Question:How do I design a killer brochure?

Answer:This answer is an excerpt from a article by Kimberly L. McCall that you can read in its entirety here.

As with all good marketing initiatives, marvelous execution is the result of exceptional planning. Making your way through the brochure process, the following guidelines will help you stay on course, on budget and on message:

Pull together a brainstorming session with all key people, including your designer, writer, photographer, project coordinator, and the top dog who will ultimately green light the project. It's important to have decision makers involved right from the get go-it can avoid very costly rewrites and redesigns down the road.

What's the brochure's role in your marketing efforts? Determine the objectives of the brochure-will it be a leave behind for salespeople? A self mailer? Part of a larger fulfillment package? Part of a trade show presence? A point of sale display? How does it mesh with other marketing efforts?

Determine the audience & message. Is it for all customers of the company, or just a segment? What type of people will be reading it? Creatives? Techies? Executives? Tyler Blik, principal of Tyler Blik Design in San Diego, California, says, "Know your audience. Determine the message and the points you want to make, and ask yourself 'does this fit with the overall goals and objectives of the corporation?'"

Take a look at the competition. Linda Costa, APR, president of WORDWISE, Inc., a marketing firm in Winter Park, Florida, advises "You want to make sure [your brochure] represents you well-and that it is every bit as good, or preferably better, than the competition." Costa encourages clients to bring competitors' brochures to the first meeting to help determine the "look and feel" the client is after.

How much can you spend? Find out what the budget is for the project, including printing. If you're being asked to provide the budget yourself, you'll need to meet with the designer, writer, photographer and printer to pull it together. There is no "average" cost for a brochure because of the numerous variables that come into play-fees for creative, type of paper being used, colors, shape and size of brochure.

Create copy and design a mock up. Deciding on whether copy or design comes first can be a real chicken/egg conundrum. Most experts agree that there must be synchronization for the brochure to work. Says Tyler Blik, " Ideally they work together. Many times we are thinking of the words that need to be expressed as we develop the creative behind the message." Adds Tom Salvo, "It's a very collaborative process that usually requires copy and design to be generated simultaneously."

Avoid the urge to cram every scintilla of information about your company into the piece. The point of the brochure is to get a prospect interested, not to close the deal. With that in mind, keep the copy simple, and pertinent to your audience.
Color will impact the cost and look of the finished brochure. You can stretch your dollar by being innovative with design and using just two colors. Or you may be using images that really demand the four-color treatment. Tom Salvo advises that "Color is all-important to a successful brochure, but it must be tempered by utility and practicality."

Get the printer involved. Printers, like designers, can be enormously helpful in making recommendations on the layout of your brochure. According to Tyler Blik, the printer should be involved in the process soon after the start, "The printing representative is your ally throughout the whole process. Utilize their expertise the same way you would a marketing director, writer or photographer."

Proof and print. After all design and copy elements have been agreed upon, it's time to proof your brochure. Anyone who has been close to the project should NOT be responsible for the proofing-It's virtually impossible to see your own errors. Hire a proofreader, and pass the brochure around to other people in the company to get the benefit of their "fresh eyes."

Get ready for next time. No matter the wonders of your brochure, it will need to be updated from time to time. Keep a folder of all potential changes and ways to make improvements on the next go 'round.

Read the article in its entirety by clicking here.