Excellent Brochure Design

Brochure Printing Example - Front and Back Cover

Brandt Monterey Brochure Front and Back Cover

Lloyd pulled this brochure from Brandt Monterey off the press on Friday. He stopped by my desk with the piece, and for a few minutes he raved about the brochure’s high quality. He told me that this is an excellent example of a brochure done right, and that the designer really knew what he was doing. It’s not easy to get a press manager like Lloyd saying that about a brochure, having seen countless numbers of them pass through his presses over the last 30 years.


He pointed out how crisp and super clear the photos were, and the vibrancy of the image’s colors. Lloyd also commented that the brochure was elegant in its cleanliness and how well it handled a complex product with just the right mix of text, data, and images. Too often pressmen see brochures that are cluttered and lose their message due to sloppy design.

This particular piece happened to be created using Adobe InDesign. You can see here how the designer expertly used text boxes to convey important technical information without increasing clutter.

Another way to present data on an InDesign brochure is through the use of tables. To create a table:

• Select the Text tool

• Create a text frame to the size and position of where you want the table

• Click on Insert Table (first click within the text frame to make sure it’s active, otherwise you can not select “Insert Table”)

• Make your table dimension selections and click OK

The table will be created to the width of the text frame.

Tables can be exported from Excel, but that’s another discussion.

Since this piece is so well done, we’ll spend the next couple of posts highlighting some of its excellent design elements. In our next post, we’ll talk a little about the outstanding images in this half fold brochure.

Feel free to call with any questions (1-888-922-0699), and don’t forget to check out our offer for first time brochure printing customers.

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Keep it clean

When I ask the press operators what they like most on nice looking brochures, they use the term “clean and crisp”. Pressmen that print job after job, all day, every day, know a nice piece when they see it.

So, what is “crisp and clean”? To be cliché, less is more. The advent of the personal computer has given laypeople the ability to enter into the mysterious world of graphic design. In the early 90’s, that looked like gradient rainbows; endless seas of gradient rainbows. I printed so many jobs with gradient rainbows that I ran inside and hid in a dark room every time it rained while the sun was shining. In the late 90’s, EVERYTHING (pronounced with three syllables) got drop down shadows. Fonts? Pick a font and stick with it. Are you following this? Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should.

The key to crisp, clean printing is avoiding all the clutter and if you choose to follow the most recent trend, you better be uber-clever. Think about the front panel of your brochure; does it tell the whole story, whether you read it or not? Last week I looked at a job we were printing for a rafting company. I had to turn the brochure over and over; I could not find where the company was located! They had used so much clutter to fill their piece they made it impossible to find their location.

Your front panel should be an invitation to open up the brochure and look inside, or simply get their attention. It is your first impression. The inside is “the show” and the back is “the encore”. If you can’t find the door, or you can’t find your seat, you’re no going to clap and you’re darn sure not coming back.

Feel free to call with any questions (1-888-922-0699), and don’t forget to check out our offer for first time brochure printing customers.

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When not to use PMS colors.

Can I avoid PMS colors?

After 33 years of printing, I wish I could say I’ve seen it all. Well, I haven’t. In fact some things occur all too often.  Like asking myself, “why in the world did they do that?”

One of the most common instances is someone needlessly picking a P.M.S. (Pantone Matching System) color for their brochure, in addition to 4 color process.

Now if your corporate logo is PMS specific, like the orange in Home Depot or red in McDonalds, you are totally within your rights. In this case where your color may be so closely associated with your brand, you should use PMS or “spot color,” as it’s often referred to.

But when you just want a nice blue border around the edges of your piece, or green capital letters for each paragraph, why not just create it in C.M.Y.K.? Time after time, I continue to see people pay extra money for a PMS color when they didn’t need to.

When I look around the press room and see a pressman pulling a sheet from a job he is running with the look as though he had just bitten into a lemon, I already know what he is thinking: “Why did they do that?” He knows there was no reason for there to be a PMS ink on that job. Why pay for 5 when you can accomplish the same thing with 4 – colors of ink that is.

Is there any greater faux pas than that? You bet! A giant red flag for me is when I see a brochure that has only a screen of a PMS ink. Screening is designed to lighten a color. If you want a lighter color, why not just pick a lighter PMS and print a solid of exactly the color you want? There is a time and place for PMS colors, but that’s a different topic for a different day.

PMS? Be smart, and know when to say when.

If you need help determining when to use a PMS color and when it can be replaced with CMYK colors, please send us an email at info@brochureprinting.com or call us at 1-888-922-0699.

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Recycling print material with coatings

Can you recycle printed material if it’s been coated with an aqueous coating? The simple answer is: absolutely! Aqueous coating is a water based product and very environmentally friendly.

What if my printed brochure or other commercially printed piece has a UV coating? Seven years ago, paper with UV coating could not be recycled. But today, the manufacturing process for UV coating has changed as well as the process for recycling paper. The company we use to recycle our paper welcomes all UV coated scrap with no restrictions at all. Our scrap paper gets recycled and is made into newsprint that actually gets printed on, right here in town, by our local news paper. How’s that for the circle of life?

You should have no difficulty recycling both aqueous coated and UV coated paper. To be sure, check with your local recycling company.

If you have any questions about green printing practices, environmentally friendly ink, or certified post consumer paper products, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-888-922-0699.

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Avoid the most common brochure printing mistake

A pressman just handed me a sheet, hot off the press and at first glance I thought it was a sample of a beautiful brochure. That thought was short lived. The brochure turned out to be another victim of the dreaded ……………. “Double Word.”

At least once a day I see a beautiful brochure that has great content, beautiful design, and crisp pictures. And then, right there under the picture of the CEO, it says, “The ground ground breaking ceremony.” Yep, even as I type this out, spell check is putting a red squiggly line under the second “ground.” It’s hard to believe no one catches this, but it happens all too often. Rerunning the job could get expensive or even compromise your deadline.

If you want to make sure this never happens to you, here is an old school trick that has stood the test of time. Instead of handing a copy to a second set of eyes or having someone else read your copy off your screen, ask them to read it backwards. Our brains are so smart, they compensate for much of our mundane tasks and easily miss that extra word.

But asking your brain to read backwards is like driving the wrong way on a one way street. You are not going to be sipping on your coffee, laid back in your seat while driving against traffic – your brain will be alert. Likewise, when reading backwards you will catch every double word and misspelled words as well. It’s the easiest task with the highest reward. Try it next time and see see what you catch.

Learn more about expert brochure printing and brochure design by calling our experts at 1-888-922-0699 or by requesting a brochure printing sample kit .

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Brochure printing content ideas from online sources

Borrow your next great brochure content ideas from online sources. I’m not suggesting that you just get content ideas online then reformat the content for your printed brochure. I mean carry the content, the tone, and informal, more personal language of the web over to your brochure as well.

As the Internet became more interactive, sites that were only informational got labeled (and still get labled) as “brochure ware.” My suggestion would be to turn that idea on it’s head: make your brochure as much “web ware” as possible, especially from a content perspective.

Be concise. Because many social media applications force us to be concise, (think twitter, blog posts, instant messaging, etc.) the millions of us who are heavy social media consumers are being trained to be short and direct in our writing, which I believe is also changing our expectations of what we read. I don’t think this is a bad thing even though the effects of social media on our youth may make grammar teachers cringe. In any case, be short, direct and to the point in your brochure content. Practice by writing what I call “marketing Haikus” to learn how to be concise, direct and creative.

I’ve found this little form helpful to write my haiku. Instead of focusing on nature, focus on your product or service.

Experiment online first. Since the web is “live” and interactive, marketing messages can be tested through experimentation. Keyword rich content can be tested and determined useful for online conversions. Test your brochure content first online through ad words campaigns, landing pages, and blog posts before committing it to print.

Write in an informal tone. I don’t mean to be sloppy or neglect to include important information. I only mean to use a tone that you would use when writing to someone you are familiar with. Write without thinking about grammar, and think as if you were writing your brochure to a close friend. You can always go back and clean up the grammar later. If you are not worrying about sounding “professional” or writing “perfectly,” you will be freed up to write informally and creatively.

Encourage engagement with your customers. The web is interactive and allows our customers to converse with us. Encourage comments, reviews, and suggestions with your target audience by asking for feedback in your brochure, not just for their business.

Try to avoid what online marketers refer to as “banner blindness.” People have been trained to ignore those things marketers want them to focus on. Putting a big thick border around content you think is important may encourage people to ignore what’s inside the box. Mix your message around things that will naturally attract their attention, such as pricing.

Simple tends to work best, and don’t call out those things you want the customer to see by putting the content in some sort of banner.

If you want a site packed with helpful writing ideas and principles, I recommend that you check out copyblogger . And certainly if you have any thoughts, recommendations, or examples, please comment and share what you’ve learned.

If you have any questions or need assistance with your brochure content, please call us direct at 888-922-0699.

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Quality Pictures for Your Brochure

A “Good Quality” picture is worth a thousand words.

I can’t count the number of times I have seen a great printed piece, ruined by a terrible photograph. I see customer’s beautiful brochures ruined when the pictures on them are bad. By bad I mean they were picked off the Internet and arevery low resolution or they are just plain poor quality photographs.

If you are going to spend valuable time and hard earned money having a piece printed to help boost your business, do it right. I once saw a brochure for a vacation rafting company and the people in the rafts all looked badly sunburned. On top of that, the river was dirty brown. The pressman printing the job said, “Yikes! Nothing about this brochure looks fun at all.” Pressmen do care. Often pressmen will pull or hold a job because the photos look so bad, they figure there is no way it is what the customer wants. If you can afford a professional photographer, get one. Another option is the countless websites that sell stock, professional photographs, and some free sites as well. Here we often use Thinkstock. For a different look, you might also try Photocase. Both sites are very attractively priced and should have what you need.

If you take your own pictures, take lots and pick the best.

We’ve all heard the saying, “garbage in, garbage out. If you want great results from your printed piece, start off with the best and stick to it through completion. It will pay off in the end.

If you have any questions regarding photos and your next brochure project, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts by calling 1-888-922-0699 or request a brochure printing sample kit to see some examples of quality photos on brochures.

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Mettallic Ink vs. just CMYK on Brochures

You say you want gold, silver or bronze.

You’re not talking the Olympics, or investing in precious metals, you just want to spruce up your brochure. I see many printed pieces with a metallic ink on them move through the press room and all the pressmen are asking the same question; why?  Using process C,M,Y,K will get you the look you want and save you money.

I remember in my younger years on a press when I printed tons of brochures for Marsh Gauges. Their gauges came in many different options, from high polished, shiny chrome to ultra shiny brass and gold. I was so proud of those pieces; I showed my samples to anyone that would care to look. I still remember the puzzled look on their faces when I explained that the piece was printed with cyan, magenta, yellow and black. They all wanted to know, “what about the silver, bronze or gold.” It was an “ah-hah” moment for them. Next time you are at Home Depot or Lowes, look at the brochures in the faucet section. They are shiny, chrome and gold, and they are printed with CMYK!

In almost every case, you can produce gold, silver and bronze with CMYK. I have seen some pieces where a talented graphic designer has worked a metallic ink into a job and it looks wonderful. I view it as art, and those designers are artists.

If you are printing on an uncoated sheet, paying for a metallic ink seems silly. Unless you are printing an invitation or a wedding announcement, save your money and print your gold, silver or bronze with CMYK.

If you have any questions regarding colors and your next brochure project, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts by calling 1-888-922-0699 or request a brochure printing sample kit and see some examples.

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Print your brochure on gloss or matte paper?

Should I have my brochure printed on matte or gloss paper?

If you like the glare free or soft, subtle color look of matte paper, but want the quality clean screens and smooth solids of a piece printed on gloss paper, printing your brochure on a gloss sheet and matte aqueous coating might be just what the doctor ordered.

While lots of people think the term “gloss” refers to a smooth finish, it actually refers to the degree that a beam of light reflects off its surface. How this light reflection is accomplished is partly contributed to the smooth finish of the paper. However, what the smooth surface really allows you to do is print a uniform, clean, crisp set of dots and solids when four-color printing, making your brochure top notch, giving it a high quality look.

So how come I can’t do this on a matte stock? Matte stock was created for, “ease of readability.” Simply put, matte stock cuts down glare by impairing the amount of light reflecting off its surface, thus making it easy on the eyes. It’s all in the paper. If you look at matte paper under a magnifying glass you will see hills and valleys, just like a topographical map. The dots (again, when four-color printing) printed on the top of those hills may be smooshed out (referred to as “dot gain”) while the dots intended to go down in those valleys may not print in their entirety. The result is blotchy printing of dots and solids, making your brochure look a bit messy or a tiny bit out of focus.

So how do you get clean crisp brochure printing on a matte stock? Start with a gloss sheet and matte aqueous coat it. The gloss paper gives you a smooth base for nice printing and the matte aqueous coating nocks out the glare – no need to compromise. Simply put, gloss paper with a matte aqueous coating is the best way to have your cake and eat it too!

For a free brochure paper and coating sample, request a brochure printing sample kit here.

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Introducing New Blog

As the marketing manager for this site, I’ll be posting several times a week with helpful information relevant to brochure printing.

I’ll be discussing things like paper types, paper coatings, design techniques and practices, marketing ideas, and maybe even some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips to help people find your information on the web.

Check back often, and if you have a moment right now, request a free brochure printing sample kit.

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