Friday, June 17, 2011

Top Ten Tips for Brochure Design

(for libraries or anyone else)

1. Figure out the main objective of the piece. Is it an advertising brochure, or an information brochure? It cannot do both equally - you need to decide what is the top priority.

2. Think about the "vibe" you want the piece to have. Should it be accessible and welcoming? Sleek and corporate? Hip and trendy? Don't just wing this - decide in advance. It will help you as you select fonts, colors and photos.

3. Word and Publisher templates are not your friends. They're the cutting edge of design from the 80's. Avoid.

4. Clip art is not your friend. Clip art tends to make a publication look amateur. Even if you are limited to black-and-white, try using graphic elements (like large blocks of ink, and bold fonts) rather than clip art.

5. Avoid aligning elements right on the fold. Folding is almost never an exact science, so graphic elements that need to be folded just-so are likely to end up looking bad. Instead, build a small folding buffer into the design.

6. Cut down your text. Cut it drastically. Cut it in half. The more text there is, the less likely people are to read it. (I know, I know, this is a horrible thing to say to information professionals. But you have to do it.)

7. In that vein, don't explain things that don't need explaining. Saying "Free Wi -fi" is enough - you don't need to write a paragraph about it.

8. A single large image is better than a collage of images. I know it's tempting to try to include lots of pictures, to advertise all your different services and appeal to all your varied users. Restrain this impulse and select a few striking images to illustrate your main point.

9. Limit your fonts. Don't use more than two - and they should both be very easy to read.

10. Skim-ability is important. Use headings, and make them meaningful. Separate chunks of information with color blocks. Use bullet points.

Have fun!

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