What is a Brochure?

By 13th September 2017 Graphic Design
What is a Brochure?

In this post we are going to be looking at what is a brochure and how to best use it in your marketing efforts. We’re also going to be looking at how the brochure has developed and how print is now longer your only route for distribution.

So what is a brochure?

Looking at the dictionary definition for the term brochure we get:

A type of small magazine that contains pictures and information on a product or a company.

Source: Cambridge Dictionary

So, as we can see, a brochure (normally) refers to a multi page printed document used within your marketing activities to communicate your proposition.

But that’s just the physical end product of a design and print process, lets have a look at what it means to your business.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

The fact that you’ve taken the time and resources to get a brochure produced shows you believe in your business and you’re willing to put the effort in when it comes to your external appearance. This assumption is then naturally applied to your business giving you a great starting point for prospective clients.

Communicating Without Speaking

Whether you’ve met with a new client and have left your brochure behind, or have distributed your it in other ways, your brochure (with attached business card) does all your talking for you when you’re not there.

Primarily, it communicates your proposition, who you are, what you’re about, and what you do. Yes, your website can do this for you, but there’s nothing that makes your business more tangible than a beautifully designed brochure in hand.

Secondly, it does some passive advertising for you. Even if just left closed on a desk, it will still be putting your brand in the minds of your clients, merely by just being there and being seen. This is why your outer covers (front and back) are just as important as your content.

Top tip: to increase the exposure and longevity of your printed brochure, add something useful that will be referred back to, contact details, directions, a timetable of events, etc.

Brochure Design Prices

Brochure Design Prices

It probably goes without saying, but there are many things which influence brochure design prices. For smaller projects (100 pages or less), most brochure design companies will look to charge a per page rate. For projects larger than this, including catalogues, you will generally be charged a price for the overall job. Let’s have a quick look at the things which will influence the price of your brochure and see where there may be opportunities to save a little bit of budget.

Amount of brochure pages / content

Print projects have to be in multiples of 4 (including the covers) to work with the printing process. Generally speaking, the more pages there are in your project, the more time it will take to complete, and therefore the higher the design fee. Use this as an opportunity to refine your content to make sure you are communicating a clear message to your clients. However, don’t be drawn in to the trap of trying to cram too much content into a small space just to keep the page count down; aesthetics play a very large part in creating the right impression for your brand, and if you’re trying to cut corners to squeeze your content in, it will show.

Variation of content

Depending on your business, this may not be one you have a large amount of control over. However, the more ‘formulaic’ you can make your content, the easier the job will be for the brochure designer, generally saving you time and money. A good example of this is property brochures, when drilling down in to properties, each property page or spread will be the same design, just with the individual details changed. This repetition of design allows the designer to focus on getting the details right, as well as maintaining a great consistency across your brand. It also saves design time, by keeping the design of your pages similar, less time will be spend designing, which could save you some money. If in doubt, have a chat with your designer, those worth their salt can work with you to find the best solution for your business.

Sourcing Content

An important thing to consider is where the content from your brochure is going to come from. Traditionally split in to copy (the wording) and images, its important to develop a close relationship with your designer to get the right balance of both.

Many business use a lot of the content from their website as a starting point. For this to work you have to make sure that the copy is directly translatable in to print, so that it makes sense to the offline reader. For example, call to actions need to be removed unless they can be carried out away from the computer, such as prompting the client to get in touch via the phone, etc.

To make your brochure attractive you will most likely have to include images. If you’re looking to reuse content from your website, its highly likely that the images on your site aren’t high enough resolution for print. You will either have to have access to the originals before they were saved for web, or look to source alternatives. Again, this is something to have a chat with your designer about, they will work with you to find the right solution for sourcing images depending on your budget and product/service offering.

Brochure Printing

Brochure Printing

First of all, we want to point out that brochure printing is not your only option for distributing your collateral. There are online alternatives, and digital brochures can have an impact and reach in ways that are not possible with printed ones. Let’s have a deeper look into each distribution method and weigh up the pros and cons of each.

Print Brochures

Print brochures are, and for a very long time, will be, the gold standard for putting your proposition in front of your clients. With the added bonuses of its tangible nature and passive advertising when being on office desks and the like, its not hard to see why it’s still a very popular media.

Pros:

  • Perception of quality of your business
  • Passive advertising
  • A tangible, ongoing sales tool

Cons:

  • Printing is expensive
  • Inability to update without reprinting
  • Lack/cost of scale
  • Cost of distribution, especially if you have an international market

Digital Brochures

Digital brochures offer either a great alternative or a complimentary channel to your printed assets. Hosted on 3rd party sites (such as Issuu), you can create some really great interactive experiences, and reach audiences otherwise impossible. If embedded in to your own website, it can offer an extra dimension to the user experience, or even be a way of earning signups to your email list by offering the brochure via download.

Pros:

  • Fully scalable, infinite copies available at no additional cost
  • Very small (if any) distribution costs
  • Updatable quickly (and redistributable at low/no cost)
  • Quick and easy to send internationally
  • Can add some interactivity if embedded on to your own website
  • Page count doesn’t have to be a multiple of 4

Cons:

  • Can cheapen the perception of your brand if not printed
  • No tangibility
  • Easy for competitors to copy your work

Summing Up

In this post we have answered the question: what is a brochure? We’ve looked at what it can be used for, how your business can use it, and what your distribution options are. If you’d like to know more about our brochure design service, please get in touch today.

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