Brochure Design Tutorial
Graphic Design

How to create a brochure in Photoshop: A video tutorial

Today’s printing tip video illustrates how to create a brochure in Photoshop. The easy-to-follow tutorial is led by our graphic designer whose voice I’m sure you’ll recognize by now. Sharon, walks you through the basics of creating a brochure, and gives tips and tricks for some cool effects. She creates an actual brochure right before your eyes, which makes it useful, as well as easy to follow. If you are printing with, Sharon will even make sure you set your file up correctly for printing, by pointing out the specs for your caution, trim and bleed lines.

Why don’t you give it a try now?

Video Transcript

In this tutorial we’ll cover how to make an amazing brochure in a crunch using Adobe Photoshop.

Begin by downloading a Layout Guide from, found on the brochure product page.  We’ll be using the 11 x 8.5 Tri (Letter) Fold layout guide.

When you unzip the folder, you will notice a variety of files to choose from. You can choose either landscape or portrait. For this tutorial we will be designing just the outside of the brochure that includes the front cover, back cover, and insert panel. You must design the outside and inside in separate files before submitting your artwork for print. So for now, grab the 11 x 8.5 outside landscape layout JPEG and hover it over the Photoshop icon to open it.

With the layout open, you’ll notice red, blue, and green lines bordering the layout as well as vertical dotted lines.

The red line represents bleed. Bleed is artwork such as background colors or images that extend farther than the trim edge of a print document.  

The blue line represents trim. Trim is the final size of your brochure after it has been cut. By extending your design past the trim line all the way to the bleed line, you’ll ensure there are no unprinted edges.

The green line represents the Caution Line.  Anything such as text, logos, or important parts of a photo should not extend past this line.

The vertical dotted lines represent brochure folds that separate each panel. 

Now go to ‘Image’ then ‘Mode’ and make sure ‘CMYK’ is checked. This will ensure color accuracy in the final print.

Now is an excellent time to save your PSD.  Make sure you save periodically along the way.

Before we start designing it’s good to set up guides within Photoshop so you can see them at all times once your layout guide is covered up.

First go to ‘View’ and check ‘Rulers’.  This will give you some visual reference.

Now set your guides. Go to ‘View’ then ‘New Guide’. You will need to enter a new guide for every vertical and horizontal colored line including the fold lines.  Measurements for each of the lines are listed in the video description.

Now you’re ready to start designing. 

In this part of the tutorial you’ll learn a quick Photoshop technique to achieve this water color photo effect.

However, first we need to create a background. Create a new layer and fill it with a solid color. We’ll be designing a brochure for a Greenhouse so I’ll choose a soft, pastel green. Now choose a large photo with a texture that you like and place it over the layout guide. Notice that the photo must extend past the bleed lines to print correctly.

Now go to ‘Image’, ‘Adjustments’, then ‘Desaturate’.

Make sure the photo is above the green layer then change the blending mode to Darken and change the Opacity to 50%. This creates a nice tinted effect on your textured photo.

Next bring in your photos. After placing your photos select them all and go to ‘Layer’ and ‘Group Layers’.

Now click on the group and go to ‘Layer’, ‘Layer Mask’, and ‘Hide all’. This is where we’ll start creating the water color effect. By creating this layer mask you’ll be able to erase the edges of the photos in a non-destructive fashion.

With your Paint Brush choose a brush head such as this Rough Round Bristle Brush and make it fairly large. Set your opacity to around 40%.

Choose white as your primary color and black as your secondary color. Now, using white, begin painting to reveal the photos beneath. Essentially, white reveals the image and black covers it up.

If you make a mistake, simply switch to black and paint the area back in.

To see the layer mask, hold down the ALT or Option Key and click the mask. Click the same way again to see your photos again.

The key to the creating the water color effect is using a variety of brush heads, sizes, and different opacities. Take your time and experiment to get something you like!

Now all that is left is adding your text. Repeat these steps for the backside of your brochure and you’ll have an amazing piece in no time at all!

That last step is exporting a PDF. Go to ‘File’,’Save as’, and choose ‘Photoshop PDF’.

Then under ‘Adobe PDF Preset’ choose ‘PDF X 1 A 2001’. Then click ‘Save PDF’. This is the file you will submit to for printing. 


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