While you may not want to accept the fact that your brochures are a bit boring and ugly, don’t be too discouraged. You don’t need to be a professional designer in order to create a polished piece. However, before you go all DIY crazy, there are 5 major mistakes you need to avoid.
1. A confusing layout
Design is all about directing the viewer's eye to where you want them to look. If your brochure is chalk full of randomly placed text boxes and graphics of all shapes and sizes, your content is sure to look chaotic rather than organized. Readers become easily overwhelmed when they don’t know where to look, so it’s crucial that your layout makes sense with your content.
Remember, less is more. Use plenty of white space to break up sections of text to make your brochure skimmable. While it’s super tempting to shove every little bit of information onto each page, a busy layout will hardly engage your audience. Keep it light and simple.
2. Fonts that distract from your content
Font choice will make or break your brochure. There are a few things you should keep in mind when making your selection:
Choose fonts that are legible. What good is your content if no one can read it? Steer clear of handwritten or script fonts. If you have to squint in order to read it or struggle to decipher one letter from another, it’s probably not the best choice. Fancy is not always better.
Limit your selection to two font choices that complement one another. Using multiple fonts that don’t mesh well aesthetically will start to look more cheesy than design savvy. While it’s OK that your fonts contrast, they should never conflict. In other words, it’s never a good idea to use Times New Roman and Comic Sans in the same document.
Refrain from using too many font sizes, and limit yourself to four standard sizes. Most desktop publishers have size selections that are preset with options like Header 1, Header 2, Header 3, and Body text. Use these to help you stay organized and consistent with your font sizes. While it may be tempting to make individual blocks of text smaller or larger depending on the space you need them to fill; you'll want to remain consistent.
3. Poor quality images
Brochures offer a wealth of information, so it’s important to utilize visuals in order to enhance viewer comprehension. Clarify your message with captivating photos or icons tailored to your content.
However, be picky with your selection. Don’t use cheesy stock photos or low-resolution images. Avoid pixelated or blurred printouts while choosing visuals that resonate with your desired audience. The purpose of these pictures is to highlight words, not distract from or conflict with them.
4. A disjointed brand image
A brochure serves as a powerful branding piece, so it’s crucial that the design aligns with your current branding elements. Incorporate the same fonts, logos, and colors that are used on your website as well as other marketing materials. Do not veer from or drastically change these elements. Your audience needs to readily recognize this piece as your company’s.
Imagine if Coca-Cola’s brochure designer replaced its signature red with an electric purple. Do you think readers would be a tad confused?--Definitely! The object of design is to further solidify and promote your brand, so it’s best not to create a conflicting message.
5. Lazy editing
People tend to downplay the meticulous process of editing, but it is the most important step in the process! Yes, it’s tedious and sometimes frustrating, but it’s every bit necessary to ensure that all of your alignment and spacing is correct.
This is where a second pair of eyes becomes extremely valuable. Let’s be honest, you’ve probably been staring at these documents for so long that your eyes are turning to mush (don’t worry, I’ve totally been there). A second reviewer will be able to identify errors that you may have missed and offer some helpful insight.
Do not downplay this process as it may take you a while (in some cases, longer than your initial design)! However, it’s completely worth it to ensure every line, picture, and text box are precisely placed. Being lazy will result in regrettable mishaps.
When it comes to designing your own brochures, you need to be both patient and realistic. Do not take on a project you know full-well you don’t have the skills to deliver. Be creative, be meticulous, and do your best to avoid these 5 common mistakes.
What are some of your design dos and dont's?