The death of printed matter has been greatly exaggerated. Brochures still play a big role in your marketing ecosystem.
Thanks to templates, you can create an eye-catching and effective brochure even without hiring a graphic designer.
Printed brochures can be given in-person, mailed, inserted in magazines or packages, or placed on a display stand. They provide more space to communicate than a postcard or flyer. And, they’re becoming increasingly cheaper to print.
Use an affordable, premium brochure template, customize it yourself in Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, or Photoshop, and give your business a stylish marketing piece that fits your brand.
In this post, you'll learn 35 creative marketing brochure ideas, tips, and tricks for non-designers. I'll also share some brochure templates in Word, Adobe InDesign, and Photoshop that you can download and use immediately.
The Benefits of Using a Template
Even if you’re gifted with an eye for the aesthetic, getting brochure design ideas from templates is a good idea. Premium templates, such as those available on Envato Elements and GraphicRiver, offer creative brochure designs. Professional designers have already made most of the design decisions for you.
Premium templates are also built to be easy to customize even for a non-designer. With many brochure templates, Word files are available.
If you make a lot of sales and marketing materials, then Envato Elements is a great source of Microsoft Word brochure templates. You can download and use as many as you want and pay a flat fee every month.
What’s more, with an Elements subscription, you also get unlimited downloads of other creative assets. These include everything from creative fonts to unique stock photos, icons and graphs, to music and clips for your videos, and more.
But, if you only need the one-off brochure, then GraphicRiver may be a better source of creative marketing brochure ideas and templates for you. You get all the benefits of a premium template at an affordable, one-time fee per use.
Brochure Ideas: 35 Tips and Tricks for Non-Designers
As you explore these marketplaces for brochure ideas and templates, and when you personalize the selected template for your brand, keep the following guidelines in mind.
1. Put a Powerful Image on the Cover
Grab your reader’s attention with a high-impact photo on the front of your brochure. Images are faster to process than words. And photos of people are the most powerful of all. You can find tons of great photos on Envato Elements.
2. Begin With a Headline on the Front
Give the reader a compelling reason to open the brochure and keep reading. A benefit-oriented headline is one way to achieve this. Heighten their interest by letting them know what’s in it for them.
3. Break Up Text With Headers And Sub-headers
A brochure gives you a ton of space to convey your information, and it can easily become too dense and unappealing to read. Headers and sub-headers make your brochure easy to skim and scan. They help your readers get your main points, even if they never read the brochure word-for-word.
4. Use Short Sentences
Another way to keep your brochure easy to read is to use short words, sentences, and paragraphs. Keep things at an easy-to-understand reading level.
5. Break Up Lists Into Bullets or Numbered Lists
A good way to break up long blocks of texts is to use bullets or numbered lists. Lists add white space to your brochure and make your information much easier to consume. You can even use icons as bullets to make them more interesting.
6. Make It Consistent With Your Branding Colors And Fonts
Brochure templates come with harmonious color schemes. But, if the built-in color scheme of a template doesn’t align with your visual branding, then you run the risk of having disjointed marketing materials. Premium brochure templates are designed to be easy to personalize, including changing the colors.
7. Have a Clear Goal And Message for the Brochure
Even though a brochure gives you plenty of space for content, it'll be more effective if it's tightly focused. And so, before you write the first word of your brochure, be clear on what goal you want it to achieve. This will help you decide which pieces of content are essential and which will detract from your main message.
8. Use Images That Your Audience Will Resonate With
Keep using images throughout the brochure to amplify your message. Images affect different people differently, so choose those that reflect your audience and will resonate with them. Show diversity and be sensitive to images that have the potential to offend.
9. Every Image Must Have a Clear Purpose
Beware of indiscriminately placing graphics for their own sake. Every photograph and visual element of your brochure should serve a purpose and support your main message. If a photo’s relevance is unclear, add a caption to provide context.
10. Have a Clear Call to Action
Let the reader know what action you’d like them to take upon perusing your brochure. Don’t assume that they can figure this out by themselves. Be explicit: call this number, visit this web page, fill in this form, or whatever action you want them to perform.
11. Choose the Right Kind of Paper
The paper your brochure is printed on can make or break it. Use something cheap and flimsy, and your brochure comes across as disreputable and unprofessional. And so, choose a paper stock that's got some heft to it. Read on to see what other considerations you can make when it comes to selecting paper for your brochure.
12. Design With Your Printing Budget in Mind
If you had an unlimited budget, then the sky would be the limit when it came to bringing your creative brochure designs to life. In reality, though, your resources are probably limited. There are different factors that affect printing costs. Keep these in mind as you design your brochure:
- paper type
- number of colors
- type of colors (special colors are more expensive)
- paper size
- screen printing (for color photos)
- special finishes
- die cutting
- number of copies
13. Beware of the Folds
Be aware of the folds when placing different elements on your brochure. Background shapes and lines may not be a problem. However, text that goes across a fold may become hard to read. Photographs may become distorted.
14. Align Content on a Design Grid
A design grid is a set of imaginary horizontal and vertical lines running across each page of your brochure. It helps you to keep elements aligned on a page. Designers use design grids to give layouts a visual coherence and unity. Use a design grid when adding or moving elements around on your brochure template.
15. Create Several Variations of Your Brochure
Nobody ever said each company, brand, or product can only have one brochure. You may decide to have a different brochure for each target audience. Or, you may want to create a variety of brochures to test different calls to action, headlines, or response devices.
16. Try a Different Type of Fold
Bi-fold and tri-fold brochures are the most common. You don’t have to stick with these traditional types of brochure folds, though. Try an accordion fold, as shown in the brochure template above. Or, get more adventurous with an even more unusual fold, like the Gate Fold, Cross Fold, Z Fold, and others.
17. Emphasize With Contrast
Contrast adds interest and keeps your brochure from becoming boring. In terms of design, this means combining light and dark, small and big, bright and subdued. When it comes to typography, contrast can be achieved by using serif and san serif fonts. You can have contrast in your text, too, by using a combination of long and short sentences, for example.
18. Use Visual Shortcuts
Visual shortcuts let you communicate more effectively and more quickly. For example, putting text inside a box signals that it’s important. Readers who are scanning your brochure are more likely to read it. Icons are another kind of visual shortcut. Symbols are easier to decode than a bunch of letters. Just make sure to use icons that your audience can understand. Well-designed brochure templates will include these visual cues.
19. Surprise With Inserts
If budget permits, consider adding an insert in your brochure. Example of inserts include:
- a response form the reader can fill in then return to you
- discount coupons
- branded bookmarkers
Use your creativity and let your brochure work harder to promote you!
20. Experiment With a Different Size
One way to differentiate your brochure is by making it a different size than your competitors’ brochures. Most brochure templates give you the option of either US letter or A4 size. But, you’ll also find templates in more unusual sizes such as A5. The template above folds to 11 cm x 11 cm.
21. Avoid Over-used Stock Photos
Photos can make your brochure more effective and powerful… but not if they’re overused photos from free stock photo sites. Take your own photos, hire a professional photographer, or invest in high-quality, premium photos from sources like Envato Elements.
22. Don’t Get Carried Away With Fonts
Fonts are fun and, with so many kinds available, it’s easy to get carried away with them. Resist the temptation. Use a maximum of two or three different font types in your brochure. The first task is to choose the right fonts. Take the time to find the right fonts that align with your branding and message. Pick one font for the main text and another for headings. Optionally, you may choose a third font for special text, like quotations.
23. Use Spiral Binding
If your brochure idea is for a bifold brochure, consider using a spiral binding. This gives your brochure more physical substance, which gives it a higher perceived. You’ll also be able to add more pages and still have the brochure lay flat. Before deciding, do find out how this will affect your printing costs.
24. Make It a Different Shape
Most brochures are rectangular. Make yours distinct by making it a different shape. Why not a square brochure, like the template above?
25. Get Creative With Typography
There’s a lot you can do with the typography in your brochure. You can make them big, have them run at different angles on the page, or fill them with images instead of color. Creative brochure templates may already include inventive uses of typography.
26. Print on a Different Material
Another way to create a distinctive brochure is by printing it on a distinctive material. White paper or card stock is the most common. You also have the option of printing your brochure on textured, glossy, or matte paper. Talk to your printer about the choices available.
27. Use Only High-quality Photos
You already know to avoid overused, irrelevant, and trite photos. The photographs you do use must be of the highest resolution possible, so they’re clear and sharp when printed. Also, beware of inadvertently distorting photos when placing them in the brochure. Well-built brochure templates for Word and other software let you drag-and-drop photos into image placeholders without skewing them.
28. Add Texture
Aside from your choice of paper, there are other ways to add texture to your brochure. For example, you may choose to add either a matte or gloss lamination during printing. Either one will have a different effect on the printed brochure. You can also add embossing and even foil on specific elements of the brochure. Again, discuss this with your printer and make sure to ask how these options will affect your printing costs.
29. Have a Consistent Visual Theme
While you’re striving for a creative and unique brochure design, you also need to ensure that it stays visually consistent with the rest of your marketing materials. Stick to your branding colors and fonts. The overall personality and tone of your brochure must also align with your other promotional materials.
30. Design for the Environment Where Your Brochure Will Be Displayed
How and where will your brochure be displayed? In a dark lobby? Alongside other brochures? In a busy trade show hall? The answer may help you make certain design decisions. A brochure that'll be mailed out, for example, doesn’t have to “shout” as much as a brochure that'll compete for attention on a rack with a dozen other brochures.
31. Aim For Readability Over Creativity
By all means, be creative with your brochure. But don’t sacrifice clarity for the sake of creativity. First and foremost, your brochure must convey your message. This requires readability. Let this guide you when choosing a brochure idea and executing it.
32. Stand Out With Hand-drawn Elements
Hand-drawn graphics and fonts add warmth, personality, and relatability to your brochure. You can make hand drawings yourself. Or, you could hire an artist to create them for you or use hand-drawn graphics from premium sources like Envato Elements or GraphicRiver. Some brochure templates, like the one above, may include hand-drawn items.
33. Proofread, Then Proofread Again
Typos and grammatical errors in your brochure destroy your credibility. Catch them before you go into final printing by proofreading your brochure. If you’re the one who wrote and/or put the brochure together, don’t rely on your own proofreading. You can easily become “blind” to these errors simply because you’ve seen the material so many times. Ask at least one other person to go over the brochure. Also, note that built-in spell checkers and grammar checkers often miss errors, too.
34. Make It Easy to Take Action
Part of designing an effective brochure is ensuring that the reader can perform the action you want them to take. If you want them to call, make sure your phone number is accurate, clear, and printed on different parts of the brochure. If the call to action is to fill in a form, then make sure the form is on the brochure (or inserted) and has generous spaces for them to write on.
35. See It Printed Before Final Printing
Print a copy of your brochure or ask your printer for a “proof” or sample printout of your brochure. See what your brochure will look like in real life and not just on a computer monitor. Make sure all text is readable, images are clear, and colors are accurate. While you're at it, do fact-checking, too. It’s much better to make corrections now than after you’ve made 1,000 copies of the brochure.
Find the Best Brochure Templates for Word: Brochure Design Ideas
I hope the brochure design ideas and tips above inspire you to create an effective brochure by yourself. As you can see, it’s easier if you start with a brochure template for Word. You'll have access to even more templates if you know Adobe InDesign. These articles will help you discover the possibilities:
- Marketing30 Best InDesign Brochure Templates - Creative Business Marketing (2019 Update)Marc Schenker
- Brochure20 Best Professional Business Brochure Design Templates for 2019Tomas Laurinavicius
- Flyers20 Best Examples of Business Flyer Designs (For 2019)Sarah Joy
Apply These Brochure Ideas Today
Even if you’re a non-designer, you can make your own creative and effective brochure. Brochure templates for MS Word, InDesign, and Photoshop help you bring your innovative brochure ideas to life.
With a subscription to Envato Elements, you get unlimited downloads of brochure templates. You also get all the assets you’ll need: fonts, icons, photos, and other graphic elements.
However, if you’re looking to create only one brochure, then GraphicRiver may be a better place to look for brochure templates. Here, you’ll get a premium, professionally designed template for one affordable price for each use.
Whatever template you select, remember the creative brochure ideas and tips above. They'll help you make a more effective brochure that stands out from the competition.
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