Graphics play a fundamental role in the success of a brochure. Not only do graphics complete and enhance verbal information, but they are the most direct way to attract readers and keep interest alive.
What are the basic rules to choose the right graphics for you brochure? We will give you a few helpful hints in this guide.
Before you start
Making sketches and mockups will give you a clear idea of the type of graphics you will need and their placement.
It will be very hard to make a selection and create a cohesive project if you don’t know what you are looking for, so it’s recommended to not skip the planning stage!
TIP: Preliminary drafts don’t have to be accurate. You can use them as a general reference and refine the brochure as you proceed.
Step 1. Relevance
Not all great graphics are relevant to your project, and the less focused you are, the harder it will be to engage your readers.
TIP: Preparing your own graphics or having a skilled professional doing it for you (or even a professional printer) might be best to help ensure the visual side of your brochure will match your content perfectly.
However, if your budget is tight, this may be a problem. There is a number of image repositories on the Web (free and paid) where you can browse through graphics of any kind, including photographs, backgrounds, logos, clip art, etc.
Choose search keywords carefully and be patient. Finding the right images could take a while.
Step 2. Category of graphics
In a brochure, you can mix several kinds of graphics to fulfill different purposes.
- Logos: will make your business easily recognizable.
- Photos and illustrations: can be distributed throughout the brochure to highlight and clarify concepts
- Maps: can be employed to give directions quickly and effectively
- Other elements: Separators, bullets, decorative additions and more will help you to keep the brochure’s content neatly organized and readable.
Step 3. Originality
As there are several ways to express the same concept with words, there are many ways images can illustrate your content.
Being straightforward is recommended, but you don’t want your brochure to be one of the many. Study what others did to find a unique take on your subject.
TIP: Try to use inspiration from others as a starting point, but work toward finding your original voice.
Step 4. Image quality
Even though you have the perfect picture in terms of theme, relevance and originality, if the quality is not good enough for printing, it will be useless.
TIP: Avoid pictures that show heavy noise, aliasing, color banding and other issues. For printing, it’s usually recommended to choose a minimum resolution of 300 PPI. Unless you are using vectors, it’s better to shrink images than to blow them up, so it’s preferable to select images in which the resolution is bigger than the one required.
Step 5. Improving your selected images
The graphics you have may not be ready to be used in your brochure right away.
You may have to adjust things as saturation, brightness and contrast, apply effects, convert to black and white, crop to focus on salient details. You can do most of these things with an image editor like Photoshop (paid) or GIMP (free).
TIP: Check out our other great tutorial articles for more in-depth information on designing!
Get the picture?
Graphics can offer a lot to a brochure design and can act as a fantastic visual counterpart to the large amounts of text usual found in their designs.
For a successful image selection, and successful finished product, you need to put in the same effort you would in choosing the right words. Don’t just pick the first images that look good. Go a step further and pursue engaging strength, originality and quality.