If you’ve never designed anything before, Photoshop is probably your best choice for creative designing, the learning curve is not too steep and you can post photos, texts and perhaps vector illustrations to your heart’s content. There are creative design agency channels where you can take online tutorials and manuals. Make sure you set the correct dimensions and resolution, your printer will be grateful to you. If you have a limited budget, take a look at a free Photoshop alternative: GIMP, suitable for both Windows and Linux. Please note that GIMP has a limited 4-colour mode (CMYK), please read more about this limitation here.
A frequently asked question: Which is the most suitable format for my brochure? Here’s a lot of discussion about how it’s difficult to answer the ‘format’ question…] The answer is simple: an A4 triptych of course! With such a format, you’re always in the right position for a short message. Folded, it is easy to carry (fits in a back pocket) and you have space for about 100 words per hatch. In addition, the triptych is very suitable for complying with the rule of thirds, use one section for more graphic elements and two sections for text in particular. Tadaa, your brochure design looks more professional right away.
According to research, you only have 7 seconds to fascinate your reader, not much to arouse interest. Use space wisely and make your text scannable, i.e. place around the few sentences a head, keep your lines short and try to minimize repetition. Here and there a list can work well but alternate with full texts. Always close your text with a clear call-to-action to actually convert the generated interest into action.
It’s not possible to create a masterpiece brochure design directly, especially if you have a little experience with graphic design. Catch your ignorance and take a Google Images crash course! Collect as many existing brochure designs as possible, study the image material, the layout, the font use and the colours. With a bit of common sense, it will quickly become clear what does and what does not work. Combine the elements of good brochure design to create something original. Make sure that everything is connected, limit yourself to two or three different fonts, use quiet colors and above all, try to leave space just empty (place an imaginary frame of say 2cm around each side).
If you’ve adhered to your printer’s supply specifications, it’s a matter of exporting and submitting. But which file type? PDF is the gold standard but has a number of pitfalls, such as incorrect flattening or unenclosed fonts. Graphic purists will condemn you but JPG (or jpeg) is an excellent and safe alternative. If your resolution is high enough (at least 300 dpi) and your color format is set correctly (CMYK), then you have to be careful.