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Contents

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Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Should I use a Professional Graphic Designer? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 How to Choose a Good Graphic Designer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 What Size Should it Be? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Copywriting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 How to Find a Good Copywriter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Illustration and Retouching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Preparing Artwork for Print . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 The Finishing Touches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 And Finally . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Copyright Š Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

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Introduction I’ve written this e-book to guide you through the maze of producing your brochure. Whether it’s for a product or service the steps and considerations remain the same - and experience shows if you don’t make the right choices, you won’t get what you want. In the following pages I’ll help you understand some of the technical points involved and advise you on what to do and how to make some of the important decisions. Faced with the task of producing your company’s brochure but don’t know where to start? Struggling to understand some of the questions asked by your designer or printer? Or maybe you feel that you have great design ideas and want to be heavily involved in the production of artwork. Whatever your part, I’d like to thank you for requesting this e-book and wish you every success with your project.

Paul Spalding

PRS Advertising Limited Email: prs@prspartnership.co.uk Tel: 07879 844618

Copyright © Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

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Should I use a Professional Graphic Designer? The answer is almost always a resounding “yes”. Because unless you really know design and have the right hardware and software, and really know how to use it, the chances are you’ll spend more time and money getting your ideas off the ground and into print than you need to. You know everything there is to know about your products or service, don’t you? You know what’s in it, how it works, what it does… but does anyone else? And if they don’t, do you have the precise skills you need to get exactly the right message across? Too much information or too little… and your precious brochure finds itself in the round filing cabinet under the desk, nestled alongside the old banana skins and sandwich wrappers. And that’s probably not where you want it to be… Look, a brochure needs to give just the right amount of information to engage and entice the reader to do what you want him to do. And if you miss that tiny window, those few seconds when you have his attention, he’s gone for good, off to buy from your competitors. A good designer will start by talking to you about your brochure - what you want it to do, how your product or service is better than similar ones your competitors offer, and if it’s unique, what it is that makes it so. A great designer will know he’s starting from outside your business looking in, expertly putting himself in the exact place your prospective customer will be… the perfect place to help you craft your message. Finding a graphic designer is easy; finding a great designer takes a little more care. After all, you’re not only trusting your important brochure to him - you’re investing time and money as well as a good portion of your future business.

Copyright © Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

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How to Choose a Good Graphic Designer First, meet him face-to-face. Do you like him? Do you get on? Do you have that rapport that tells you he’s really listening to you and what you’re saying? What’s your initial gut-feeling? Listen to your instincts and don’t be afraid to trust them. As the brochure production progresses you’ll need to have a few meetings, and discuss various points. If you feel you can’t get on with him then consider using someone else. Harsh? Maybe. But if you’re unable to communicate with him then how is he going to give you the right concept for your brochure? You’re doing no-one any favours by working with a designer you don’t like, or who doesn’t like you. Once you’ve found your designer, he must have the right credentials. Qualifications? Not necessarily… give me a graphic designer with years of experience plying his trade over a designer with little experience but more college certificates than you can shake a stick at, any day! It’s experience that counts. Experience gets your brochure produced, not well meaning textbook intentions. Buy Cheap, Buy Twice (if you’re still in business) Tempted by a cheaper offer from down the road? Don’t be fooled. Don’t base your choice on cost alone: it’s no good enlisting a cheap designer if the end result is wrong for your business. By all means shop around and even haggle with your chosen designer, but don’t automatically go for the cheapest option. The brochure must work hard for you and play its part in winning you more business. So take a look at examples of their work and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask around; see what people are saying about him. And listen to the answers.

Copyright © Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

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What Size Should it Be? Your brochure should be as big as it needs to be… and that depends on what you want to do with it. An A4 brochure is the most common size allowing it to fit into a C4 envelope for mailing as well as being a good size to allow enough space on the page for pictures and text. There is also a cost implication to using an A4 brochure: printing paper generally comes in larger ‘A’ sizes, allowing the printer to use the maximum area of paper, reducing waste, and so making the print run as economical as possible. This principle also applies to A5 brochures as well as an A4 folded to DL. Any size of brochure is possible and sometimes to make your brochure stand out it’s worth paying just a little more. The whole point is, after all, to get you noticed, promote your business, and make you more money. It’s vital to have the right number of pages in your brochure, and your graphic designer will be able to advise you on this. Clean, Uncrowded Pages Large pictures are always a good idea if you have them, as is space around the text. If the page looks cramped and too busy people won’t enjoy looking at it… and off goes your brochure to join the banana skins and the sandwich wrappers. In today's busy world people want information fast. If the page has too much text, regardless of the quality, they probably won’t read it. When talking about pages it’s worth knowing that designers and printers refer to a page as in fact a side of paper. Therefore a single A4 sheet of paper, when printed both sides is referred to as an A4 - 2 page project.

A1 - 841mm x 594mm A2 - 594mm x 420mm

A3 - 420mm x 297mm

A5 - 210mm x 148.5mm

A4 - 297mm x 210mm

Opposite is a list of common sizes.

Copyright © Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

5


Copywriting So far we’ve talked about the look and feel of your brochure… but what about the content? Experience shows that some businesses can pay too little attention to the content of their marketing materials and perhaps too much to the look. And while it’s true that the look is important, looks alone never sold anything: it’s the combination of copy and image that sells. Most businesses make the mistake of writing their own copy. They know their business better than anyone, and so who better to sing its praises? And we all leave school able to write, don’t we? True enough, but it’s a big mistake. We all leave school able to write in the same way we all leave school able to run… but it doesn’t mean we’re going to be winning the London marathon any time soon. Writing good copy is much, much more than stringing words along to make sentences. The Right Word at the Right Time A good copywriter knows how to spell, how to punctuate, and how to write grammatically and correctly. He knows the difference between a colon and a semicolon and knows how to use both; he uses strong, concrete nouns in the active voice. He knows Apostrophe was not a Greek philosopher. A copywriter knows exactly which words to use where and how to use them. English is an easy language to pick up and make yourself understood in; but it’s a hellishly difficult one to learn well. It’s full of irregular verbs, inconsistent spellings, idioms, and all sorts of things just waiting to trip you up. And more than this, your copywriter is a gifted communicator. He knows about good taste and style. He knows to get under your customers’ skin and talk to them in a language they understand, simple, plain language that tells them exactly what they want to know… and almost compels them to do what you want them to do. And believe me, writing plain language is much harder than you think. Your copywriter knows this, and he’s an expert. A good copywriter knows the language of persuasion and influence, all the tricks and techniques to get your message across; a good copywriter knows to write your copy in terms of benefits rather than services and features (here’s a secret that comes as a bit of a shock to most people: your clients, customers, and prospects don’t care what you do, how clever you are, or how modern your factory is… all they want to know is what’s in it for ME?). And some people say “what if I pay a copywriter to write the copy and no one who reads it cares if it’s written well?”; but the real question is “what if I don’t pay a copywriter to write my copy and the people who read it do care?”. Cutting corners by writing your own copy is almost always a mistake – in most cases just one single extra sale brought about by having clear, crisp, persuasive copy will more than pay the copywriter’s fee.

Copyright © Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

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How to Find a Good Copywriter The easiest way is to ask your designer. Most designers have a close relationship with one or more copywriters and use them regularly. If you’re using a big marketing or advertising firm there’s a good chance they have one working for them already. It’s absolutely essential to talk to your copywriter, and preferably in person. Why? Because a copywriter is a communicator, and can usually charm the shell off a turtle; and more than this, any good copywriter knows the best way to write is to write like you talk. So speak to him and bear in mind his copy will probably have a similar tone and style. Ask to see samples – most copywriters have a portfolio to show off. Ask about previous clients and, if appropriate, speak to them. And don’t be afraid to ask for a free sample of your own – any good, confident copywriter will happily give you a sample paragraph of the kind of thing you can expect from him; giving him a short piece of your existing copy to rewrite as a “test” is a good idea. Your copywriter shouldn’t be afraid to put his work on the line like this. Finally, ask about copyright: your copywriter owns the copyright on all his work until you’ve paid for it in full. Although what about afterwards? A good copywriter will tell you he’ll give you full copyright when you’ve paid him – meaning you can use the work for anything you like afterwards. He’ll usually stipulate that in giving you the copyright you grant him licence to reproduce the work for his own portfolio – this is usual.

Copyright © Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

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Photography Pictures play a vital role in your brochure. And given the right picture a designer can base the whole brochure around its theme. And if great photography can make a brochure then it’s true that poor photography will ruin it. With today's digital cameras being so cheap most people consider themselves to be adequately skilled to take the pictures for their brochure. This is usually entirely successful right up to the point where you show it to someone - anyone - else. Believe me, it usually works out as a big mistake. I’ve lost count or the times I’ve had a client present me with a selection of photos that need a lot of retouching, are too poor in quality, or are simply not the correct resolution to guarantee a good quality image when printed. With the additional cost of retouching it’s often false economy not to commission a professional photographer in the first place. The Photographer’s Art Good photography is usually about three things: creativity, the right equipment, and good technical skills. It’s important to see the subject in the right way, to imagine how the designer will use the picture in the brochure. Is the subject to appear on the front cover to introduce the brochure, or is it going to appear inside with the text? Some products could have a cut-out look to them, and to get this effect you often have to put the subject onto a white background before it’s photographed. And the brochure needs to show the photographs in different ways to make it interesting. To allow the designer to be as flexible as possible all subjects should have lots of background area around them. It’s easy to cut an image down to size but often impossible to add a complicated background. Next, is the equipment linked to the actual size and resolution size of the photograph? We don’t have time or space to discuss specific cameras and photographic techniques here - it’s a massive subject - but the two main types of cameras are conventional cameras using print or transparency film, and digital cameras. With conventional cameras, provided you use the correct film and lighting once you’ve developed the picture you can scan it with a high-quality scanner and use it in a variety of sizes in your brochure. Although in the hands of a professional this type of photography is as good as any, it’s worth remembering that you’ll also need to pay to have the film processed and printed, and you won’t know what the photos look like until it’s a bit late to change things.

Copyright © Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

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With a digital camera the image is digitally stored, and doesn’t require scanning - it’s available immediately. If the photograph isn’t quite right you can easily and quickly delete it and take another. Most standard digital cameras capture the picture as a 72 dpi (dots per inch) image. This dpi size is too small to guarantee a good sharp image when printed. With this in mind we need to make a simple calculation: the largest setting available to most standard digital cameras will provide an A3 image (420mm x 297mm) at 72 dpi. As only hiresolution (300dpi) images guarantee a quality image when printed in your brochure you have to reduce the A3 image to a quarter of its original size. By dividing the 72dpi image size by 4, it in turn multiplies the dpi by 4, to 288dpi. Although true litho quality is 300dpi the 288dpi image should be suitable in most cases. Of course by reducing the size of the A3 image in this way allows the picture to appear only at around A5 size (148mm x 210mm) on the page. There’s no substitute for a well taken professional photograph, and often the quality of the image depends on the lighting - a good photographer knows how to light any subject to get exactly the look you want. If you’re unsure about the photography it’s cost-effective to commission a professional photographer for the pictures in your brochure. He’ll work closely with your designer ensuring an end result that’s hard to beat. Better yet - most good and established designers have solid relationships with local photographers, so you often won’t have to find your own - your designer will do it for you.

Copyright © Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

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Illustration and Retouching There are times when a photograph is not right to show a particular aspect of your brochure. Concepts are often easier to get across with an illustration, and in the hands of a talented artist just about anything is possible. There are many styles of illustration, from photorealistic images through to cartoons to add that light-hearted touch. If the brochure needs a diagram to explain more technical information, most good graphic designers can produce this type of work. Photoretouching is another area to consider when deciding which image to use in your brochure. Whether it’s an unwanted and unnoticed piece of litter inadvertently appearing in the photo, or a photo of a member of staff that needs a blemish removed from his face, anything is possible. Colour changes in certain objects are also possible. Opposite is an example of what can be achieved. The picture opposite is made up of two pictures montaged together to give a totally believable image.

Illustration can be used to create realistic images where photography may not be clear or simply is not available.

Copyright Š Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

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Preparing Artwork for Print

CYAN (C)

And now for the science stuff… digital photographs are originally created using the RGB colour system. RGB means Red, Green, Blue, and is the name we give to the way computer monitors and televisions display images. MAGENTA (M) Although the image looks good on your monitor it needs converting to a different format before it can be part of artwork that ends up at a lithographic printer. Most brochures that show images in full colour are printed using just 4 colours (Four Colour Process). The four colours used are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. We usually refer to this as CMYK. You can convert the original RGB digital files using suitable software with no loss of image quality. A Technical Minefield It’s not necessary for you to understand the complete process of lithographic printing but it’s important to know how to present your artwork if you’re doing it yourself. The graphic design industry uses Apple Macintosh computers, and in turn the printing industry is set up to accept artwork in this format. These computers use software specifically produced to handle high resolution graphics and prepare artwork in a way that allow printers to print using the CMYK format. It is possible to use Windows based PC’s for the production of artwork but doing so often results in a more costly printing bill as it may be necessary for the printer to convert these files before he can use them.

YELLOW (Y)

BLACK (K)

CMYK

It’s worth talking to your chosen printer before you begin preparing the artwork yourself. Not all printers will accept PC created artwork but will usually give you tips on how he requires the files and will price the project accordingly. Use a Professional The safest alternative is to use a professional graphic designer. By working closely with him you remain in control of every aspect of the brochure, whilst capitalising on his experience and technical ability. There’s so much to learn about the technical production of artwork, and so much to get wrong… and experience shows that to guarantee an accurate brochure that’s printed correctly and on time, choosing a professional graphic designer is the smart choice.

Copyright © Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

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The Finishing Touches As with any journey, you can’t start until you know where you’re going, and although I’ve called this section The Finishing Touches, to get the most from your investment, you need to consider before you begin exactly how the finished brochure will look. With so much information available and so many choices of where to go for products and which companies offer the best services, it’s vital your brochure looks and feels as good as, if not better than the competition’s. Let’s face it - if you don’t give people a clear message telling them exactly why they should come to you, why should they? Your brochure - and all your promotional material - absolutely must make you stand out from the rest, making your prospective clients and customers feel as if they’d be stark raving mad even to consider buying from anyone but you. So many things about your brochure will influence how people perceive your company. Is the design good? Is the text persuasive and interesting, engaging the reader and drawing him on to the conclusion you want? Are the pictures dynamic and attention-grabbing? All these things are crucial, although no matter how good they are, if your brochure isn’t printed correctly and on the right quality and weight of paper it could be all for nothing. And there are thousands of paper-types to choose from with a vast range of qualities and weights available. You can get white paper, for instance, in a huge variety of shades, and with dozens of colours and textures to choose from - it’s enough to overwhelm the stoutest heart. There are specialist boards and papers, with a price tag to match the quality; although don’t automatically discount these more unusual and expensive materials; after all, you do want your brochure to stand out don’t you? Your designer will be able to help you make this choice and should submit paper samples before printing. The inks used in litho printing are transparent and rely on the paper’s surface to help make the colours brilliant and the image sharp. You can get papers usually in two types: coated and uncoated. Coated papers have a very smooth finish that allow the ink to sit on the surface giving a bright colour contrast to the paper background. Uncoated materials have a rougher feel and allow the ink to sink into the surface often giving a flatter feel to the image. Because of these two paper types, it is likely that an identical colour will look slightly different on coated and uncoated paper.

Copyright © Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

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There are many different techniques you can use to enhance your brochure, like using a textured board cover and embossing your company logo. Die-cutting is another great way to make your brochure stand out - A glimpse of an image through a shaped window in the cover entices the reader inside to find out more. Laminating the brochure in a matt or gloss film adds a touch of class, while using a process called spot UV varnish on certain pictures highlights them and makes their colours really stand out. These are just some of the tricks of the trade good designers use to get you and your business noticed. Your brochure often has to do more than one job. When mailed out as a cold-call item it needs to impress enough to initiate a telephone call for more specific information or to set up a meeting. When left by a member of your sales team it needs to remind your prospective client of points discussed in the initial meeting. Your brochure will have to convince the reader that your company is serious about business solid, dependable, reliable, and above all a professional operation.

Copyright Š Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

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And Finally . . . I haven’t discussed budgets yet - it’s a difficult subject to tackle when you don’t know the specifics. It helps to know what funds you have at the start of your project; but it’s also important to understand that if the job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. You may not get a second chance to get someone's business, so make sure you make the most first one. When you ask a designer for an estimate for work he’ll consider many things, not least your budget. If your budget is small then you’re limiting yourself because there are some processes you simply won’t be able to afford; on the other hand if your budget is more generous, you give your designer a lot more choice and flexibility. The estimate you get should highlight what’s included and how much it’s going to cost. And when you’re comparing estimates from different designers, you have to make sure you’re comparing like with like and both are talking about using the same processes. The print process will take up a big chunk of your money, and the size of brochure, the number of pages, the material you choose, and the number of copies you require all make a difference. With printing, a large part of the cost is in the initial set up, regardless of how many brochures you want. So the more brochures you have the lower the unit price. If you want only a small number of then digital printing may be an option. Your designer will advise you on the best option for your individual circumstances. It’s usually a good idea to get your designer to arrange the printing for you. This avoids any ‘buck passing‘ if problems arise. When you place the complete project in your designer’s charge he is solely responsible for getting the brochures printed correctly and delivered on time. So there you have it. I hope this ebook has been useful and informative and will help guide you through the sometimes difficult process of getting your brochure from an idea to a reality. And if there’s anything else you’d like to know, or you want to talk about an upcoming project, please call me on 07879 844618, and let’s get things moving. Paul Spalding

PRS Advertising Limited, 6 Playfield Road, Capel St Mary, Ipswich, IP9 2HP Email: prs@prspartnership.co.uk Tel: 07879 844618 Web: www.prspartnership.co.uk Copyright © Paul Spalding. All Rights Reserved. This ebook may not be reprinted or distributed in any format without express written permission. prs@prspartnership.co.uk

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How to produce a Brochures  

Information to help you through the many stages of putting a brochure together.

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