Paper still makes a great impression on customers. Even in the age of the internet and digital communication, having a brochure to give you an overview is still a very effective option. It shows who you are, it’s succinct and to the point, and it’s always there when you or your potential customers need it.
Are you convinced? You’re right to be. But you still need to know how to make a brochure, which free or online tools to use, and which brochure format best suits your needs.
Find out here how to make a brochure in 10 steps!
What is a brochure?
A brochure is THE printed document between a flyer and a catalogue. It is used to give concrete information about you, but also to convince and show a representative sample of your offers.
Some brochures are price-focused (for a beauty salon, for example), others are more general (a contractor will show that he can do facade or roof restoration).
Brochure designed by bonne_mine, graphic designer on Graphiste.com
All of them will say: look at how we can help you. And they all need to include your contact details.
Also read: How do you lay out a tri-fold brochure?
Why make a brochure?
First and foremost, we create an advertising brochure to communicate about our business and reach as many people as possible. In fact, it’s one of the most popular print advertising media. In fact, the brochure is a real showcase for your company and a relay for your brand image.
Its success is easily explained by the many advantages of the advertising brochure, which allows you to :
convey a wealth of additional information about your company (history, key figures, products and services, etc.) ;
stand out from the competition
attract customers’ attention and arouse their interest in your company;
encourage them to make a purchase or contact you.
The main purpose of an advertising brochure is to encourage potential customers to take action, either by requesting a quote or by buying one of your products directly.
How do you choose the right brochure for your business?
A brochure has several pages, even if it is often a single sheet of paper folded into different sections. And it’s the number of flaps that you’ll need to decide on before laying them out on the page.
Is the trifold brochure the one with the most potential?
This brochure has three panels on each side of the sheet. It therefore has a total of six surfaces available for communication.
It’s ideal for listing a company’s main services, as we saw above.
Brochure design by juliePichet, graphic designer on Graphiste.com
This is also the brochure that offers the most options in terms of overview: will the inside flaps meet from one to the other, will they be folded inwards or outwards (known as a rolled or accordion fold)?
You can even consider a horizontal composition, rather than the more traditional vertical one for this format. Or decide that the front or back will show just one image extending across it.
Depending on your field of activity, the three-fold brochure can be very versatile, making it a considerable asset for all marketing campaigns.
The single-fold brochure, for easy layout
This brochure has a single fold, which means it only has a cover page, two inside flaps and an end page usually containing contact details.
Brochure designed by Herve_Fajfer, graphic designer on Graphiste.com
Here, you won’t have to worry about how to organise the pages. The main debate will be whether or not there should be a central separation for the two inner sections.
The overview is therefore simpler, and the potential a little more limited. You will often find this type of brochure used to publicise events (indicating their general programme via the middle pages).
Do brochure formats stand out?
These types of folding are the most commonly used for advertising brochures or leaflets. But that doesn’t mean they are the only ones.
Order the contents of your sales brochures
The window fold has two sides that fold towards the centre (i.e. 4 panels to fill on the reverse side, and the same number on the front), creating a surprise effect when the brochure is opened. This type of fold is more suitable for an advertising event than for annual communication.
You can also break away from the classic rectangular format and opt for a square brochure, or use flaps of different heights that overlap and show through one under the other when the brochure is folded.
Read also: 5 original ideas for creating a brochure that stands out from the crowd
As with any communication medium, the brochure best suited to your business will be the one that matches your branding.
If your entire brand image revolves around round shapes, why not look for a printer who can offer you a circular brochure?
How do you make a brochure?
Step 1: Targeting
Start by defining your target audience and the purpose of your brochure. It’s essential here to have a thorough understanding of the profile of your target audience. The choice of text and images for your brochure will be based on this.
You therefore need to have in-depth knowledge of the segment of the population you are trying to convince, and be aware of :
their relationship with your organisation
their spending habits in the sector you are targeting ;
Based on all this information, you can adapt the information given in your brochure and select the images most likely to reach your audience.
Step 2: Choose your design software
There are a number of tools that offer ready-to-use brochure templates so you can design your document quickly and easily.
Canva, Open Office, Flipbuilder… In this article, we’ll look in more detail at the various free and/or online tools and software you can use to create your brochure.
Step 3: Select your images
Choosing the right images is essential here if you want to reach the reader. So it’s best to avoid general illustrations that don’t stand out enough. Instead, opt for images that are perfectly suited to your objectives, capable of arousing emotions in your audience.
For example, in an advertising brochure designed to promote one of your products, opt for a photograph showing a person actually using it.
You should also make sure that the images used throughout the brochure are perfectly consistent.
Note: this goes without saying, but you must have the rights to use all the images used in your brochures.
Step 5: Make a draft of the brochure
As we have seen, your brochure will consist of several pages, each of which may be dedicated to a specific piece of information.
We recommend that you draw up an outline of the brochure in advance, to determine its content and images in relation to the different spaces available.
The plan will then serve as a reference when it comes to the final layout of the brochure.
Step 6: Create the brochure’s title page and back cover
The front and back covers are the panels that make up the front and back of the brochure.
The title page must include :
a title ;
one or more attractive images
the name of your company.
The back cover should include :
links to your social media and websites ;
your contact details.
Be careful not to overload these pages, as you will have all the space you need to develop your message within the document.
Please note: your logo must be included on the front and back covers of the brochure, as your readers may see one or the other first. In this way, you ensure that the public quickly identifies your company.
Step 7: Select your fonts
The typography used in your brochure must above all be perfectly legible. The aim here is for your readers to have easy access to your information. So make sure they don’t strain their eyes trying to decipher text that is too small or too convoluted.
Similarly, restrict yourself to using a maximum of two or three fonts in your communication documents.
Step 8: Write your content
Your content must be easy to read, and lead the reader easily from one piece of information to the next. It’s important to understand that this type of communication medium needs to be very quick to read.
Readers generally just skim over the text, so you need to :
keep your paragraphs short, concise and clear, with no more than five short sentences ;
use simple, perfectly explicit language;
avoid clichéd or precious terms;
avoid professional jargon, which can quickly bore the reader.
Step 9: Layout your content
When laying out your brochure, don’t be afraid to break up the monotony of the text by inserting headings and images to liven it up. You can also use simple empty spaces to lighten the text.
Similarly, use bulleted lists to make your information stand out. This way, you’ll avoid paragraphs that are too long and indigestible, and the reader’s eye will be immediately drawn to your most important data.
Step 10: Print your brochures
Once your brochure is ready to print, take the time to read it over one last time to make sure there are no typos. Once you’ve done this, all you need to do is decide on the various criteria for formatting the brochure for printing.
Be careful here to comply with the ISO 216 standard. Note that the most popular formats for printing a brochure are A4, A5, A6, square, 17 x 24 and DL.
You can also choose between several types of paper:
90 gram offset ;
115 grams coated matt or gloss ;
135 grams matt or gloss coated.
Note that the higher the grammage, the thicker and more resistant the paper, but it also costs more.
For a particularly professional look, your brochure can have a cover. Brochures without a cover are more fragile, but also less expensive to print. Glued square-back binding is also possible here.
List of tools for creating a brochure
There are a number of high-performance software packages available for creating a professional-looking advertising brochure. Many of them are completely free, and they offer an intuitive interface that is accessible even to beginners.
Free tools for creating brochures
Flipbuilder is free brochure creation software that can transform simple PDFs into print brochures or interactive e-brochures.
You can also create a brochure with the free Open Office office software. Here you can choose between creating your own original design from scratch, or using an existing brochure template that you can simply customise.
Free Brochure Maker
Free Brochure Maker is another free program that lets users design attractive brochures from their desktop or laptop.
Online tools for creating a brochure
Canva is an online application that offers a wide choice of brochures to personalise. The tool is both fun and intuitive, a far cry from complex design software.
Flipsnack allows you to upload your pre-existing brochure design in PDF format, but also to design the entire document from free, customisable templates.
Lucidpress is an online brochure creator offering a wide range of free brochure templates.
Our tip for making a brochure
A good advertising brochure can leave your customers with a very positive impression of your company.
This is an ambitious goal, which calls for a well thought-out design of the document, as well as the eye of a specialist.