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Brochure design – takeaway or throwaway?

Oxygen recently designed a brochure for Heathcoat Fabrics’ exhibition stand at Techtextil, the largest technical fabric exhibition in the world. (We made sure it matched the design of their exhibition stand, which we were also responsible for.) Heathcoat experienced unprecedented levels of high-quality interest, all of which goes to show that a takeaway like your brochure should never be throwaway.

“Heathcoat experienced unprecedented levels of high-quality interest all of which goes to show that a takeaway like your brochure should never be throwaway.”

Brochures – a little bit of your company that the customer takes away with them

A brochure is one of the most important elements of your business. It’s the tangible product your customers take away with them, and often the only tangible reminder they’ll have to return and order. It’s your showcase in their environment. But bad design, bad copywriting or poor quality will mean that this sometimes expensive to produce item gets thrown away all too soon. That’s a waste of an opportunity.

Brochure design − Know what you want to achieve before you start

As with all written materials, it’s essential to know what you want to achieve with a brochure before you start. Oxygen isn’t just a design agency, we’re an award winning full service marketing communications agency so we have a 360 degree perspective on brochure design. We take the time to ensure we design and/or copywrite something that achieves your business goals. Whether it’s as simple as including a back pocket for applications in a prospectus so that customers are encouraged to act immediately, such as the one we recently designed for Honiton Community College. Or as complicated as using die-cut shapes to create pop-up elements to help to sell your product or service.

Brochure design − Choosing paper

We don’t just design and copywrite, we also operate an ISO14001 certified printing franchise that provides the best possible rates across complex and bespoke printing requirements. So we know a thing or two about choosing the right paper in order to make the right impression. Your choice of paper should be influenced by the type of organisation you are, and how you want your customers to perceive you. For instance, if you’re a charity, your customers may feel that your glossy high-quality paper brochure has been paid for out of their donations. On the other hand, if you’re offering an expensive high-end service, customers won’t believe in your ability to deliver if your brochure feels at all cheap. Choices include matte, semi-matte, silk and gloss in varying weights and paper can be coated on one side only if preferred. However sometimes the psychology of paper choice can be reversed to make you stand out. Cheaper uncoated papers, which are usually reserved for text only because of they way they soak up the ink and make text easier to read, can sometimes create a artistically striking and exclusive feel. A professional design service like Oxygen can advise you on what will work best for your product or service.

Brochure design – Choosing the right format

If you’re including inserts or application forms, think about whether you want folded or glued pockets. How many sheets will your presentation folder need to hold​? Anything over the equivalent off 10 sheets of 80gsm copier paper and it will need a ‘spine’ to increase your folder capacity. 10-20 sheets of 80gsm paper (or equivalent) will need a 2mm spine and 20-40 sheets will need a 4mm spine.

Brochure design – colour

You can use colour to influence mood, with cool tones giving an air of sophistication, warm ones of cosiness and bright ones of fun. Leaving your design monochrome can help emphasise product pictures especially if they’re bright, or you can use it selectively to highlight important content such as instructions. Dark colours will look heavier and appear to take up more space than lighter ones.

How’s your old brochure looking? Like a takeaway or a throwaway? If you need help getting your brochure design right, give Oxygen a call on 0845 2606 255.

Steve Lodge: Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.