A great way to start when designing a brochure (as with just about anything else you want to design) is to collect existing brochures from competitors and other brochures that exhibit elements, or an overall look, that you like. Then study them. Incorporate the things you like, add your own ideas and disregard the rest.

It’s best to stay with the basics, especially if you’re a new designer. Following are 7 things to remember when designing a brochure.

1. Define your audience.
First you need to analyze your target market. Who are they? Are they young, old, athletic, formal, businesses…? Choose graphic elements (images & fonts) that will appeal to them, and stay focused. Keep the design clear and simple, and try no to use more than two or three different fonts. You can vary the size of the font according to the importance of the element or selling point and you should stay away from excessive underlining and italics, which can cause clutter and make text harder to read.

2. Don’t overdo it.
Know the purpose of your brochure, and don’t try to cram too
many things into it. Make a list of necessary information and position the elements in order of their importance. Try sketching out your brochure to help you figure out what works best for you before you start building it in your software program.

3. Keep it simple.
Stick with the message your trying to convey and only use the elements you need to communicate it effectively. Don’t try to show your audience what a great designer you are by trying to add all sorts of “creative” graphics and the like. Showing off will only distract you’re audience and detract from your message.

4. Use color correctly.
If you’re going to be printing a brochure (as opposed to making an electronic brochure on your web site), black and white can very effective in many cases, and desirable if you’re trying to keep your costs down. However, if you want a colorful brochure, make sure you know what you’re doing when creating your color scheme. If you don’t, use a color wheel to help you. If you don’t know what a color wheel is you can look it up on the Internet. Here’s a link to get you started. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_wheel

5. Don’t create clutter with borders, bars and boxes.
The first thing to remember is to use borders, bars and boxes sparingly. They can help you draw the readers attention to a brochure element or group like elements together, but too many will give your brochure a cluttered look and can distract your audience.

6. Use space wisely.
Some designers make a mistake in trying to draw attention to an important part of a brochure’s message by using empty space (often referred to as “negative” space). So there is an element or two and then a sea of nothing surrounding it. Some take pride in this minimalist approach and think it to be very creative. It’s not. It’s a lazy approach and a huge waste of selling space that can be very expensive. On the other hand, some designers will overdo it and stuff their brochure with everything they can squeeze into it, which makes it confusing and hard to read. Your job as a designer is to create an aesthetically pleasing balance of design elements and clear space.

7. Give the star of the show the most space.
This is a no-brainer, but worth mentioning. The most important parts of your message should receive more space than the lesser parts of you message. It’s as simple as that. Enough said.