Brochure design in 4 easy steps

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Custom brochures are a great way to share more about your business – in a format that your customers will want to keep. From bright and bold to modern and sleek, brochures come in a variety of styles, finishes and sizes so you can find your perfect design. Whether you’re showcasing your services, crafting a mouthwatering menu for your restaurant, or simply outlining your company’s mission and history, there are brochure design templates ready to bring your story to life. And the best part? You don’t need to be a marketing expert or professional designer to create an impactful brochure – you just need a little bit of time and creativity.

In this brochure guide, we’ll take a closer look at everything you need to know about how to design a brochure that looks professional, attracts attention and helps get your message out.

How to make a brochure: the things you need to get started

First things first – a quick refresher.

What is a brochure?

A brochure is a small booklet or pamphlet containing information about your products, services or events, typically used for marketing or informational purposes. 

To create a unique brochure about your business, the first thing you’re going to need is some crisp content. So before you get started, organise these essentials in a folder:

Logo: There’s no visual quite like your logo for building brand recognition. And that’s why it should be featured in every brochure design. You can also include the colours and design elements from your logo in your overall brochure design to create a consistent brand look. Pro tip: make sure your logo is in the highest resolution so it looks exactly as you designed it when printed.

Images: Choose some of your top product images or shots of your completed projects or workspace, and perhaps include one with you or your team. If possible, think about hiring a professional photographer. If you’re taking the photos yourself, try to use a high-quality digital camera that allows adjustments for depth of field and lighting – and generally produces better photos. Overall, make sure all your photos are high-quality.

VistaPrint Tip

On a budget or don’t have access to a digital camera? Don’t worry! A good smartphone can also capture fantastic images — as long as you know what you’re doing. With the right lighting and composition techniques, your phone can capture the images you need to bring your brochure design to life.

Copy (text): Your message is important, so spend a little time drafting what you want to say in advance – you’ll be able to make tweaks later. We recommend including these key points within your copy:

  • Intro/About us – A company brochure is an opportunity to say more about who you are and what you stand for – like your mission, values or story. You can also use brochures to share with potential customers what makes you stand out from the competition. Pro tip: try to focus on one or two key messages.
  • Product/Service info – Brochures are a great selling tool – so use them to sell the benefits of your products and services. If you have multiple offerings, split the copy into different categories to make it easier to scan and digest.
  • Contact details – Write a strong CTA directing your audience on what you’d like them to do, and then include that CTA at multiple locations in your brochure. This CTA could range from encouraging customers to sign up for a product demo, to inspiring them to stop by your restaurant for a meal and more. Plus, don’t forget to add your contact details in your brochure too – like your website, social handles, phone number, email address, physical address and opening times.

As you’re writing each section of your brochure, make sure to keep the ‘cardinal rules of copy’ in mind:

  • Keep the sentences short, to the point and focused on a single idea.
  • Write in the first person, use ‘we’ and ‘you’ to personalise the text and never refer to your readers as ‘customers’.
  • Limit your paragraphs to 3 or 4 lines so they’re easier to scan.
  • Use subheadings and bullet points to separate the information and make each item more digestible.
  • Less is more! While you may be tempted to share everything there is to know about your business, to avoid overwhelming readers, keep the focus on one or two key messages.

How to design a good brochure: the steps you need to take

Once you have your draft copy, logo and images ready, it’s time to make all of these pieces work together in your final brochure design. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Pick your fold
To make the most of your brochure, choose the right number of folds. Think about what you want to achieve with your content. Folding the brochure strategically can give you extra space to convey your message. There are three main options you can explore:

  • Bi-fold brochure design: Also known as a half-fold, a bi-fold brochure is made from a single sheet folded in half – the end result has a front cover, two sides of the brochure and a back cover. This type of brochure works well if you want to include large prominent imagery in your folding brochure design. 
  • Tri-fold brochure design: Tri-fold brochures have two distinct folds, taking each side of the sheet and folding it in towards the centre – this cuts the brochure into three separate equal panels. If you’re creating a menu, travel brochure or want to feature a lot of detailed information, tri-fold could be a good choice.
  •  Z-fold brochure design: Z-fold brochures also have two distinct folds that create six separate sections (but unlike the tri-fold design, which folds both ends of the sheet towards the centre), Z-fold brochures fold each side of the sheet in opposite directions, creating a zig-zag shape. Z-fold brochures can be a solid pick when you want to feature larger graphs or images.

VistaPrint Tip

Take a piece of paper, fold it into one of these formats and roughly jot down what you’d put on each panel. This will help you visualise the brochure layout and choose the best format.

Step 2: Select a brochure design template

There are many professional brochure templates available online. Choose a brochure maker that offers plenty of options, so you can make your perfect choice. You can filter by your industry, then choose your colours or upload your logo to find a matching colour palette. Stick to one or two main colours for a clean look.  For fonts too, limit to two or three for consistency and clarity – any more than that can feel visually overwhelming.

Step 3: Lay out your content

Once you’ve found your brochure template, you can start filling it with your content, editing it as you go. Covers should be low on text but high on appeal; whether it’s a logo, a slogan or a photo (or some combination of those elements). The cover image should convey your key message and get readers to unfold the brochure. 

Interior panels are where most of your text will live. Just make sure to leave plenty of white space; not only will white space keep visual overwhelm at bay, but it will also make your text more readable! The back panel should always feature your contact information and CTA. 

Step 4: Choose your paper and finish

When you’re happy with your layout and look, choose the paper stock that best suits the style of your brochure – keeping in mind how you’re going to use it. Glossy paper works best if your brochure design features vibrant colours or large photographs. Just keep in mind that the high reflectivity of glossy paper can make it difficult to read under bright light, which is something to consider for more text-heavy brochures. 

Matte paper is perfect if you want to keep things black and white, or use any high-contrast colour pairing. Also, it’s worth noting that many people subconsciously consider matte paper more ‘professional’ than glossy – so if you’re trying to pull off a more corporate or professional feel, this could be a good pick.

Uncoated paper feels more natural and rustic. It’s easy to read and write on, making it a versatile choice for a variety of brochure types – especially if you want to jot down your contact information at an event.

Recycled paper has a textured finish and is made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper – a great option if your small business is prioritising sustainability.

Making your brochure work for you

Designing your brochure is just the beginning. While it’s exciting to see your brochure design ideas come to life in print, the real rewards come when you start putting it to work. You can display your brochures at well-chosen locations to attract potential customers, hand them out at your store, take them to trade shows and more. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll find your brochure is one of your proudest and most versatile marketing materials.

VistaPrint Tip

Not sure how to make a brochure, or don’t want to design it yourself? We’ve got plenty of brochure design templates to help you get started. And with 99designs by Vista, you can even find a professional designer to get an original design done. Brochure design and printing has never been so easy!