Designing a relevant and highly effective brochure can contribute to a company's success. A well-designed brochure can educate your readers, increase credibility, attract a target audience, and ultimately lead consumers to take action.
Creating a quality brochure can be a challenge, so today, we bring you ten tips for creative brochure design. A brochure is commonly seen on racks providing information about a company, product, event, or service. Brochures can come in a variety of formats and sizes, so knowing which one you need can become a challenge of its own.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything from preparing copy and images to the final edit of your brochure, providing examples of templates and tutorials along the way. You're sure to take away some great tips.
1. Prepare Copy and Images
Before you start working directly in the software, it is essential to know how long your copy is and what kind of images you’ll be working with. This will help you decide about layout, brochure format, length, and font size. As designers, we know that getting attached to one solution is a no-no. So be prepared to make changes and be flexible along the way.
Keep in mind that big blocks of text can be overwhelming for readers. People tend to scan pages quickly, so shoot for just the ideal amount of information. Use headlines and sub-headlines to structure the content. Bullet points are useful to make short, quick statements that can get your message across.
If you are designing for a specific brand, make sure the colors and feel are in line with the branding. Are there any specific colors and fonts that should be used? Ask for the brand guidelines, which can help you make some of the decisions. This will create a brochure design that belongs to a specific company rather than a random marketing element.
Gather the images and make sure you can use them as big you need, especially if you want the brochure to look expensive. People nowadays notice when pixelation occurs. Find a way to tell a cohesive story with your images.
If you have doubts, try to keep the brochure design clean and simple. For best results, try to do a round of edits to see what elements are absolutely necessary to include. Envato Elements offers high-quality images, and with an ever-growing library, you are sure to find what you need.
2. Know Your Folds
With just over a dozen types of brochure, knowing which type you need is crucial. Think about how users will interact with the piece.
For a bifold brochure, they will look at the cover and open it to reveal the inside. Then they’ll close it to reveal the back.
For a trifold brochure, which has three panels, users will unfold each panel separately. Here, you can add some kind of surprise as the brochure unfolds to create an interesting piece. While each panel is seen as a boundary, take advantage of it and span images or text across two panels.
A trifold brochure is the most popular piece used by businesses. This is great if you want to display general information about a company and its services. Take this trifold business brochure as an example. Use imagery and quotes to reinforce your message. Break up the text with graphic elements and white space. Take advantage of using icons and symbols to simplify the message.
For more extensive brochures, you might want to go for a multi-page document like a booklet or portfolio. Apply careful thought as you’ll want this to be cost-effective. With more pages, you’d need to treat this brochure slightly differently. Pay attention to the pace of each page, making sure you are not overwhelming the reader with information. After all, you want them to get to know you just enough that they can set up a meeting to get to know your business better.
This architecture portfolio template in InDesign is a multipage document. It's designed with clean and simple details, allowing the images to shine on their own.
If you’d like to learn more about brochure formats and dimensions, we’ve got a handy article on that. It includes specific measurements, types of folds, and the uses for each brochure.
3. Choose Legible and Limited Fonts
If you are designing a business brochure for a specific company, ask what fonts they are using on their logo and brand in general. It is our job as designers to deliver cohesiveness throughout a brand. Typically in a brochure design you’d need a headline, sub-headline, and copy. Stick to using no more than two fonts and take advantage of using the font’s families to highlight certain copy (regular, bold, italic, etc.).
Both brochure ideas below use a serif and a sans serif font. Nowadays, there aren’t really any rules as to what fonts to use for copy. Traditionalists might opt to use serif fonts for a lengthy amount of body copy and sans serif for display copy. Use italics to highlight text or bold sans serif to add quotes on a panel. If you are layering type over a dark background, run a test print to make sure the copy is legible.
This proposal brochure template comes with files editable in Adobe InDesign and Word. The clear typographic hierarchy can help guide readers and create a good flow throughout the design.
If you are looking for some high-quality fonts, check out Envato Elements. Browse the fonts section to find suitable families for your next marketing brochure.
4. Design a User-Friendly Flow
Pacing is something I personally think is important when designing a printed piece. If the piece is interesting enough, users can decide to either read it or put it down. Think about how readers would want to receive the information.
Balance the amount of text and visuals on each business brochure panel. These two elements are meant to work together and support each other for a striking finished product. Opt for a bite-size amount of copy in each panel—large chunks of text can be tiring to read and can appear visually heavy. Use color to create hierarchy within the copy. Highlight the headlines and use dark colors for copy, as in the pamphlet design below.
Most cultures read from left to right and top to bottom. Arrange the information in a logical flow so it complements the way a marketing brochure unfolds. If you are not able to use high-quality imagery, use graphics to create movement and depth. Check out this clean template using the minimal amount of images. It is carefully balanced by the amount of graphics and text displayed in each panel.
5. Create an Effective Cover
A cover is prime real estate that will call for your reader’s attention if designed successfully. To design a compelling cover, include only concise information, so that it's easy and fast to read at a distance, especially if your brochure is placed on a rack. Avoid cluttered covers, and instead use simple and impactful imagery that represents your company/client. Images are sometimes more intuitive than words.
Check out this minimalist fashion portfolio template. The most important elements—title and image—are placed on the right side of the cover. This makes helps the reader make a connection between the two while keeping the less important information on the opposite side.
This clean booklet design lays a rectangle over the image. This creates a sense of depth while hinting at the kind of company we are about to see. The title and company name are highly visible and free of any visual disturbances.
This medical brochure template tutorial includes a simple but successful cover. Include a big image at the top and concentrate the copy at the bottom, so readers will get the information they need right away.
6. Use High-Quality Imagery
The importance of using high quality images is usually underrated. Consumers can tell how much care you’ve put into creating a brochure design by simply looking at the images used. Use imagery that reflects your intent and communicates your message.
Once you’ve picked out the right imagery, check the resolution. Make sure the images can be printed to avoid pixelated prints. This can bring down the quality level of your design. Check for color tones and color correction. If you’ve acquired images with different tones, try adding a visual treatment like an overlay. This will give all the images an even look across the board.
This product brochure template includes an interior design theme. All the images are crisp white and clean, with a consistent yellow color making an appearance. This is another great way to create cohesiveness throughout the design.
Check out this brochure template tutorial. Using profile pictures of the pets is a great idea! Even better is the consistent use of white background in each photo—it really makes it look as if the designer has put in the effort to arrange for a photo shoot.
The presentation template is also an awesome example to achieve a cohesive brochure design layout. Add an overlay to all your images and you are set for success.
- Adobe InDesignHow to Make a Brochure From an InDesign TemplateGrace Fussell
- TemplatesHow to Make an InDesign Presentation TemplateLaura Keung
7. Embrace Negative Space
If you are choosing to use a multi-panel brochure, try adding elements of surprise for your readership. Alternating panels between a light and a dark color can enhance the look of the brochure. It avoids making the brochure seem monotone and adds visual weight. Use this negative space to highlight certain information you want to add more attention to. Add a quote, or use a call to action over a dark background to communicate a message much more clearly.
In addition to highlighting information, try alternating panels between a light and dark background. Treat each panel as if they were separate pages of a book. While the panels need to have a consistent layout (font and type hierarchy), it is a great idea to add something special to each design. Treat them as if they were cousins, not siblings.
Take a look at this trifold pamphlet template tutorial. This is a great example of how to include colors to make your design pop.
8. Include a Clear Call to Action
Every marketing brochure design out there has a common goal, for the reader to take action. A call to action (CTA) needs to be transparent and stated in a big way. Give your readers a reason to contact you by avoiding having the CTA part of a long paragraph. Instead, make the statement bold and hard to miss, as in the brochure template below.
Short sentences like “get in touch” or “contact us now” can do the trick. Urge the reader to act right away. Other common offers can include discounts for specific specials, giveaways with limited quantities, or a free gift.
You can also try using other short incentives that communicate achievement. Check out this trifold pamphlet tutorial that very positively states, “Let’s reach your potential.”
9. Make It Easy to Respond
Include vital contact information in the brochure. Readers might not be able to find the information, even if you’ve included all they need. Therefore, place it somewhere highly visible like the back panel or even the cover.
If you are showing multiple personnel profiles, add contact information for each person. Include a website, email, social media accounts, phone number, and address. QR codes are also popular. With a quick scan, they can take people to a specific website.
This template has all the necessary information laid out on the back panel. It is clean and clear so readers won't have a hard time finding it.
Unlike the example above, this bifold brochure has the contact information on the cover. This is great if there's ample space that allows you to include everything you need.
10. Design a Brochure Worth Keeping
Compared to other pieces of printed design, brochures tend to have a short life. They aren’t often seen as something to be kept for a long time and usually end in the trash right after they are delivered to users. Designing not only an eye-catching brochure but one that can double its use can help users wonder, “What else can I use this for?”
Photography portfolios and fashion and furniture brochures have a higher chance of being kept. Readers usually want to go back and take a look at the latest artistic and fashion trends. Furniture catalogues are great inspiration for most users on how to decorate, so consider adding tips along with the content.
Check out this tutorial on how to make a stylish Adobe InDesign portfolio template. Art and beautiful imagery are a great way to entice readers to keep your brochures, so why not give it a try!
Designers tend to be collectors, and most people keep things that feel expensive to the touch. It isn’t always necessary to spend more money to design something worth keeping. To add value to a brochure, include useful information that serves a purpose to the user, such as a city guide, a calendar, or emergency numbers.
If the budget allows, try investing in a different paper weight, high-end finishes, and special processes. It might not seem like much, but the way a printed piece feels on the hands can dictate what your users think of the company. Talk to your printer to see what options are available, and they might be able to help you raise the bar on your next marketing brochure design.
Check out this tutorial on how to create a fold-out city guide—it's a clever idea!
Now It's Your Turn!
Once your brochure is designed, take your time to look at the final product. A round of edits is helpful to see if you can lose some elements that aren’t helping in the design. Make sure there’s a second pair of eyes reading the copy—here you really want to avoid typos and mistakes. Finally, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the brochure grab attention?
- Is the message communicated clearly?
- Is the call to action clear?
- Does the brochure represent the brand?
Brochure designs are fun, but there are many considerations to keep in mind. Aim for a long-lasting design, and when in doubt, keep it simple. If you are new to design, pre-designed templates can make your job much easier. Layouts and fonts are figured out for you, and if necessary, you can customise the colors.
Most of them are easy to edit—simply add your content and images, and you are good to go. If you want to explore InDesign portfolio templates or fashion portfolio templates right away, head over to Envato Elements and GraphicRiver. We’ve got many options!
If you are an experienced designer and are looking to create mockups of your brochure designs, head over to Placeit. The website provides you with a wide selection of images in which you can apply our own design to quickly mock up projects.
We've gathered some of our favorite tutorials below. If you want to dive into creating your own designs, this is a great place to start:
- BrochureHow to Make a BrochureGrace Fussell
- Print Design21 Creative Microsoft Word Brochure Templates (Best for 2019!)Melody Nieves
- CommunicationHow to Quickly Make a Brochure In Microsoft Word Using a TemplateSharon Hurley Hall
- Print DesignHow to Change Page Size in InDesignLaura Keung
- Adobe InDesignHow to Make a Bi-Fold Brochure in InDesignGrace Fussell
- BrochureHow to Make a Travel Brochure Template in InDesignGrace Fussell
- InDesign TemplatesHow to Make a Booklet in InDesignLaura Keung
- PortfoliosHow to Make a Portfolio Brochure Template in InDesignGrace Fussell
- Adobe InDesignHow to Make an InDesign Catalog TemplateGrace Fussell
- Print DesignHow to Make a Marketing Brochure Template in InDesignLaura Keung