In this age of digital communications, are brochures still relevant to Associations and their members? Yes, brochures have a role to play in communication to members but only if brochures are properly constructed and produced.
Brochures, like other printed materials are self-contained units of information that provide a more permanent record of information than digital content (that can be fleeting). They also convey formality in a way that digital vehicles rarely do. But because they have a longer shelf-life and longer retention than digital communications, care must be taken to select content. Information can quickly become dated and it’s costly to reprint.
Now convinced of the value of brochures…how to make them memorable? The following tips and tricks will take your brochure from serviceable to memorable!
Association brochures may have many purposes: to recruit new members, to market a service, to promote an event. What is the main purpose of your brochure? Pick one!
Choose a key message (related to purpose)
What is the call to action for your members? What do you want your members to think, feel or do after reading this brochure? Repeat your call to action on each panel of your brochure…perhaps not verbatim. Be sure that the last panel of your brochure hammers home your call to action.
Develop a concept
Considering your call to action, what colors, font, and visuals will propel your members to take action (e.g. renew their membership, purchase a service, or attend an event)? How you organize the words, visuals and white space should convey your purpose, reinforce your key message and compliment your theme.
Flow the information
Make sure that content flows smoothly from panel to panel. Consider how the reader will pace through the brochure. Will she read panel one, then panel three, skipping panel two? Anticipate that your reader may read non-sequentially and make each panel a self-contained unit.
Execute the concept with creativity and flair
Once you have completed the manuscript for your brochure, it’s now time to consider print implications. The size and format of your brochure will vary according to your distribution plan. Are you mailing this brochure to your members? Make sure that it conforms to Canada Post dimensions and regulations. Are you planning to put your brochure in a display unit in the lobby or use it at a trade show? Consider display and packaging details.
Be mindful that (on occasion) your brochure will be viewed upside down, unfolded or out of place. Does the back of the brochure convey as much information as the front? Can a reader see “at a glance” that this brochure belongs to your family of publications?
Avoid common mistakes
The most frequent error with brochures is designing them for multiple audiences and purposes. More often than not such watered down efforts serve poorly. Another common error is cramming in too much information. Give the basics and drive members to your website for additional details.
Choose visuals with care to uniformity. Too often brochures feature “wallpaper” visuals, “patchwork visuals” and “grip and grin” visuals. Visuals from a variety of sources in a variety of formats contributes to an unprofessional look. While it is more expensive to conduct a photo shoot specifically for a brochure, the results will impress.
By defining one single purpose, crafting key messages, developing a concept, information flow and elegant execution, your association can create truly memorable brochures.