How to make a brochure: the complete guide

by Stefano Bernardi 6 minutes to read

Brochures are one of the most powerful types of marketing collateral. Like the landing page of a website, they focus entirely on a single topic.

That allows you to capture the attention of your customer and fully communicate the advantages of your offer.

How to make a brochure – TOC

Why is a brochure an important type of marketing collateral?

Among all the different types of marketing collateral, brochures should be one of the first you create to promote your company or product.

Brochures are very effective sales tools because they are:

  • Focused. The information contained in a brochure is centered around a specific topic. This type of document is perfect for extending the reader’s knowledge of your product and highlighting its advantages.
  • Cost-effective. Brochures are a relatively low-cost form of marketing material and allow you to convey your message at a deep level.
  • Physical. “Printed marketing collateral touch the most intimate needs of a customer, improve the perception of the company, and help your client with envisioning the purchase” – Should printed marketing collateral die?. “The physical nature of paper influences our decisions,” says neuroscientist Dr. David Eagleman in The Neuroscience of Touch.
  • Versatile. Brochures can be handed out personally by a sales rep, placed in high traffic locations for those who want to know more about your product, distributed via mail or inside newspapers. But they can also be available as a PDF format onyour website or sent via email.
  • Compact. Whether you create a tri-folder or a more convoluted document, brochures go vertical in a specific topic, andthat makes them a very compact but also extremely helpful sale documents.

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How do you start to design a brochure?

I understand you want to make your brochure look beautiful. But more important than that is the fact that you want to communicate your message correctly. So, before starting with designing your document, you should have a few things clear:

  • Target. Who is your ideal customer? Picture her or him. Why should your customers buy your product/service? Why should they read your brochure?
  • Why. Why are you designing a brochure? To sell a product? To convince an audience? Define your goal.
  • Message. Build a way to convince the reader. Should you highlight the painyou solve first? Or should you describe right away what you are promoting? Define this before anything. Write the content first. Do you have images that need to be put into the brochure? Select them now. The form, the layout, the graphic, everything else comes after this step.
  • Form. Is this a school project? Or is it a fun event like a bar opening? Or are you launching a new product? Is it a B2C or a B2B product? Do you need to look “friendly” or more “corporate”?

What software should you use?

Brochures should be graphically appealing and look professional – and without the right tool that is very hard to achieve.

Anybody can immediately tell when a brochure has been created in MS Word!

Adobe InDesign – for professional work

For professional results, there is only one real choice: Adobe InDesign.

InDesign has been the industry-leading layout and page design software for years. This is the software you should pick for any desktop publishing job. Other alternatives are Scribus (free and opensource) and Quark Express.

Another reason to use InDesign is to taking advantage of these amazing InDesign brochure templates.

Canva – for simple projects and amateurs

For simple or amateur projects, Canva is a really nice solution! So, how to make a brochure on Canva? Simple, you create an account, you search for “brochure,” pick a template, start editing text and images. Very simple and quick! The only limit for professional environments is that you can only export JPGs and PDFs.

If you don’t have any of these tools available in your computer, or you want more choice, also check out our list of the top 10 brochure design software.

Brochure layout and format

Brochures come in a huge variety of formats and layouts. This infographic from Foldfactory has 44!

So, there areplenty to stimulate your imagination. Again, remember your audience when choosing the format.

Brochure layout and format

Image source.

While if you are looking for some inspiration, you should have a look at some well-curated templates.

What parts make a brochure?

There aren’t fixed parts in a brochure. The document should create a journey for the reader to convince them of your offer.

I personally believe in connecting with the reader, and I am a huge fan of Simon Sinek’s theory “Start With Why”.

Sinek believes that individuals and companies should communicate following the WHY - HOW - WHAT order.

He states that since the WHAT is the easiest to know and articulate, most people start with that. Sometimes they will also discuss HOW, but they rarely explain WHY they exist.

Focusing on the WHATforces you to explain the difference between your offer and your competitors. And so your message becomes fuzzy and confused.

Starting with why instead allows you to communicate a more straightforward message and immediately attract the attention of your readers.

Let me explain a little better:

  • Why: Your purpose. Why do you exist? Why should the reader care?
  • How: Your values and actions and differentiators. How do you do it?
  • What: Your products or services. What do you do? What’s your offer?

Here are a few examples of communications that follow this path.

My path in a brochure would be this:

  • Why: We help InDesign users with producing their multilingual documents.
  • How: By providing them with tools that are easy to use and integrate.
  • What: My what is what we do and the main features.

We built Redokun, a software that allows you to:

  • export your text from an InDesign document
  • get the text translated online by inviting your colleagues or with an exchange file
  • after translating the text,download a translated document with the same graphics
  • when you have edits or updates, you upload the original edited file and translate only the differences.

Do you see? The path is very clear and helps the reader with understanding whether it’s worth it or not to keep exploring the content.

Write a call to action and measure success

You are making a brochure because you want someone to come to your inauguration, or to a meeting, or you want to sell them a service, or inform them about an initiative or an issue.

Call to action

Whatever your goal, you want to make it clear. Direct your readers, give them all the information they need to proceed in their journey and clearly ask them for action.

“Come to the inauguration on the 20th of February!”

“Come and see us every Friday!”

“Come to the store!”

Measure success

The only way to improve is gathering feedback and data. Evaluate whether you should add a discount, a coupon, or a voucher to measure the results of your campaign.

How to produce your brochures in other languages?

If you are using InDesign, you can start Redokun’s free trial and see how it works for you; otherwise, you can learn about how to translate an InDesign file.

If you pick a different software instead, you can check out our guide on how to translate a document online.

Stefano Bernardi
Stefano Bernardi

Stefano has worked on numerous mid to large–sized InDesign projects for Alstom, DeLonghi, Philips, and many others before starting Redokun in 2015.
As Redokun’s Co-Founder, Stefano spends most of his time helping customers to optimize their InDesign work-flow. He also holds in-house InDesign courses for companies in the Venice, Italy area.

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