Should I do it myself? If you have good computer and writing skills, and an eye for aesthetics, you can work directly with a print shop or design your own brochure using desktop publishing tools, such as Microsoft Publisher or Adobe PageMaker. These are excellent tools and can save you money if you have the time and necessary skills. Even so, it’s important to be very honest in assessing your ability to tackle this project on your own. A homemade brochure is unlikely to save you money in the long run if it is poorly designed and doesn’t help market your practice effectively.
How can a good graphic designer help me? Working with a graphic designer who can assist with the content, design, paper selection, and printing process can be a good investment. Many designers have relationships with print shops and can help you get good quality printing at a reasonable price.
As when working with any consultant, if you decide to use a designer, you should interview several before making a decision. Be sure to look at their portfolios and ask to see examples of any similar brochures they have designed.
You can locate a professional designer online via the American Institute of Graphic Arts, a professional association for designers with more than 16,000 members. You can also find a designer by looking in the phone book business directory, or by contacting the graphic arts department of a local university or art school. If you are in an institutional setting, you might find it helpful to talk to someone in your marketing department. When you’ve chosen a designer, get a cost estimate in writing and discuss payment and deadlines in advance.
What are some general design guidelines?
Consider the following:
Your text and graphics should flow logically.
Headers are useful for leading readers through the brochure and helping them find key information.
Use adequate margins and space between lines of text.
Break up your design using headers, text boxes and white space for a clean, easy-to-read look.
Use a legible font, no smaller than a 12-point size and avoid anything too ornate.
Bold text and italics should be used sparingly for headlines and key points only.
Choose your graphics judiciously and include only those that relate to your content.
How much color should I use?
Good use of color can enhance the quality of your brochure. Although one- and two-color printing is less expensive, full (four-color) printing looks more professional. Take your budget into consideration and make the choice that is best for you. A good two-color brochure is better than a mediocre four-color piece.
What should I consider in selecting paper?
Paper selection is important, and you will have many options to choose from. Consider the color, weight, texture, and finish of the paper. Do you want a glossy brochure or something soft and textured? Do you prefer a solid color or a marbled pattern?
Whatever paper you choose, it should look professional. Stay away from colors such as lime green and fuchsia. Typical copier or printer paper (usually 20-lb. weight) is generally too thin and can look cheap. Use 70-lb. stock or heavier and stick with a standard size, such as 8 ½” x 11”, to reduce cost and make your brochures easier to mail.