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A GREAT BROCHURE NEEDS BEAUTY AND
BRAINS. SURE, IT NEEDS TO LOOK GOOD,
BUT IT ALSO NEEDS TO EFFECTIVELY DELIVER
A MESSAGE—TYPICALLY MORE THAN ONE.
WHETHER IT’S MEANT TO SELL CONDOS OR
RAISE MONEY FOR A NONPROFIT, A SUCCESSFUL
BROCHURE SHOULD DRAW READERS IN WITH A
SMART LAYOUT TO ACHIEVE A LARGER GOAL.
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Layout: Spinning a Yarn
“It’s really a storytelling challenge,” says Tamara Dowd, a creative director at
Hirshorn Zuckerman Design Group (HZDG) in Rockville, Maryland. “How does
it unfold?” The best designers lay out a brochure with the same care a fi ction
writer takes when plotting a short story.
Unlike a postcard or print ad, these multipage pieces require a narrative to
pull people along. Great brochures deliver compelling messages in just the
right order. Like an engrossing novel, they keep readers turning the pages. A
brochure might pose a question on the fi rst spread or two then provide the
answer later in the piece. Another approach? Lead with the sexiest message
and then present more in-depth information once the target audience is hooked.
“I think, in general, a lot of people don’t think about fl ow,” says Andrew Wicklund,
a design director at Hornall Anderson Design Works in Seattle. “They don’t see
the big picture.
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A multipage print piece should build
suspense or interest, and there needs
to be a natural progression from
spread to spread. If there’s too much
redundancy, readers are likely to lose
interest, but a layout that changes
radically with every page fl ip doesn’t
work, either. A winning project must
master this and countless other
balancing acts. “With a brochure,
there’s a lot of interplay between
words and images,” says Travis Cain,
a senior designer at Planet Propa-
ganda in Madison, Wisconsin “They’re
constantly being put together.” A
successful layout needs to integrate
these two elements in service of the
larger message.
π
“If it’s long-form like this, you have to
think in terms of the story as opposed to the
design at fi rst, says Andrew Wicklund, a
design director at Hornall Anderson Design
Works in Seattle. “Put the bones in. Develop
the structure and hierarchy and then start
to develop aesthetic.” This promotional
piece for an upcoming commercial building,
for instance, revolves around three key
selling points: professionalism, productivity,
and proximity.
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