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14.2 Creating Flyers and Brochures

Learning Objectives

  1. Recognize the similarities and differences between flyers and brochures.
  2. Understand the typical purposes and formats for brochures.
  3. Know what audiences expect from brochures and understand typical components of brochures.

Flyers and brochures are both used to attract attention and to promote or persuade based on their content. Despite their common purpose, flyers and brochures have many differences. A brochure tends to be a more formal piece that is used on a long-term basis. A flyer is more casual and tends to be used for a single event at a single point in time. Also, a flyer requires fonts large enough to be read at a distance when the flyer is posted. Since brochures usually have a longer shelf life, more care, expertise, and meticulous editing typically go into their creation. Brochures have more standard features than flyers, as shown in the following lists.

Like newsletters, brochures and flyers may be dying a slow but steady death, first by the move away from ink and paper and now by more compelling electronic means of getting out time-sensitive information. But interestingly, in all these cases, the first generation of electronic, replacement versions of the print genre still copy many of its features, and certainly, proper and effective use of rhetorical technique is still of paramount importance.

In some cases, especially when the identity of the targeted audience is not predetermined, the hard-copy form of a brochure or flyer is still preferable. Sometimes a brochure includes a full-size flyer on the inside panels resulting in a combination of brochure and flyer. Such flyers typically do not use the larger flyer fonts since they are not designed to post or to be read from a distance. Decide how your folds will fall before you start so you can create your layout as two full-size sheets of paper to use for front and back. When you choose paper for a brochure, make sure it folds nicely.

The following lists present some typical features of brochures and flyers.

Typical Purposes for Brochures

  • to promote sales
  • to promote interest
  • to inform
  • to announce something

Typical Formats for Brochures

  • inviting visual layout (the content is most important, but first the reader’s attention must be captured)
  • bulleted lists instead of dense text
  • color strategically placed to draw reader’s eye
  • ample white space, but no wasted space
  • folded format (trifold is standard)
  • small margins on each folded face
  • two or three small chunks of text per fold
  • two or three plain, simple sentences per chunk of text
  • a maximum of three fonts
  • standard font sizes—headings: 14–16, text: 12, captions: 10
  • publication on high-quality paper or distribution electronically as an attached file

Typical Audience Expectations for Brochures

  • one-time publication with possible updates at a later time
  • information can be years old
  • short text pieces on each face
  • easily readable text
  • consistent look across folds
  • enough information for easy follow-up

Typical Components of Brochures

  • attention-drawing front panel including main point and call to action (the top third is the most critical if the brochure will be in a rack)
  • most important information on inside front panel
  • headings and subheadings (use these liberally but strategically; they will serve as guides to the deeper content, but they will also be the only part some readers will read)
  • meaningful graphics with good printing resolution
  • hours of operation (if applicable)
  • phone number and web address for more information

Key Takeaways

  • Both flyers and brochures are used to attract attention, but flyers are more casual and typically used for a single event, so less care and expertise typically go into their development.
  • Purposes for brochures include to increase sales or commercial traffic, to promote interest in an organization, to inform, and to announce something.
  • Brochure formats should be highly visual with compact chunks of text using a maximum of three fonts. Heading fonts should be 14–16 points, main text should be 12 points, and captions should be 10 points. Brochures, like flyers and newsletters, are usually printed on high-quality paper, but they are sometimes distributed electronically.
  • People who pick up brochures typically assume they might be published once and used for years. People also expect brochures to include short pieces of easily readable, error-free text, a consistent flow from fold to fold, and ample information for easy follow-up.
  • The front panel of a brochure must capture a reader’s attention. If a brochure will be placed in a rack with other brochures, the top third of the brochure is the part that will show; thus this part of the brochure is the most important for capturing a reader’s attention. The inside front panel is where the key information should be placed. Headings, subheadings, and graphics help create the look of a brochure.

Exercises

  1. Work with a partner. Choose a topic for a brochure. Use a word processing program’s brochure template to create a trifold, two-sided brochure on your topic.
  2. Create a flyer to promote a one-time event that is related to the topic of the brochure.
  3. For each of the following scenarios, determine which would be best: a newsletter, flyer, or brochure:

    1. five-kilometer fun run for charity
    2. monthly summary of activities for a charitable organization’s local chapter
    3. requirements for graduation in a college curriculum