samples of brochures or looks that you are trying to achieve, show these to the designer.

 

If they haven’t already done so, agree 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. Printing 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

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 brochures size (page count).  Usually, 2/3 rounds are sufficient if you’ve followed the steps above.

 

Final Sign-off.

 

Here is the best possible advice we can give you:

 

Get as many eyes on the final PDF proof as possible.  It never ceases to amaze us how often people sign-off after a quick scan of the document.  Apart from being expensive, there are few things more painful to your pride than a reprint.

 

Go through it with a fine toothcomb.  Some major items to look out for:

 

  • Text (spelling and positioning - obviously read it!)
  • Contents/Index Pages
  • Page Numbers
  • Headings
  • Correct titles on images
  • Spacing

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.

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