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A Brochure Design Mistake Many Beginners (and Even Pros) Make

A Brochure Design Mistake Many Beginners (and Even Pros) Make

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Published by mklassen67
Excerpt: "Clients love when you think of something they might have missed. That’s the point at which you’re adding extra value to your services beyond just design."
Excerpt: "Clients love when you think of something they might have missed. That’s the point at which you’re adding extra value to your services beyond just design."

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Published by: mklassen67 on Sep 24, 2008
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05/09/2014

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A Brochure Design Mistake Many Beginners (and Even Pros) Make

By Mike Klassen

While waiting to pick up someone at the airport the one day, I looked at the brochure rack. These racks can hold dozens of tri-fold brochures. Because of the design of most brochure racks, you typically only see the top half (give or take) of each brochure. In just about any brochure rack, you’re bound to find a brochure where the designer makes an almost fatal (graphically speaking) mistake. Can you guess what it is? The mistake is when the designer doesn’t realize how little of the brochure cover can be seen in a rack, or even an individual brochure holder. If you look at these racks, there’s always at least one brochure where the eye-catching copy or graphics is on the bottom half of the brochure... which can’t completely be seen. In the brochure rack I was looking at, most were designed properly. For example, the whale watching tour brochures featured a picture of a whale on the top portion of the brochure. That’s a good way to catch people’s attention as they scan the display for something of interest. For brochures promoting a city, the city name was prominently displayed at the top of the brochure. But one brochure towards the bottom of the display showed nothing but a dark brown color. No text. No graphics. No bright colors to catch your eye. The designer in me got curious enough to grab the brochure. Sure enough, the headline was on the bottom half of the page, totally invisible when placed in a brochure rack. While I picked up the brochure for ‘professional’ reasons, I’d be willing to bet few others bothered. Since there was nothing to pique their interest, why would they?

Continued on the next page…
Klassen Communications • Direct Market Layout & Design • www.mikeklassen.com • www.magalogguy.com

Lest you think only travel brochures should follow this rule of putting important information on the top, many Chambers of Commerce use brochure racks to promote their members no matter what business those members are in. And trade shows may use brochure racks or individual brochure holders, too. The point is, you never know where a brochure you design might end up. In design we talk a lot about choosing the right font and font size based on who is reading the material we’re laying out. For example, if the target audience is seniors, you’d want to use a font size that is easy for older people to read. And we talk about the right colors and graphics. But something just as important that isn’t talked about as much is under what circumstances people will be looking at your work. When you land a brochure project, ask questions about how the brochure will be used. Perhaps the only use will be in a direct mail package where placement of cover elements isn’t as important as it is when the brochure is intended for a public display rack. But if there’s even a remote possibility that the brochure will end up in a holder or rack, you’ll want to design for that right from the start. At the very least, you’ll score points for raising the issue with the client. Clients love when you think of something they might have missed. That’s the point at which you’re adding extra value to your services beyond just design. And that’s one of the reasons clients will keep calling you instead of someone else.

Mike Klassen runs Klassen Communications, providing layout and design services for direct market clients. This article is © Klassen Communications and may not be used in print, online or in electronic form without written permission from the author. To find out how you can use this article in your print or online publication, contact Klassen Communications: http://www.mikeklassen.com

Klassen Communications • Direct Market Layout & Design • www.mikeklassen.com • www.magalogguy.com

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