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From our "Powerhouse Brochures" conference presentation...
- A reader from Richmond, VA writes:
"What are some different formats forlaying out
brochures, besides the ol' 3-fold, 6-panel way?"
- New life for old brochure layouts...
- A lot of people often ask this very same question. The solution to this is really
a simple matter of backing up and taking a different perspective on the whole approach.
My tried and true philosophy, when trying to break out of old layouts is:
- Look for opportunity! (I talk about opportunity quite often!)
- Ask questions of your project
- I won't launch into a marketing dissertation. But I will pass along this important
rule: designing a successful brochure is a duet between two individuals. It takes
an important exchange of ideas between the designer and the writer. If you remove
either of these parts from the equation, the results will be somewhat less. You have
to do both parts? You'll need someone else to test and cure your ideas. From the
moment you arrive at your first concept, you are no longer capable of making judgments
about the design. You already know how it's intended to work. Already, you are too
close. It takes that all-important second pair of eyes. Remember: test and test again.
- Now, let's design a brochure
- We want to look for opportunity and we want to ask questions of your project.
Let's not start like most people do -- let's ask our questions first.
- How can we fold this paper to stand out from the rest?
- How can we force the reader to become involved?
- How can we provide subliminal clues that the reader will want to follow?
- Now, let's look for opportunity. I find the most opportunity in the basic press
- Where are you printing the brochure?
- What's the largest image size?
- How can we build our cuts and folds out of this sheet differently?
- Get a press sheet and start folding.
- Better yet, go to the printer and get a stack of press sheets. Start folding.
Now move the folds. Now reverse the folds.
- Give it a try.
- From this example (at right) we discover three very different brochures that
all come from the same sheet of paper, but can be designed to tell three very different
messages. Or, tell the same story three different ways.
- Discovering different ways of telling our story is of paramount importance in
designing a successful communication piece.
... Don't have a story you say? Rewrite your information
so it has a lead-in, a beginning, a middle and an ending. What are the logical steps
you want your reader to take? How should they "discover the story?
... It is very important that we "involve"
our reader. One proven way of doing that is by making a story unfold through the
panels of the brochure.
... Look at the examples and ask how a dynamic story
can unfold. How can we force the reader to take the desired logical steps of our
- These will all run comfortably out of an 11 x 17, or even an 8.5 x 14 legal size
- Some other variations...
- (The layouts above must come from a printer with a 25-inch press. Most good litho
printers have one.) If you're bound into the 8.5 x 11 size, perhaps you might try
the "Offset French" fold.
... Here the sheet is simply folded into quarters. Move
the last fold left or right and the simple sheet becomes a powerful opportunity to
present your message in a dynamic 1, 2, 3, step-through fashion.
... We've involved our reader, supplied visual clues
to inspire and direct the reader through our message a step at a time, and we've
taken the opportunity to do a layout that our reader probably doesn't see every day.
Our three important questions are now answered.
... This concept also works very well with legal-size
paper. Try different sizes, and try unfolding in different sequences to see how best
to integrate the copy into the concept!
- Here's another one. Why think in terms of traditional cutting and folding.
... This angle cut cost few dollars more than a straight
cut version, but look at the wonderful added impact it could have on the reader.
Here the story unfolds with very persuading results.
... As the brochure opens it reveals each part of our
message as WE want it to.
... The angled cut provides an unusual presentation
of the overall format. It's different - it will get noticed. The mail panel integrates
the readers name as part of the overall look, but also puts the reader's name and
address right on the reply card.
- What a motivater!
- The reader doesn't even have to fill anything out! We've made it inviting. (The
folded flap motivates the reader to open the brochure.) We've involved our reader,
and we've provided an easy way for our reader to respond.
- ... These are but a few examples of new life for
the old, tired 3-fold brochure. There are lots more. Once you get those press sheets
and start folding, I bet you'll develop some exciting new ones for your self! Send
them to me if you do! (He says with a smile, and a wink!)
- ... Hope you can make it to our workshop in the
Washington, D.C. area. Those attending that workshop will get our printed handouts
which will include these and a half-dozen or so others , ready to put to work right
away! Keep your eye on future issues of DT&G - we've got many more great layouts
- Until next time... Happy folding!
- Stay tuned -- you'll be on a roll!
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