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Graphic Design

better indianapolis brochure design

5 Steps To Better Brochure & Catalog Design

By Brochure Design, Graphic Design

In the age of digital marketing, it’s easy to forget the importance and value of a quality printed brochure or catalog. A professionally designed brochure is a vital sales tool and serves several purposes when it comes to sales meetings and communicating your services to your target market. A quality printed presentation piece can speak volumes about your company’s credibility, reputation, capabilities, products and brand message.

Just like magazines, brochures have a long “shelf-life” and serve as a persuasive “leave-behind” used to move your prospect further down your sales funnel.

hunting product catalogIf you’re in charge of creating a new brochure or catalog for your company, here are 5 steps to help you align your message, organize your team, stay within budget and create an engaging, brand-focused brochure.

1. What is the goal of the brochure design?
Before jumping in, spend some time thinking about what you want your brochure design to accomplish. For example, what do you want your prospect to take away from the brochure after they first see it? Who is the brochure for? In what setting will it be utilized? In-person meetings? Trade show? Direct mail? All of the above? Understand first how your brochure will function.

You should have a very good idea of who your buyer persona is and how your brochure will communicate/resonate with them. Do you know their basic demographics, likes/dislikes, pain points, their biggest challenges? Is the brochure going to be used as a top-of-funnel or bottom-of-funnel sales piece?  For more information on creating your buyer persona, click here.

2. Establish your budget
Can you spend $500 or $20,000? Pricing for design can run the gamut; adding embellishments can add cost. You may want to choose a higher quality paper stock or perhaps a textured stock. You may even want to emboss your logo or add a varnish (shiny ink coating) over your logo. There are several embellishments you can add to increase the value and presentation that should be based on your buyer persona. If you’re marketing to the affluent, high-grade paper stock and quality photography may be necessary to communicate luxury and competence.

brochure design varnish

Example of a print varnish


Here’s what a typical scope of work looks like:

  • Research (if needed)
  • Design
  • Copywriting and Editing
  • Infographics
  • Photography
  • Print and project management

Cost = $2500-$5000

3. Look for what you like on Behance
Before writing your outline, you may have difficulty envisioning how you want your brochure to look and feel. I suggest visiting Behance to take a look at what other companies are doing. Get an idea of what you like based on size, format, colors, photography, typography and style.


4. Write your content outline
Next is to begin your content outline. This saves time and cost when it comes time to hire a graphic designer or branding agency. By having an approved, text-only version of the brochure, you can save revision costs and time later in the process. Get whatever approvals you need from the higher ups before contacting an agency. You’ll be able to get more accurate pricing and reduce the timeline for production of your brochure whether you’re writing the content in-house or outsourcing it to a branding agency.

5. Identify photography and needed graphics
Do you have high-resolution photography in-house that you can use in your brochure? Photos must be at least 300 dpi to be used in print (versus 72 dpi for web). Was your photography taken from the intern’s iPhone? If so, this isn’t going to fly. Professional photography can influence a buyers purchase decision. Identify what shots you have that you would like to include in the design, determine if they’re big enough and if they communicate the right message. Great brochure design starts with great imagery. You can also do your own search on Getty, Corbis, Veer, Offset or iStock to save cost and time.

brochure design

Infographics also make great additions to your brochure and will communicate your main points quicker. Choose what areas of information you can turn into an infographic. Company and industry stats, processes, national reach, revenue or anything else that can be visually represented make for great “graphical embellishments.”


6. Choose the right branding agency
Now that you have set your budget, written your content, gained some ideas from Behance and gathered some photos and ideas for infographics—it’s time to find the best branding agency to do the job. A simple Google or Bing search for “brochure design” should suffice. Look for a branding agency with experience in print and who has an impressive portfolio of past work on their website.

Contact them to understand their process, including how they will work with you and how their approval and revision policies are applied. Most will already have relationships with a number of printers to produce the brochure. Ask to see how their print pricing is set up. Most agencies will add a markup to your printing and some will manage the project for you for a small fee.

In conclusion, creating a great brochure should start by identifying your goals and budget, finding some ideas on Behance, setting a budget based on your buyer persona’s expectations, choosing professional photography and choosing the right branding agency. By following these 5 steps, you’ll have a smoother design process and a better outcome. Professional brochure design can add great value to your brand, impression and sales meetings when properly executed.

If you’re interested in learning more about brochure design, please contact us in Indianapolis or Denver. 

Website Buyer Persona Template


FREE DOWNLOAD: A Marketer’s Guide to Creating the Buyer Persona

The key to maximizing your marketing efforts

In this powerful template — we help you and your team think through and identify who your ideal customer/client is. This will enable you to set SMART goals to help you focus your marketing and brochure design efforts. It will also help you present your buyer persona to your team for internal alignment and clarity.

[easyembed field=”brochureCTA”]

Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

9 Secrets You Didn’t Know About Graphic Design

By Graphic Design

Poster Event Theme Design

You know what graphic design is…kinda, but we bet you didn’t know these 9 secrets on how important of a role that designer or design agency plays in your ability to grow your business and maximize your marketing…

1. Graphic design is about adding value.
Graphic design is the process of visual communication that combines ideas, imagery and text to convey information to an audience to invoke an action and add value.

2. Design is part of your everyday life.
From the food you eat to the t-shirt on your back – design plays a major role in helping you decide what best fulfills your needs, wants and lifestyle choices.

3. Design attracts customers.
Graphic design is a necessity in business because it serves as one of the most important communication vehicles to deliver your brand, product or service to your customers – the other being verbal.

4. Design gives you the power of visual persuasion.
Graphic design allows you to persuade, announce, sell, invite, demonstrate and inform visually via a website design, package design, logo design, poster design, business cards or brochures. Graphic design legitimizes your offering as a professional organization and aids in the building of your brand for long-term profitability and success.

5. CTA’s are dependent on design.
Graphic design provides the credibility and trust factor for the all to important ‘call-to-action’. Examples include: like, follow, buy now, on sale, call today, register, learn more, available here, vote for me, visit www… or add to cart. These phrases are the basis for inbound marketing and profitability online. Without the proper design standards, conventions and methods implemented by an experienced designer or agency, you hang your online objectives on the precipice of mediocrity or failure.

brochure design6. You are not a designer.
Today, anyone with a computer can type out a business card, design an advertisement or build a website. You – yourself, may have probably used some fluorescent paper and a blue marker to draw out a garage sale sign. But it takes the talent, experience, training and knowledge of a professional designer to truly achieve what design is intended to do — add value that initiates an action.

I believe design’s greatest virtue is that it adds value in the form of credibility and trust. These two factors, combined with the creativity and resources of a professional designer or agency along with an integrated marketing plan (PR, advertisement, promotions, etc.) are the foundations of causing any buyer initially in the sales cycle to consider your product or service seriously for purchase.

7. Sometimes, creativity is not a good thing.
Creativity is measured in the capacity and talent of a designer to take shape, color, form, style, imagery and type and transcend those design elements into original, progressive ideas that give the viewer or audience something they have never seen before. Creativity also can influence the purchase decision by causing the viewer to feel enjoyment or satisfaction when encountering a piece of communication. In design, creativity is often restrained to ensure accuracy in communicating with the desired target audience. It can also be repressed by the product or service owner’s idea of how best to present itself. These dynamics determine the level of “punch” of any creative execution.

8. Graphic design is about problem-solving.
One of the best ways to solve a problem in business or product development is through the design process. A good designer relies not only on the dominant right side of their brain for creativity, but also the left side to distill and simplify complex communication problems, visual explanations, methods, applications, diagrams and architectures to solve problems to help others understand what you’re trying to communicate.

Nor1 Sales Kit

9. Graphic design is a very important tool in today’s business world to grab attention.
From an early age we have learned through seeing pictures, symbols and reading words. Graphic design is the way organizations teach their customers about their products and services which makes business grow. As our society and culture steps deeper into the digital milieu of social media, texting, smartphones and content overload, it will be designs’ job to cut through the clutter and grab the worlds attention in new ways.

In conclusion, next time when you (CEO, CMO or business owner) think graphic design is just pretty words and pictures, take a step back and appreciate the skill, talent and genius of the people who solve your communication problems, make your brand, business or success look good. 


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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.