Print design tips #1

Print design includes design of brochures, flyers, letterheads, business cards, merchandise, banners, hoardings, billboards, paper ads etc. At Desto, we divide these items into different categories and follow some guidelines in the design process for each category.

Category 1: Brochures | Booklets | Catalogs | Prospectus | Magazines

Category 2: Flyers | Pamphlets | Leaflets | Paper Ads | Yellow Pages

Category 3: Hoardings | Billboards | Posters

Category 4: Packaging | Business cards | Letterheads | Merchandise

#1 (Brochures | Booklets | Catalogs | Prospectus | Magazines)

The items in this category are primarily information conveyers. For example, a School prospectus will convey what is special about their school, what facilities are available, what are the timings etc. If you look at the Asian paints catalog, it has numerous colors and a photograph of a room with those colors painted on its walls. A hospital may need to display its facilities in its brochure. An event will need a brochure to attract sponsors. The placement team of a college will need a brochure to attract companies. So as you can see there are numerous examples in almost every industry.



As a designer, to get the best output, you need to know some important information such as the following –

  • What is the purpose of the brochure? Is it to provide information regarding the products/services? Is it to showcase/demonstrate any item?
  • Who will read the brochure? Is it the customers of your client? Is it advertisers/distributors/media etc.? Details about the people who are likely to read the brochure you are designing for such as their age group, gender, qualification etc.
  • What do you expect from the brochure? Do you expect an increase in sales? Or do you expect more walk-ins into your company?
  • What are the highlights you want the brochure to convey and why?

Some more questions regarding the design of the brochure can be asked. Look at the following questions for reference.

  • How long should the booklet be? And why? Note: Usually, the number of pages should be a multiple of four (for print purpose). Convey this to the client beforehand.
  • Will the client provide the content? Or is it left to the designer or content writer to do so?
  • What type of pictures should be present? Real photographs / illustrations / cartoons / drawings / clip art etc. Will the client provide any real photographs if necessary or is it left to the designer or a photographer to do so?
  • For design patterns, show the client some sample templates and ask him what he likes the most. You can assess the client`s taste and proceed accordingly.

#2 (Flyers | Pamphlets | Leaflets | Paper Ads | Yellow Pages)

The items in this category are short forms of the items in category 1. For example, a school prospectus will convey information regarding the school in detail. But it cannot be given to everybody because printing a brochure itself will cost a lot and giving it for free is not an affordable option for many schools. So, they instead opt for a flyer which does the same job as that of a prospectus by providing the same information but with fewer details.

Therefore, similar questions as presented in #1 need to be asked here as well.

  • What is the purpose?
  • Who are the target people who will see this flyer?
  • Inputs on content/pictures/design patterns

Most important element when it comes to the design of such hand-outs is creativity. Booklets are something which a person voluntarily reads while one has to do something to make a person read a pamphlet. Getting his attention is the key!

So, a good pamphlet is the one which is different from others and immediately attracts the eye. For example, imagine a road where pamphlets of various companies are being distributed to the pedestrians. Suppose there are five companies that offer training in multimedia and their USPs are almost the same. One of these five companies is your client and you need to design a flyer that will get him more people than his competitors. What usually happens on the road is people take whatever pamphlets they are given and throw them away or worse, use them to wipe off sweat! So, a good designer`s job is to do something different and make a person think for a moment to know what the pamphlet is all about. To do this, you can either think of a new shape may be like a circular pamphlet? Or you can give it a custom shape or you can make a trifolded pamphlet etc. You can think of making inserts! The whole idea is to make the customer use his hands or mind to understand or read your hand out. It is left to the designer`s creativity. Think out of the box!


If you are designing an ad for your client in yellow pages, most important criteria is to project the client`s USPs because his ad will be placed among those of his competitors. Let us say your client is a shampoo company and his shampoo is extremely good for preventing dandruff. If the ad just talks about a good shampoo, it will not serve the purpose because all other shampoo ads in the page also tell the same. So, the client`s USP which is ‘being anti-dandruff’, has to be given more importance.

(to be continued)

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One thought on “Print design tips #1

  1. […] continued from Print design tips #1 […]

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