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10 Ways to Make Your Business Brochure Look More Professional

written by: Amber Neely•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 4/16/2012

If you're looking for brochure inspiration, you've come to the right place. Here you'll find a ton of tips on everything from the merits of bold accent colors to the faults of cluttered and slapdash layouts, and they're all paired with pictures of fantastic, existing brochures.

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    Use Interesting Layouts

    Use Interesting Layouts 

    Providing an interesting layout for your brochure is something that can go a long way in getting it noticed. Of course, you're going to want to match the mood of your brochure to the mood of your business - the example above uses TripShake, which is a question/answer service for those who enjoy traveling. The bright and playful layout is engaging, and almost begs you to pick it up and look through it. This is a great idea, especially if you're planning on leaving your brochures somewhere public and want people to pick them up, rather than going to be handing them out to customers. By providing an interesting layout, you're essentially saying "Hey, take a look at this!" which can help you snag a few customers or get your word out.

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    Interesting Layout on a Budget

    Interesting Layout on a Budget 

    Of course, an interesting layout doesn't have to be overly fussy or use too much ink! By employing fun fonts, interesting text placement, and an overall fun-to-read design, your brochure can really engage the viewer. After all, most people don't see a large chunk of text and instantly think that they want to read it - you have to provide some visual interest there. The design above showcases how some fun fonts and a non-traditional layout can be both cost-effective, as well as fun to flip through. This is an especially smart tip for those of you who are designing on a tight budget and don't have a lot to put into printing images or a lot of colors.

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    Attract Attention With High Impact Colors

    Attract Attention With High Impact Colors 

    Using high impact colors on a brochure can help draw in attention. You might think that you can't do this without looking unprofessional, but simply adding a bright color - such as blue in the example above - against a dark background can do wonders for making your brochure stand out. Another great color scheme idea that requires less ink, and can be a little more cost-effective, can be to use white with orange, red, green, or blue accents, which saves on trying to cover your entire brochure in a dark color or relying on expensive alternative printing methods.

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    Color: Too Much of a Good Thing?

    Color: Too Much of a Good Thing? 

    Conversely, using too much of an impact color can have a very negative effect as well. The example above showcases a very orange layout, which looks quite stunning, but the use of white text on an orange background can be jarring, as well as hard to read. Another setback is that colored inks are costly to use, or the cost of production can skyrocket if you're using specialty paper that requires an alternative type of printing to make text visible, such as flexography printing or screen printing. If you're looking to save money while still making a great impression and looking good, choose a light color, such as white or pastels, and accent them with bolder or brighter colors.

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    Matching Your Business' Color Scheme

    Matching Your Business' Color Scheme 

    Of course, there's a lot to be said for those who can match their brochure to whatever it is they are promoting. For example, say you want to spread the word about your hotel, which is elegantly decorated in browns and tans. By including images of your hotel, as well as a beautiful color scheme that can be associated with your logo or the exterior of your building, you can help create a lasting image of your business. The example template above achieves just that, boasting a fantastic brochure layout that has been designed to showcase both thoughtfully laid out images as well as an attractive color scheme.

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    Don't Be Afraid to Use Images...

    Don't Be Afraid to Use Images... 

    You can say what you want, but when it really boils down to it, adults aren't so different from kids. Do you remember enjoying picture books as a child? Well, using images to market things or showcase information is another fantastic way to get people to pick up your brochure. The example above showcases a fantastic layout where one large image adds a ton of visual interest to the cover of this brochure. By putting this attractive red-eyed tree frog on the front of their brochure, it helps guide people to pick up something that they may actually need to tour the California Academy of Science - a map!

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    But Use them Wisely...

    But Use them Wisely... 

    Of course, you can go a little too far when using images as well. While the design above is a good example of an attractive brochure, it still feels a little overwhelming. Layering images atop of each other tends to take away from all the images involved. Another setback to brochure designs like this is that they tend to be extremely expensive to print - imagine just how much ink it takes to create these beach photos. This is something you want to steer away from if you're designing on a budget. So if you're going to include images, just be smart about it. Like so many things in life, a little bit seems to go a long way.

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    Simple, Yet Cohesive Layouts

    Simple, Yet Cohesive Layouts 

    A simple brochure is not a bad thing by any means. When it really boils down to it, all you need for a great brochure is a readable font and a cohesive layout. In fact, choosing a simple layout over an overly complicated one can make a layout more effective. The example above shows a bit of a dated brochure, yes, but the elements of design are still there. The font is easily read, the images showcase what visitors can expect at White Rock resort, while the red band at the top acts as a sort of page title. While this may be an old brochure, it stands the test of time as a great example of what designers should strive for.

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    Avoid a Cluttered Layout

    Avoid a Cluttered Layout 

    Sometimes a designer gets a little over ambitious and includes a bit too much information or too many images within their design. The example above showcases a design that could use a little bit of help. The bright colors on the cover tend to be a bit jarring when you look at it, and the designs of the snowflakes feel needlessly detailed. The border at the top detracts from the informational pages, and the different colors of pages lend to a bit of a slapdash feel. Be sure to create a feeling of cohesion throughout your design and make sure your fonts aren't crammed together on one page. Using borders, text boxes, and a well-planned out color scheme is your best bet for creating something attractive and easy to read.

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    Put Your Best Page Forward

    Put Your Best Page Forward 

    One of the best ways to draw people to your brochure is to create a beautiful cover, complete with images or logos, an attractive color scheme, and important information. The example above showcases a beautiful layout in wine red with a high quality image on the front. This design seems to beg the viewer to pick it up and thumb through it. One of the advantages to putting a lot of effort into the cover is that the inside can be used for a more utilitarian purpose - informing people - saving you on printing costs and time spent trying to create a complex design. Not to mention, a well designed cover can say a lot about how much effort you put into your business.

References

  • Information provided by Amber Neely, images credited to their original designers or photographers.