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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Creating Effective, Meaningful Brochures

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When preparing your next brochure, focus on first impressions. You'll have mere seconds to get someone's attention.

What will they think in a "Blink?"

Here are some questions to consider, prepared by GoalBusters' Jim Anderson. Getting the answers right for your organization insures that your print materials reflect your values and your value.

Who's the Audience?
Who will you be giving this to? What action do you want to motivate them to? How can the brochure attract their attention enough so they want to know more?

What's the "hook?"
The front panel is your "storefront/display window." It should be visually interesting, vibrant and intriguing.

What's your story?
Someone needs to care about what you do before they care about how you do it. Story should be the ultimate goal. A few long content sections are fine, but more people will read it if you break up the content with design. If you have procedures or processes that you want to include, that can be available on a separate "fact sheet."

Why should we care?
Identify who you're helping. Identify the challenges they face. Identify why they need you. Identify how you help. Share the difference you make. Share how the reader can make a difference by supporting you. This sounds like a lot for a brochure, but you can achieve it by having your "non-verbal" communication (images, graphics, design) compliment your verbal communication (text). A picture is worth a 1,000 words.

Where are the people? Italic
Story is driven by "who" you help. Faces and eyes make connections. More personal imagery will make a stronger connection.

What's your identity?
You should be able to communicate your organizational identity with design and graphics. One way to test this is to ignore text. If someone who did not speak English picked up the brochure, would they understand the nature of your organization based on the design, graphics and photos?

What does someone think in their first "Blink?"
Malcolm Gladwell's book "Blink" explores how we tend to make snap decisions. When someone gives the brochure a five second scan, how do we want them to feel? Do they feel anything? If not, we're wasting paper.


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