Create visual appeal and unity in your brochure. Present the most important information first and the least important information last. Direct the reader’s eye movement with “Z” and “F” pattern layouts. Arrange design elements around a visual focal point to achieve balance in design. The size and color of objects affects their visual weight. Larger, dark objects appear heavy, while smaller, light-colored objects appear lighter.
Color contrast can be used effectively to call attention to important points, make fonts stand out, and create backgrounds that harmonize with pictures and text. Select pictures carefully, for relevance, grab attention, demonstrate a point, and provide credibility. After the headline, captions are the most read text in a brochure. Design them to be easy to read and to enhance the power of the images. Use white space smartly to provide and upmarket look and ‘breathing space’ in your layout.
In this article we will look at some key points in developing a great brochure design.
* Hierarchy of information
* Eye movement
* Visual weight
* Balance in design
* 3 fonts or less
* The right pictures
* White space
* Design your captions
* Respect your reader’s common sense
Your brochure should be well-organized and all the elements should appear unified and form a cohesive whole. This creates harmony, balance and consistency that provide a positive impact on the reader.
1. Follow the hierarchy of information
Present the most important information first and the least important last.
2. Direct the reader’s eye movement
The eye naturally moves from left to right and from top to bottom (for occidental languages which are read from left to right). Design your brochure to attract and direct eye movement so that the reader takes in the information in the order in which you’d like to present it.
‘Z’ and ‘F’ layout patterns following eye movements across the page.
Designers place important elements where the eyes linger most.
Many layouts follow a ‘Z’ or ‘F’pattern, keeping in mind the areas where the eyes dwell most on the page. The designer would like the reader’s eyes to dwell longer on the most dominant element in the page, whether it is a headline or visual. So s/he designs the layout so that the dominant elements follow a ‘Z’ pattern or ‘F’ pattern and lead the reader from (say) the logo to the headline, the main visual, the body text and to a call-to-action text box inviting the reader to call, email or write in for more information, or a free booklet or a technician’s visit. Here you must make sure to include all your contact information.
3. Aim for balance in design.
Arrange the design elements asymmetrically or symmetrically around the visual focal point or optical center of a page, which is just above the geometric center. This is where the eye tends to dwell longer.
The Jeep brochure is a great example of perfect balance in a design that combines a map, a logo, text, rugged terrain as well as photographs of the vehicles. The logo provides a focal point in the centerfold and cover of the brochure. The dotted line conveys the ability of the Jeep to maneuver off the beaten track – “Wherever you can reach.”
4. Consider the visual weight of design elements
The visual weight of different objects varies depending on their size, color, contrast and other factors. Larger/darker objects are seen as heavier; smaller/lighter objects are seen as lighter in weight. Effective color contrast calls the reader’s attention to what is important on the page, through subheads, text boxes and blurbs. Contrast aids readability and directs eye movement.
Orascom Developments Brochures: These brochures effectively use color contrast inspired by the architecture design of two housing projects they promote.
5. Use 3 fonts or less.
Use no more than 3 fonts – less is more in brochure design. Look for legibility, readability and choose type families which have an underlying sense of unity. Use size and color to emphasize or play down fonts, and avoid overused fonts.
The Tea brochure uses font size and color attractively.
6. Let your pictures talk.
Select them carefully
– for relevance to your message
– to grab attention, create drama or a sense of urgency
– to demonstrate a point you’ve made in the text/brochure copy
– to provide credibility for your business
Use captions to make your pictures work harder to present your sales message. Or you can use callouts that point to certain sections of a picture that you want the reader to notice.
The Logiprint brochure with the upraised fists holding the designer’s tools – pencils with a prominent focus on the eraser, along with the stack of paper between the featured works, visualizes the effort and creative energy required to create revolutionary ideas.
The Stephanie Golla honey project resulted in an informative series of seven books on honeybees, hanging in a beehive.
7. Make smarter use of white space.
White space includes the leading (space) between lines of type, margins, pictures, graphics and columns. Create a balance between positive space and negative space (white space) in your design. If used aesthetically, white space can give your brochure an elegant and upscale appearance.
Provide enough space for pictures and text so that they don’t appear cramped and crowded. Your images, headlines and text need “breathing space” or the pages of your brochure will appear too busy, cluttered and difficult to read.
The Yahoo! marketing brochure has a premium look with intelligent use of white space where images and graphics stand out.
The ReVisit brochures to promote heritage venues and artists use white space for an upmarket look.
8. Craft and design your brochure captions with care.
Next to the cover and headlines, the captions are the most read text in your brochure. Get important selling points across in your captions, subheads and relevant images. Use catchy captions to grab your reader’s attention. Captions are a quick way to convey your product story and draw the reader into the detailed copy.
Give your brochure captions the attention they deserve. Design them to be easy to read and to enhance the power of the images. Give them space and weight. Put them into text boxes with color. Use a different font size to set them apart. Choose a smaller font from your main font family rather than italics which tend to strain the eyes and become hard to read.
9. Remember the common sense factor.
Create visual appeal and unity in your brochure, but don’t forget the all-important common sense factor through which your customer filters all information. As David Ogilvy said, “The customer is not a moron. She’s your wife. Don’t insult her intelligence.” Ensure that your brochure presents all the relevant facts in an attractive and engaging way with headlines, captions, pictures and copy arranged in a hierarchy of information.
Your brochure is the first step in making the sale. Make it count.
Get more brochure design tips, insights and inspiration here.