How To Design a Brochure

Common Mistakes: How to Design a Brochure

Decisions, decisions, decisions… there is a lot to think about when designing a brochure. It may seem like a daunting task, but actually it can be fun. Here are a few design tips in explaining how you can create a great brochure from your own computer.

Basics of Design:

One way to keep yourself from stressing over designing your brochure is to think of it as a grade-school art project. Many of the same rules apply from when you were in kindergarten. Yes, kindergarten.

  • Stay inside the lines: when setting up your brochure create guide-lines completely around your template, even the folded areas. Set your guide between 1/8″ to 1/4″ and stay within the guidelines. Hanging text or photos makes it difficult for your readers to stay focused so avoid anything hanging off the edges of your guides.
  • Color left to right, not up and down: Our eyes read from left to right. When you use skewed text or photos it makes it difficult to follow. Keep your brochure’s text and pictures flowing left to right like the reader’s eyes.

  • Don’t mix too many paints together: Do you know what you get when mixing: green, yellow, and red paint? A mess. Same goes for a brochure. Mixing too many colors in your brochure can make it look like a disaster.
  • Paint the picture you want: if you wanted a horse, you drew a horse. Brochures need to make a clear message. If you want to sell a vacuum cleaner or advertise your sailboat cruises use pictures of your vacuum or your sailboat. Using pictures of something other than your products or services may be confusing to the readers and a waste of space.
  • Share your crayons: ask a friend or co-worker to review your brochure and offer any advice.


Do you remember creating collages as a child. Making a collage was great fun, cutting out different fonts and pictures to create you colorful “ransom” note to your teachers. It’s great for children’s artwork, not a great idea to use for brochures. Using multiple fonts can make your brochure come across as amateurish and gimmicky, not to mention hard to read. Use simple, easy to read fonts such as: Times New Roman, Ariel, or Tahoma to make your brochures easy to read. Using fronts such as: Impact,  Franklin, or any script is fine for logos or business titles, but they quickly become an eyesore and your readers will quickly set your brochures aside.

Font Size and Color:

Font size is almost as important as the font itself. The smaller the font, the harder it is to read. No one wants to squint when reading, that’s why we have lawyers to help us read the fine print. In reverse, you also don’t want your font to large. You can easily use a larger, bold font along with a eye-catching color on the cover of your brochure for more impact. It’s best to keep your larger font to a minimum, roughly around one to four words. Much like small, two to eight point fonts, extra-large fonts can also be hard on the eyes.

Brochure fonts are best for reading within the nine to twelve-point range.  If your brochure is targeted towards those over the age of sixty, than a font between twelve and fourteen may work better. When pairing your fonts with colors, again think about how it will affect your reader. Using bright colors such as: red, yellow, or orange, is okay for headlines or to highlight important information but not good for your entire brochure. Black fonts are typically the best and easiest to read, especially on a light background. If you plan to use a black or a different dark color, than use a lighter color font. Never print your brochure in black and white. It might be less expensive but they come across as unprofessional.

Avoid using fonts colors and background combinations such as:

  • Gray fonts – gray is a middle color, neither dark nor light. Although it may look good, gray fonts are often harder to read.
  • White fonts – white, like gray, is hard to read no matter what the background. Best bet is to use a white border or outline around another base-color font to make your font “pop” from the page.
  • Any color two shades lighter or darker than your background. Although it might look great, if you have a lot of text in your brochure then the text will eventually fade into the background.


We have all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words and it tends to hold true. When relating to brochures though, to many pictures equals wasted words. Photos, artwork, logos and graphics are great to include in a brochure. You want your customers to know about your products and services and pictures are the easiest way to connect. Filling every available inch of your brochure with pictures often is counter-productive.

When creating your brochure keep your pictures to around 1/3 of your page, or less. Depending on the size of your brochure, you can use one large picture then add your information, or use two or three smaller pictures and help break up the text or emphasis key elements of your brochure.

Designing a brochure is not exactly like child’s-play, but if you keep a few of these tips in mind you can create wonderful-looking brochures. Happy designing!

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Katherine is a professional copywriter and social media manager at She fell into online marketing in 2010, and built her career around this dynamic field. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from California State University, Northridge (Summa). When she's not writing, Katherine enjoys photography, skateboarding, graphic design, and chasing her dog around with her husband. Connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus