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Company brochures

Is it worth having a brochure?

A range of distinctive and informative publications can make your business stand out from its competitors. Well-designed and high-quality printed material can be a useful marketing tool.

Is it worth having a brochure?

Most businesses want to attract the attention of prospective customers and inform them about the products or services they offer. Advertising is a popular way of attracting attention and passing on information, so the effective use of promotional material is very important. A wide range of materials is used for promotion, but leaflets and brochures are among the most commonly used. Brochures are usually longer and glossier than leaflets and are useful when a potential customer wants more detailed, often technical, information. A well-produced brochure can also help to reassure a customer that they have made the right decision in buying from the firm (particularly important for high value contracts). Boosting customer satisfaction can lead to referrals.

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Choosing a print company

Should you decide to get your brochures designed and printed professionally, there are a number of issues you will need to consider before deciding upon a company to work with.

  • Location. You may need to visit the printers regularly to discuss your plans or view artwork for approval. A print company located near to your business offices will be easier to work with than a firm located miles away.
  • Some print companies may keep examples of work they have done for clients in the past. If you ask, they should be happy to show you these.
  • Check whether a company is a member of a trade association such as the British Printing Industries Federation.
  • Obtain quotes from a shortlist of print firms. You can then compare prices and contact the ones you are most interested in pursuing. When comparing quotes, it is important to check that the suppliers are offering the right level of service and that incidentals (delivery and packing charges, correction charges, charges for changes to schedules and cost of additional proofs) are also taken into consideration. An initial agreement should be reached as to what constitutes incidentals.

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What costs can I expect?

  • The majority of money will be spent on set up costs, so that a large print run will often be more cost effective than a short one.
  • Other costs will be based upon the quality and quantity of the materials you require. High quality paper will cost more than lower grade material. Similarly, the number of colours you choose to use in your design will also impact upon the price. The more colours you require the greater the cost.
  • Enquire about costing for repeat orders. If the brochures will be required repeatedly, then you may be eligible for a discount.
  • The cost of finishing should be taken into account. Costs will vary depending on the type of finish you require (for example, gloss is usually more expensive than matt).
  • If the company collates, packs and delivers your brochures, this may incur an extra charge. Always check before you agree to anything exactly what services you can expect for the agreed price.

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What should be included in the design brief?

In order to ensure that your specific printing requirements are met, it is a good idea to create a brief.

  • The brief should describe exactly what is required in terms that are easily understood by both the customer and supplier.
  • The printing job must be specified exactly, with details regarding deadlines, quality, quantity, paper type and weight, colours, packaging, delivery and so on.
  • It is especially important to consider who will read the brief, how the brief will be distributed, the end result required and the budget available.
  • Every time a brief is written, it will be necessary to reconsider the price and level of quality and service required.

Time spent creating the brief is well spent, as printing errors can be costly.

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Hints and tips for producing brochures

  • Promotional materials should always be designed with the target audience in mind. Literature will not be read if it does not appeal to the reader.
  • Everything must be proofread. Several people should check the drafts. It is vital to make sure that all corrections are made (and no other errors have crept in) before approving the final version for printing. Somebody must also check headings, formatting and layout for consistency. It is important to check that nothing has been left out, especially details of how to contact the business.
  • It is a good idea to look at other business's brochures. What is the target audience in each case? If there are magazines aimed at the same target audience as the business, what elements of design do they use?
  • If the business publishes something containing someone else's artwork, for example a quote from a book, it may be in breach of copyright if permission has not been obtained. The use of computer 'clip art' is usually permitted by the licence that comes with the software but this should be checked.
  • It is important to think carefully about the number of copies to be printed. The business does not want to be left with thousands of useless brochures, if, for example, the products or services change.
  • To gain maximum impact from brochures it is worth seeking professional advice on design.
  • Producing folders could be considered as an alternative to brochures. They can hold a combination of leaflets, information sheets, covering letters and so on. They are cheaper to produce than brochures, and more flexible as the contents can be made up to suit the recipient. Another advantage is that if information, such as a location map, contact name or price list, goes out of date, only the relevant insert needs to be updated and replaced.

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