Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Brochure Design: Creating a Winner

I spent a lot of time thinking about what makes a good brochure while re-designing OhioLINK's brochures. Some of the tips I found really resonated with me, in fact they resonated enough that I was able to see our current brochure with fresh eyes and give it the overhaul it desperately needed.

So here's a compendium of some of the tips that helped me.

First, the ever-insightful Seth Godin reminded us that people won't read your brochure. His tips (go to the post for more):
  • Use less copy. Half as much.
  • Use testimonials. With photos. Short captions. It's hard to have too many of the good ones.
  • Make it funny enough or interesting enough or, hey, remarkable enough that people will want to show it to their friends.
  • Show, don't tell.
Another helpful article is "Effective Brochure Design":
  • Use white space
  • Stick to two typefaces, and strictly limit your use of bold, capitalization, underline, etc.
These key tips from are also good:
  • Make the cover as POWERFUL as possible.
  • Use a single quality image on the cover. Research suggests that one large image is more effective then several small ones.
  • Be easy to identify – use your logo effectively. Develop a consistent theme for your printed material.
And, because you can never have too many tips, here are a few from me:
  • Focus on the reader. It's not about what you offer. It's about what you can do for them. Which of their problems can you solve?
  • Looks matter. If you don't have the design skills to create a killer brochure, hire someone, talk to your campus marketing office, or find a design student to help you.
  • Don't use a template. You want to stand out from the crowd, using a common template does just the opposite.
  • Avoid jargon at all costs. And some of the things you think aren't jargon, are. Instead of talking about the databases you have, tell me how they can help me.
  • Just say no to clip art. I don't know about you, but clip art screams amateur to me. If you need good graphics on a budget try It's awesome.
  • Get a second opinion. Have someone outside the library look at the brochure and give you a frank opinion.
  • Include all your contact information. That means your address, e-mail, IM, phone, URL, etc. These should be on everything you produce.
So what does a good library brochure look like? Here are a few I found:
What brochures would you add to the list?

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