If you can type, you can make a brochure. A successful brochure does not need to be fancy; it should be easy to read and provide all the information the reader needs to know in simple terms. There are many software programs available for making brochures, such as QuarkXPress, Adobe InDesign and CorelDRAW. Be prepared to invest some time in learning the capabilities and intricacies of the software design program you choose. This article will teach you how to make a typed brochure using Microsoft Word, which is available for Windows and Mac operating systems.
Mock Up of Brochure
On scrap paper, write an outline of all the information you want to convey to your audience. Think of it as a newspaper article, with an emphasis on the core facts: who, what, where, when, and how. A brochure for a restaurant, for example, should include cuisine information, operating hours, location, geographic area of service, when food can be carried out or delivered, and whether customers can place orders online and contact information.
On scrap paper, make a mock up of your brochure by hand. Take an 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch piece of paper and fold it in half lengthwise, or horizontally so you will either have a brochure 4 1/4 inches wide by 11 inches long or 5 1/2 inches wide x 8 1/2 inches long.
Draw a square or rectangle on the cover where you want your logo. Draw another square or rectangle on the cover where you want an image or photo inserted. Hand write your company name and any other information you want to appear on the cover.
Use the outline to fill out the information on the inside and back cover. Use more squares and rectangles for any images to be inserted, such as a map and directions.
Typing the Brochure
In Microsoft Word, go to "File" and "New" to open up a new document. Go to "Page Setup" and select either "Portrait", for a 4 1/4-inch by 11-inch brochure, or "Landscape"' for 5-1/2-inch wide x 8-1/2-inch long brochure. Set margins to .5 inches for top, bottom, left and right.
Open the mock brochure so you can see how to lay out the elements of the brochure. You will be typing two pages. The first will have the front and back cover (the back cover will be on the left and the front cover will be on the right) and the second page will have the inside of the brochure. You will be making 2-sided prints or copies for the finished brochure.
Click on the "columns" button at the top and select a two-column format. This will allow for the half-inch space for the ditch, or fold. Start by typing the back cover first. As you are typing, you will see things constantly shifting between the columns. Type everything in without worrying about where the paragraphs end. Choose the font, point size and color for your text in the top toolbar.
Insert any images you want within the text. To insert an image, put the cursor on the page where you want to insert an image. Go to "Insert" at the top of the document window. Click on "Picture" in the drop down menu. Click on "From File" in the pop-out menu. Find and highlight the image you wish to insert and click "Insert." Click on the image and go to "Format" at the top of the document window, then "Picture," and then "Layout" tab. A double click on the image will bring up the "Format Picture" window as well. Choose “Tight”, which usually works the best for brochure use. Experiment with the different layouts and see what you like. When done formatting, click and drag the image to where you want it.
Add line returns and spacing until the back and front covers line up the way you want them. Reduce or enlarge images. Insert a page break at the end of the first page of the document.
Repeat Steps 3 through 5 for page 2 or the inside of the brochure. Get everything typed in and all the images inserted before adjusting titles and spacing.
Check spelling and grammar. Print a copy to see how it looks. To print on both sides of the paper, you will need to print the "cover" page first and then put it back in the printer's paper tray to print the "inside" of the brochure. This may take a couple times to get it right. To familiarize yourself with how pages must be positioned when reinserting into the printer, try marking a plain piece of paper with Top, Bottom and Face Up (or down) and observe how the sheet is positioned when it exits the printer. Every printer is a little different, so you will need to be patient until you understand the proper positioning for your brochure. Make any necessary adjustments in spacing and print your final copy.
You can opt to store your brochure on a flash drive and have it printed professionally. Professional printers will require at least a quarter-inch border around all edges and half-inch in the ditch or fold. By setting up your document with half-inch margins, you will be covered. Be sure all the images are stored on the flash drive as well in jpg format, 300 dpi.
Do not use more than one or two fonts and do not make the type either too big or too small. Start with a 12 Font and adjust Titles as needed.
Plan your brochure as if it will always be in black and white to avoid any problems with images down the road.
Make sure any images you use from the Internet are in the public domain and free.
If you take your document to an office supply store for copies such as Staples or OfficeMax, ask someone there to show you how to make two-sided copies. You can also print on glossy or colored paper with a photocopier.
Do not rush to the printer with the brochure you just pulled off the printer. Wait a day and re-read the brochure with a fresh perspective. Make sure there are no misspelled words or grammatical errors.
Michele Quinn is a freelance writer in Portland, Maine. Before moving to Portland, Quinn lived and worked in the Chicago area, where she obtained a bachelors degree in advertising and an associate's degree in advertising, design and illustration. Her area of expertise is advertising, website design and graphic design.