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How To Create A Better Brochure

Having a quality brochure makes a positive impression on a potential customer. It gives the appearance that you're serious about your business.

And it may give you an advantage over competitors who don't use brochures.

Printing technology has made big advancements in the last decade, including high speed, high-resolution color photocopiers and laser printers.

This has reduced the need for using printing presses and allows you to print small quantities with less expense. If you're printing only a few hundred brochures, this is the way to go.

If you're printing in the thousands, you may find it more economical to use a printing press. Your per unit cost can drop significantly.

But print production, especially involving color, is a complex subject and ignorance can be costly.

"The most important thing a business person should do is ask a lot of questions," says Phil Lewis of Vancouver's Generation Printing.

"Many small businesses try to design their own brochures without consulting with a printer or graphic designer. They don't understand that what you see on your computer screen isn't necessarily what's going to be printed. Inevitably, we end up having to fix many of the customer's mistakes and charging for it. If they had consulted us before they started designing, we could've saved them time and money."

With thirty years experience as a prepress production specialist and sales rep, Lewis has these suggestions when creating a brochure:

Hire a graphic designer. It'll cost you more up front, but it'll give your brochure a more professional look and that gives your customers' confidence. Shop around. Contact at least three designers and ask to see samples of their work. Get quotes and compare. >Know your market. Would a glossy, color brochure make that much difference to your target market? If you're selling financial services to wealthy investors, then appearance counts. But for most small businesses, it's not worth the extra cost.

If you can't afford to hire a designer and are creating the brochure yourself, ask questions before you prepare a computer file for printing. Does the printer want the source file or a portable document file (pdf)? Do you need to include fonts and linked graphics? If you're going to create a pdf, be clear what options the printer wants you to select before creating it.

BROCHURE FORMAT Brochures come in a variety of sizes. Probably the most common format is called a slim jim. It's either a letter or legal sized sheet that's folded two or three times vertically. It's a popular format for small businesses because it can fit a display rack or be mailed in a standard number-10 business envelope.


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