9 Tips for Creative Brochure Designs

9 Tips for Creative Brochure Designs

9 Tips for Creative Brochure Designs

Brochure are one of my more favorite things to design. Why? Because the creative possibilities are endless. As a graphic designer they are one of the things I look forward to designing. Do not take me wrong, I love designing websites and newsletters, but these little gems stretch my creative abilities to the max.

To start with, what is a brochure?  Wikipedia says this about Brochures.

First and foremost, it is a marketing piece. Something to be handed out to prospective clients that has a lot of information and photographs about your business. Something well designed that will put your companies best foot forward and give a would-be client something to remember and to hold onto. It’s an introduction of the best kind.

Brochures can be a single page (tri-fold, gate-fold or bi-fold) or multi paged (perfect bound, saddle stitched) or have different names such as – pamphlet, booklet or leaflet that can be used for a catalog, menu or for sales. The most common brochure style is a trifold or six panel which is actually a single 8.5 x 11” sheet folded into thirds. This design is just the begining of the variations that this amazing pamphlet can become.

Creative Ideas on Brochure Designs
Creative Ideas on Brochure Designs

People will interact with this compact but effective tool that is jammed packed with information. They will turn it over, unfold the panels, flip the pages. It gives you a chance to design this user experience and how they will perceive you and your business from the start.

9 Tips for Creative Brochure Designs

 

1.) Be Clear of The Purpose of Your Brochure and Message

What is your message? Focus on what that message is and how your text and photographs relate to one another to make your message clear. Make sure your fonts, colors, copy, layout and images all work together and enhance one another. Who will be reading it? Will it be a persuasive tool or an educational piece? Will it be on display at a retail location or handed out or both? Write out your copy first and the design around that with your copy and photographs. Add a call-to-action. Be clear on what you want the reader to do.

2.) Use the Brochure Format to Your Advantage

How do you do that? Think about how your prospective customer will see the brochure. First, they see the cover then they open it to see what is underneath then they may flip it over and view the back panels. Make it interesting with a surprise that may be reviled as they open the pamphlet.

3.) Carefully Consider the Number and Size of Panels and Pages

You may want to have a general over view of your company or hone in on a specific service that you provide. If you have more information that can fit on an 8.5 x 11” then you can use a 8.5 x 14”. You will want to be cost effective as possible, so you may want to talk to your printer on what the cost may be on each style before you proceed.

4.) Draw Out Your Idea

I recommend that you take a 8.5 x 11” or 8.5 x 14” blank sheet and fold it to the configuration that you want your brochure to look. This step is really important, so you can view how the panels and folds will actually look. Now draw out the different possibilities with a pencil and eraser. This pencil drawing will help you to see first-hand your ideas and make changes easily.

Great Brochure Design Tips

So many things become very clear as you do this exercise. It’s just a rough sketch so do not try and make it perfect. Make a couple of designs with the elements in different spots on the brochure. It’s also not a bad idea to have a couple of people view your ideas for their opinion. At this point if you are hiring a designer, take a cell phone shot of your ideas and send them to them. As designers we do not always know what is going on in someone’s head, so this step gets us in the ball park real fast.  

5.) Font Usage

How will the topography work? Fonts selection is huge and how will they work with each other? Will you use serif fonts (old style with arms and legs) or with or san serif (without)? I personally think using serif typeface looks great on titles and subtitles and can be fancy as long as they are readable. Always use san serifs on sentences and paragraphs because they are much easier to read. Keep your font selection to a minimum. One serif and One san serif. Select a font that has a large family (bold, italic, weight) because it will give you give you many choices that will keep it consistent looking.

6.) Photographs

Photography on marketing material is BIG! A good selection of quality images is a must. They need to be high resolution and lend themselves to what you are trying to show or sell. You can use your own images, use a stock agency or hire a photographer but they need to be of excellent quality. When we design a brochure we use a stock agency many times because they give a big selection to pick from that will tell the story in just the right way that only a great photograph can do.

9 Tips for Creative Brochure Designs

7.) Design a Great Cover

The cover will be the first thing that people will see so you want to make that as attractive and inviting as possible. Make it unique. Do not just put your logo and a photo on this cover but something that will draw the viewer into the rest of the brochure. Use a catchy headline or title, call to action or engaging question. Keep it short. Keep the front cover clean without clutter. Remember many brochures will go on a display rack and only the top third will be visible, and you might be competing with other brochures.  

 Graphic Design on Brochures

8.) Paper Stock for Your Brochure

How thick and how will your brochure feel? Paper will be the tactile part of your brochure experience. Quality, weight and coating will speak volumes all by itself. What do you want that to say? Use a heaver stock when it’s a more substantial brochure. If your brochure needs multiple folds use something thinner but not too thin. This will help it to lay flat and fold clean.

9.) Pick a Good Printing Company

I cannot stress this enough. Make sure the printer is someone you can work with. Contact the printing company before you start on the design.

Ask them questions like:

A.) How do they want to receive the file to be printed?

B.) Do they want it in the native file like Illustrator or InDesign so they can make some basic adjustments or a high resolution PDF or JPG?

C.) Will they print out a sample?

If possible have your printing company print out a sample brochure or two to make sure that finished product will be exactly what you want. You will be able to feel it and make sure it folds like you have intended it to fold and nothing is over lapping and stays within its panels and folds. You will also be able to see if the printer cut or trimmed off too much from the edges and if it needs to be adjusted before he/she prints off a whole bunch of copies.

If you have hired a graphic designer, he will be able to navigate and connect to your printing company on the different issues I just listed above. Leave it to him to sort this out with the people that are actually doing the printing. Better yet, let the designer recommend a printing company that he/she has used before.

Creative Ways to Design Flyers
Creative Ways to Design Flyers

In conclusion

Remember, Creative Brochure Designs are a great marketing piece for your company or business. If they are designed right they can be very effective. I would reflect on these tips as you go through the design process.  

Here are some more idea’s and tips on alternative uses of a Brochures by U Printing.

I also wrote a blog article on layout and design of newsletter that you might find interesting 5 Design Tips for a Great Newsletter and one on website design 9 Signs its Time for a New Website

If you have any questions on the designing brochures, please send us a email. We would love to help you with your next marketing idea.

9 Tips for Creative Brochure Designs

Creative Ideas on Brochure Designs

Great Brochure Design Tips

Graphic Design on Brochures  

Creative Ways to Design Flyers    

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Reinventing Myself Through Graphic Design

Reinventing Myself Through Graphic Design

Reinventing Myself Through Graphic Design

I was a professional photographer for 40+ years when I became disabled with a hip replacement that went south. I no longer had the mobility I once had so going back to school for graphic design was the next logical choice.

The same layout and placement of elements is very similar in many ways. Now, I design behind a big computer screen instead of a small digital computer called a camera.

I also have found the graphic art principles also apply to designing websites.

Finding Myself Through Graphic Design

I always admired the people in the graphic arts field because I saw the result of what they did swirling all around me in the world.

From labels on boxes to ads on TV, printed flyers to movie credits.

The ordinary street and store front signs and deep into the internet world of websites, social media, graphic design is all around us. 

Learning new software was the biggest obstacle when I first started graphic art school. It was a struggle at first because computers were not my strong point. I was very old school in many ways.

I had learned photography back in 1969 in high school using a 35mm camera and developing B&W film, and printing images in a darkroom the old-fashioned way. I was very hands on in a manual sort of way, like many people from my generation that started before computers came on the scene.

I think back on those computer and software struggles and it’s hard for me think of me having a hard time with them because I live and breathe with them now.

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Finding Myself Through Graphic Design

Graphic Art is Good Therapy

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Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign

They are the three big engines that drive graphic design and are all made by Adobe. All very different from each other but, also very similar in many ways.

A.) Photoshop, to work on images and photographs to make them the best that they can be through cropping and image manipulation.

B.) Illustrator, to design individual pieces as in logo’s, individual flyers, ad’s or even adding text to images as a visual graphic for social media.

C.) InDesign, the software that designs multi-page newsletters, magazines or PDF’s for print and digital distribution. I will, many times make a main template for an organization that will be used for future designs with this program. InDesign is the hardest to learn because it can do so many different things on many different levels all at once so my schooling in this program was well worth it.

After I started school I realized website design would become part of this mix. My graphic art skills would be used to make websites look great in addition to functioning as they should.

The Software Design Process

I use Photoshop and Illustrator to design specific pieces, then bring them all together in to InDesign for a multi-page book or newsletter layout.

All the programs by Adobe play together extremely well and let me cross platform to each other easily and efficiently.

Drop and drag is the name of that game when work with them all at the same time.

That is the benefit of having three software programs that are made by the same company.

Learning Graphic Design

Learning Graphic Design

Many times, I will have all three open at the same time on three different computer monitors so I can be as efficient as possible. When working on a website I will have both Photoshop and Illustrator open with InDesign being the odd man out because WordPress is taking the place of InDesign as digital layout software.

I enjoy and love what I do now because it’s like using different elements of the same puzzle when I am in the designing mode. Graphic art and website design is a combination that allows me to branch out creatively in a couple different directions when the need arises.

I also like the fact that I help people, companies, churches, nonprofits and different organizations grow and become more successful at what they do with my creative skills.

This really is my idea of having fun.

How can we help you with your business projects?

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Reinventing Myself Through Graphic Design. Finding Myself Through Graphic Design

Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story

Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story

Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story

One of the most satisfying things I do as a graphic artist is design small visual blurbs that combine a photograph or graphics with text. It is like a neat little visual package that can convey a message like nothing else can.

They can be very powerful with its message and does not take much time to get its point across to the viewer. People do not have a lot of patience to read a lot anymore because of how much information we all have to digest on a daily basses.

These little visual blurbs are perfect.

Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story
Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story
Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story

Do not take me wrong. I still love designing websites, newsletters and writing blogs like this one but there is something about these little morsels of graphic design that is on a different independent level.

They are much harder than they look.

Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story
Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story
Font Plus Image Equals Powerful Visual Story
Font Plus Image Equals Powerful Visual Story

This is a selfe I took of me, my son and grandson. Cell phones do a great job of capturing images for these graphics. I used a filter on the image in Photoshop to blur the photo and give it a different feel to warm it up to match the quote and red text.

Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story
Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story
Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story

Many times I use a photograph that I took sometime in the past. I was a photographer for more than 40 years so had built up a library of images that I can use but more often than not, I use a great image from a photostock agency.

Sometimes, my inspiration will come from a photograph itself and then look for a quote, or I might just save that image until I run across something suitable to match. Other times, I find a great quote or even scripture and then hunt for just the right image.

I love this hunting phase because it takes me on a journey of discovery within my own self.

Social Media Graphics
Social Media Graphics
Graphics For Websites
Graphics For Websites

Social Media Graphics

When it comes to the text, the quote is a big deal but so is the type of font that is being used. Do I use something modern (san serif) or something more gothic or traditional (sarif).

Fonts also tell a story and will either help the story line or make it less effective. This is where my graphic arts schooling has come in handy.

Color combinations are also very important and how they relate to one another. Element placement can also make or break the message.

Graphic Design For Websites
Graphic Design For Websites

A selfe my son took of him and his son so I could use it for this graphic. 

Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story
Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story

I use a number of different software programs that Adobe makes. For these little blurbs I use both Photoshop and Illustrator.

I use Photoshop to get the image just right and Illustrator to use text and fonts in very creative ways.

Small, compact and full of zip is what these blurbs are and perfect for social media messages.

Illustrator Graphic Design
Illustrator Graphic Design

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Text Plus Photo Equals Powerful Visual Story. Font Plus Image Equals Powerful Visual Story

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John@BestWebsite.Solutions

Social Media Graphics

Graphic Design For Websites

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

Sometime we need to tell a stronger visual story than is available with standard color or black and white photographs.

We want something to “jump” off the page in our image and grab the attention of the viewer and hold it.

If you do, I have something for you.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

As a graphic artist and photographer, I employed something that I feel is part of both worlds. It is a technique I learned a few years ago when I would process wedding photographs that I had taken.

I call it “Painting with Color”.

I have used this photography skill many times when I have designed newsletter and websites because it does demand attention from the viewer.

It’s like underling a word in a sentence to make sure the reader does not sail on by. Some images take on a surreal eerie effect that stumps the senses.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

The manipulation is done in Photoshop and is not hard at all.

First you will want to pick a suitable image. Something that will have a sharp contrast going from color to black and white.

 Not all photographs work and some better than others.

As you play with the tools you will get a better feel of what to look for in the way of an image to use.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

I have made a step-by-step video on YouTube detailing how use this technique on your own photography. Click the link below to view it.

Happy painting.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

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  1. Open an image in Photoshop. Make sure the “Layer” pallet is open so you can keep an eye on it throughout this whole process. If it’s not open, go to the top > Window > Click layers
  2. You will also want to make sure the “History” pallet is open and can find that in the same place as the layer pallet.
  3. Now the magic begins.
  4. Make a second layer of the image by dragging the first layer into duplicate layer tool located at the bottom of layer pallet. It looks like the paper with fold on it (to the left of the trash can).
  5. You will now be working on the top color image in the layer. That is the image that will be turned into B&W while the bottom image stays color. When you paint that part of the B&W it will give way to the color image below in just that spot only.  
  6. To change the color image on top to B&W, highlight the top image in layer. Go to top > Image > Adjustments > Black & White. Now adjust the B&W using the tool pallet that will show up. Adjust the B&W to the best way that you like it. This is important to make a good B&W because that part of the image that will stay B&W will be most the image.
  7. Now you want to click “add layer mask”. That is also located at the bottom of layer pallet. It looks like an image with a BIG hole in it. This tool will then allow you to paint to the color image below. You will notice a white image will appear next to the B&W on the top layer.
  8. Remember this saying: White reveals, Black conceals. That is what you will want to remember as you move forward.
  9. Now you will want to select the eraser tool in the main tool pallet. If you do not know what that tool is just hover over each tool for a second and a pop up will show which one of the tools are.
  10. When that tool is open, you can the adjust the size of the tool by going to the top and change the brush size. On a Mac computer, the shortcut is the two bracket buttons to the right of the letter P. That is also where you change the mode, opacity and flow. I make the mode: brush and leave the Opacity 100% and Flow 100%.
  11. Remember when I said white reveals and black conceals? To switch back and forth on that tool go back to the main tool pallet and down below you will see two screens with an arrow pointing to both. You will want to make one black and one white. By clicking the double arrow it will switch which one is on top and regulating what the brush is doing.
  12. White will reveal what is on the bottom layer. In this case, it’s the color below. If you made a mistake and painted too much area you can switch to black and it will turn that part back to B&W. Very cool.
  13. Make sure you use the magnifying glass and make the image BIGGER so you can do fine detail. That will give your finished image more believability.
  14. You can leave this image in the layer form when you save it because it will make a Photoshop Document (PSD) file out of it. That way you can go back and work on it some more if you wish. You will also want to make a .JPG so you can share it with others and you can do that by making a “Save As” and clicking .jpg.

 

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

I used to work for a ad agency designing ads. One day they asked me if I would design graphics to post on social media.

They were a Christian organization as am I, so they wanted their social media posts to reflect that sentiment.

They gave me full creative license to use Bible scriptures, quotes from different scholars or even great people from the past like Winston Churchill or Mark Twain.

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

I would use some of my own photography of wildlife, landscape and some of my family.

Many times, I would use a photo stock agency if I found a great saying and wanted just the right image for it.

The image of the boy and man is my son teaching my grandson how to cut wood.

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background
Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Putting together text with a great image makes a very powerful message and tells that story in a hurry.

One of the problems I encountered as I began to match text with a photograph was the busyness in the image would keep the text from showing up clearly. It made it hard to read.

I tried several ideas until something dawned on me. The technique was simple.

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background
Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

It would require using layers in Adobe Illustrator.

You can also use this process in Photoshop, InDesign and just about any other software that has a text tool but I have found Illustrator is the best and fastest for designing ads.

It is an easy program to wrap your head around and very intuitive.

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background
Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Like I said, you need to do this in layers.

The video below will explain a step by step of how to do this very cool technique.

 

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Step by step to Making Text Stand Out … J.T’s recipe

  1. In Illustrator, create palette/workspace
  2. Position image onto workspace (changing opacity helps in seeing workspace under image)
  3. Select Text Tool.  Create a text space, off from the image workspace.  (I’m calling this the text ‘fill,’ or ‘fill layer.’)
  4. Import and arrange text.  Choose font and sizes.  Position onto image for best appearance.
  5. (Now here comes THE Technique! ) …
  6. COPY the arranged text, and slide down that text box off the image workspace, thus creating another layer. On a Mac you can press the option button while dragging and will make a new copy. 
  7. Change the color of this layer to the envisioned border color that works well w/ the rest of the image.  (I’m calling this the text ‘border,’ or ‘border layer.’)
  8. Go to Layers Dialog – should see at least 3 layers: base image, 1st layer (fill), 2nd text layer (border); which would of course be the most recent.  Reverse the text layers, so border is now layer 2, and fill is layer 3. (Remember, Ps and Ai build from bottom-up, and border layer has to be underneath the text fill layer. Reversing the layers is how to accomplish this)
  9. Enlarge the font size of layer 2, the border layer. Using the stroke toolbar, increase the stroke size of layer 2.
  10. When satisfied with text and border appearance, combine the two text layers by scrolling a new bounding box around them both, go to the OBJECT drop-down, and select ‘Group.’
  11. SAVE as an .Ai file in the GFX folder of my choice,
  12. Then EXPORT AS  (be sure to choose art boards box) … type of end-use format I need. If it is to be made as a JPG make sure you select RGB and not CYMK. RGB is for internet usage where CMYK is for printing. If you try and put a CMYK on the internet be it for social media or a website, the colors will come out crazy. I make a high resolution (240dpi) first just in case I want to print it out and then make a second copy at 72dpi for the internet.

 

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background