Tips For Your Corporate Brochure.

By Jerry Crockford

Sitting on my desk is an envelope from a national business organisation. They provide expertise, support and other resources for business managers. It contains a personal letter and a brochure, with the aim of getting business owners and company directors to contact the organisation and become a member.

I don't want to sound too tough. But it seriously looked like someone had called a meeting with the express purpose of brainstorming how to make a business brochure nearly impossible to read. The paper is a burgundy colour, and the text is black. Frankly, it is a waste of money. The cost of designing, printing and distributing this brochure would have been considerable, and it is largely wasted.

This type of graphic design madness is very costly - yet is easy to avoid if you remember your audience and cast a critical eye over what is being done.

The main thing to do is to remember the type of people you are marketing to, and create a piece that will work for them.

While SOME of the recipients of this brochure will be youngsters, MOST are going to be aged over forty. The will be very busy people. While a number will have excellent vision, the majority will be like me - oldies who wear spectacles. And as someone in this category, I can tell you that reading this document was a real challenge.

So, against that background, a clean, simple design with black text on a white background is going to be safer than the design that was used. Much safer.

I'll bet a lot of prospects who would have gained a lot from membership would have made an effort to read it - and then given up. Or put it aside until later. (And as you know, 'later' rarely happens in direct marketing!)

If there was an upside, this brochure is easy to see when on a desk with other, competing paperwork. HOWEVER... all of that good is brought undone if your target market can't read the copywriting! And that's the problem here. The dark text on the dark paper is nearly impossible to understand.

I don't know the guidelines for this job, but the other reason why it may have been used is that the visual identity of this organisation includes burgundy. Not that you would know from this brochure, as the logo is too hard to see against the sea of strong, dominant color.

The lesson? Use colour by all means. But be sure the colour doesn't override your message. As any graphic designer worth their salt will tell you, colour must SUPPORT the message. There are many ways to include colour to make a brochure stand out, but it must ALWAYS make the content easier to read, not more difficult.

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