A Guide to Brochure Printing

Putting together a professional brochure involves much dedication and several steps within the process. Even though brochure printing is the last in line for the entire process, you need to know beforehand what decisions will be involved as they affect the design.  Before you begin the layout, use this guide as a reference for your brochure printing decisions.

Size - Decide which size you want your brochure to be.  If you change your mind, be sure to make the changes yourself rather than asking a printer to resize it for you.  Designing on the wrong size causes the end result to be stretched or important information to be cut off.  Standard  brochures are 8.5x11 but other sizes include 11x17, 11x25, or you could go smaller with a 4.5x5.5.

Template - Using a template will insure that you design on the correct size and will also help with bleed specifications.  Check with your printing company to see if they offer templates as this will make your printing process smoother and prevent important text and images from getting cut.

Artwork - Your graphics need to be the correct resolution to avoid a fuzzy appearance.  Use a resolution of at least 300 dpi for the best results.
When saving your brochure to a different file format, double check your resolutions to make sure that they remain the same.

Colors - The colors that you use can vary greatly from their appearance on your computer screen to the printed page.  Purchasing a printed color chart for CMYK and PANTONE colors will help you know exactly the color tone you will get in your brochure.  If this is not an option for you, calibrate your design program with your monitor using software available online.

Fold - Knowing the type of fold you want before beginning to design your brochure is an absolute necessity.  The type of fold you choose changes the design layout.  For instance, a tri-fold brochure when opened flat will contain flaps 3, 4, and 5 on one side and flaps 2, 6, and 1 on the other side.  Other fold options may be the accordion or the double parallel.

Paper - Brochures are usually printed on heavy text or cover stock.  Using a text paper, such as 80# provides durability but is also easily folded.  This paper stock usually comes with an aqueous coating for protection and shine.  If you decide your brochure needs more protection, you may want to go with a 10lb. cover stock and a heavier gloss coating, such as UV Gloss for sheen or a matte.

Utility options - If you know that your brochures will be placed in a 3-ring binder, you will want to have them hold-punched.  For brochures that include a removable panel, such as a mail order form or discount coupons, don't forget to ask about perforation options.

Proof - The last consideration involved in brochure printing has to do with what type of proof you desire.  A proof gives you the opportunity to check for typos and correct alignment of text and images. Many printers offer electronic proofs, which are the most cost-effective choice.  A physical proof, though, shows you exactly what your brochure will look like when complete, something that a computer screen just can't duplicate.

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