Planning a Corporate Brochure

September 3, 2010



Plan Your Brochure with Care


So, planning corporate brochures? We’re all very digital these days, but that’s not to say that at some point you will not need to produce a corporate brochure. In fact, even if your brochure is never printed, you may need to have a corporate brochure designed that can be viewed from a web browser. It’s also worth bearing in mind that now that there are so many forms of communication fighting for attention, a brochure has to work twice as hard to be noticed.

Don’t believe, however, that printed communication is dead and buried. Direct Mail expert, David Hyams, has recently launched his Real Print direct-mail-on-demand service. This web-based ecommerce site allows companies to order as few as one brochure at a time and have it sent with an accompanying letter direct to the customer.

So here is a simple, and hopefully easy-to-follow strategy for planning and producing your a corporate brochure.

How to Plan a Corporate Brochure

1.  Start with your Audience

Work out who you are trying to sell to and what you are trying to sell them. Try to focus your brochure as much as possible on that particular goal. Think about the language you should use to communicate with your customer, bearing in mind that your tone of voice should also echo your company branding and any official brand guidelines.

2. Assemble Your Information

Make sure that you have a good overview of the message you are trying to convey. Then think about the factual information (lists of services, relevant facts and figures) that need to be included. Contact those who hold this information ask them for what you need.

3. Work out the Size of the Brochure

Most brochures are four or eight pages. This means four or eight sides of paper, not physical pages. Sorry if this is ridiculously obvious to most of you!

If you’re looking to be more adventurous, talk to your printer early and ask for their help in working out an interesting type of brochure style, such as a gatefold or pocket containing inserts. In all cases, be driven by the message that you are trying to convey and not just novelty. Ask your printer to mock up a version of the brochure in white card. This will help you to imagine how the brochure will look when it is finished and whether there are any technical issues you have missed. For this, you need a good printer who understands the mechanics of finishing, who will make sure that there is enough space for the pages to sit inside the cover and will pick up any problems with the artwork. I don’t usually recommend anyone in this blog, but if you are based in the UK (or even if you’re not), Scott Pearce at Datum CP is one of the soundest printers out there.

4. Plan Your Content

Get a piece of paper and fold it into the shape of your brochure. If necessary use sticky tape and scissors. (Believe me, this is the closest I ever get to art!) Scribble on each ‘page’ of your brochure what you expect to be there in terms of content. For example, for an eight page brochure, the first page would be the cover, the second, perhaps an introduction to the company, the third page might be an overview of the company’s services, the fourth might be about customer service, the fifth about technical expertise, the sixth could be some concluding words, the seventh might contain contact details and the eight might be the back cover. Get the picture?

5. Plan the Pages

Think about breaking up the copy into paragraphs of solid text and paragraphs, or even text boxes, of bullet points. Work with your designer to come up with creative solutions to the layout of text so that it is easy to read and the key points are easy to assimilate.

6. Plan the Images

Are you going to organise a photoshoot or source some stock photography? There are some good free stock photography sites around now, but they only have limited content and usually you need to include an acknowledgement which can look odd in a corporate brochure. It’s therefore worth paying a fee to get good images. Try to seek interesting photographs and perhaps give them an unusual treatment so that they look a little different. If you want totally original photographs, find a good – and that does not necessarily mean expensive – photographer.

7. Involve the Designer

Work with your designer from an early stage to ensure that you understand how any text you are writing is likely to look on the page.

8. Write the Copy

This can be challenging and if you’re not good at it, it’s worth employing the services of a professional copywriter to do it for you. Make sure the copy has been approved internally and then pass to your designer. Be prepared to make further changes to the copy so that it works well with the design.

9. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!

Did I say proofread? We’re used to the digital world now where copy can be changed as needed and mistakes can be corrected after the event. This is print. Check the spelling of people’s names, company names, product names, trademarks and web addresses and also ensure that the correct trademark or copyright information is used against the first mention of any trademark. Don’t forget to add the copyright boilerplate in small print on the brochure. Ensure you have permission from clients for any references or product shots.

10. Get Signoff

Make sure you know who in your organisation needs to sign off your finished brochure.

Good luck and I look forward to hearing your comments and experiences.