Thursday March 01, 2018

5 tips for designing and printing the best brochures

Brochures are not just about getting a message across. They’re about giving customers a tangible extension of a brand experience. Arguably one of the biggest challenges of designing a brochure is the fact that the information they present is time-sensitive. So, as a designer, you really need to pull out all the stops to achieve that wow impact and create something memorable. What’s more, no matter how great the design, the printing process is what really determines whether a brochure is going to be perceived as high-quality. 

1. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

We get it: you love your job, and you want your brochures to reflect your creativity and unique style as a graphic designer. Still, don’t forget you’re not designing for yourself, but for a specific client who has a particular target audience and perhaps even color psychology in mind.

2. Say it with pictures

As cliché as it may sound, a picture really does say more than a thousand words. Hence, choose your imagery wisely. Your target audience won’t be reading your brochures as much as they will look at them, so refrain from complex words and fuzzy copy as much as you can and let the graphic design do most of the talking. Also, steer away from generic images. Is there room in the budget for a professional photoshoot? Go for it!

3. Keep those corners curvy

The best brochures are those which are not just memorable, but something readers want to hold on to. You don’t want to design a breath-taking brochure only for it to look flimsy after a few reads, so make sure your brochure can take a beating. Corners are key here. Prone to wear and tear, square corners are bound to end up looking dog-eared sooner or later. If more expensive finishing is not an issue, opt for rounded corners as they are more resistant to damage.

4. Pick an optimal paper stock

In the end, brochures are like business cards. If they look and feel cheap, you’re going to make a cheap impression with them. Which is okay if you’re designing a brochure for a discount store, but not so much if you’re looking to promote a more upscale product or service. Some rules of thumb:

  • 130-170 GSM is a perfect weight for the inside pages of brochures.
  • 170-200 GSM is ideal for brochure covers.

5. Finish in style

Want to make absolutely sure your brochure will be a keeper? The secret is in the finishing. Some popular finishing options worth considering for brochures:

  • Aqueous coating protects brochures from scuffs, smudges and fingerprints. It can be glossy, matte or satin.
  • Laminate can be done glossy or matte, but know that a matte laminate will alter the colors of your design.
  • UV coating does not really make brochures more durable, but it does prevent ink from smearing while also giving the brochure a shiny look. Fingerprints will show in dark areas, though.
  • Spot coating is applied to only one area of the brochure cover while the rest of the cover is left untreated or gets a different type of coating. It’s ideal for highlighting certain elements (text, images, …) of your design.

Preflight your brochure design like a pro

You can’t put a price on a great brochure design, and printing quality brochures doesn’t come cheap. Protect yourself against making expensive mistakes and avoid reprints by preflighting like a pro!

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About Andrew Bailes-Collins

PitStop Pro 2018

Andrew Bailes-Collins is Senior Product Manager at Enfocus.

He graduated from what is now the London College of Communications and went on to serve an apprenticeship as a compositor. He has worked for a number of vendors in the printing and publishing sector, including Scangraphic, Apple and DuPont/Crosfield.

Andrew has been Prepress Manager for several high-quality printing companies in London, managing the change from conventional production techniques to digital. An early adopter of computer-to-plate and PDF workflow, Andrew then worked at OneVision Software for ten years. Initially based in the UK, before rising through the company to become Head of Product Management Europe at their head office near Munich in Germany.

Andrew joined Enfocus and moved to Belgium in 2011 and is the Senior Product Manager responsible for the PitStop family of products. He is also the Technical Officer for the Ghent Workgroup and Co-Chair of the GWG specifications sub-committee.

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