by Gaylen Floy
When brainstorming the content for your brochure, keep this one question in mind: "Why should the reader care?" Taking the viewpoint of the reader will help you craft your message around a list of benefits the reader will gain from what your ACB affiliate or chapter provides. People do not want to join your organization or participate in your activities; they want the benefits to be gained. With this in mind, here are the keys to creating a powerful, effective brochure.
Plan for Maximum Impact
In the business world and among non-profits, the tri-fold brochure is making a comeback. For many of our ACB affiliates and chapters, a brochure is the only marketing tool used other than a web site. For maximum impact, you must determine your purpose. Ideally, what action would you like the reader to take? How will your photos support your message? How will your brochure grab and sustain attention? How will this brochure stand out from other brochures and marketing materials with which it might compete, like in an exhibit area among competing booths?
Think about the Order of Information
With the front and back panel visible without opening the brochure, use the front panel to grab ATTENTION! Use the back panel for your logo and contact information.
The next thing a person is most likely to see when opening your brochure is the inner flap. Use this space to tease the viewer into continuing to the inside panels. Do not use it for critical or detailed information.
Finally, there is the inner spread. This is where you can break out of the tiny, three-column routine.
Go for impact with action photos that bleed off the edge. It is not enough to tell sighted people that we can live full, independent lives; we have to show them with powerful action photos. Have any of your members recently graduated from college? Get a photo of them in gown tossing their cap in the air. Have any of your members recently participated in a sport or activity? Get a photo of them zip lining down a canyon, cross-country skiing, or swinging a baseball bat.
Craft Effective Headlines and Text
Headlines are the most powerful weapon in a designer's toolbox. Keep headlines conversational.
Use the present tense, active voice.
Your copy must answer who, what, when, where, why, and how. Keep the text focused and minimal. Be clear and get to your point fast. Sighted people generally flip through a brochure, so your content has to be designed to work as a quick scan that will make your key points at a glance.
Consider Working with a Trustworthy Designer and Photographer
Don't skimp on quality. A strong photo will draw the reader into the headline. The attractiveness of the entire brochure determines whether people will pick it up or toss it. A good graphic designer and photographer can transform your message into a cohesive, memorable one with color and impact.
The best way to find a designer or photographer is by word of mouth. Ask a trusted business source.
You may hear a designer refer to "the effective use of white space." This means not cramming your brochure full of tiny text. Instead, make your images and headlines stand out for maximum "at a glance" effectiveness.
Ask tough questions before printing. If this brochure was sitting in a rack full of brochures, would it stand out? Do the images change the perception of what it means to be blind? Do the headlines, text, and photos work together to get your point across? Is there too much information for a quick scan? Is the tone inviting or a bit dry? Use high quality, heavier weight paper stock to help reinforce a good impression. Seek to project a strong, positive image!