There are many elements your brochure or other marketing materials should contain in order to be as effective as possible. You most likely spend hours carefully crafting a compelling headline, supporting materials to back up your headline, and a clear call to action. However, equally important to creating an effective, results-oriented, prospect- capturing brochure is knowing what should be left out.

In this article, we cover the five elements we frequently see that are very often added to marketing materials – but shouldn’t be.  Don’t run the risk of distracting from your message and looking unprofessional.

As you read the following tips, see if you recognize any in your marketing materials (and fix them if you do).

1. The unnecessary use of exclamation points!!!!

Exclamation points have a tendency to be overused in an attempt to make a message appear exciting!!! Please don’t do this. Exclamation points conjure up images of cheesy gimmicks and over-hyped messages. Instead, spend the time to carefully craft your message so that the words you choose naturally convey your excitement to the reader. If you absolutely must use the exclamation point (and there are instances where that’s ok), one will work just fine.

Take for example the mock dog training ad we created below. ( Tacky Ad  #1). While it may indeed be quite exciting that you can train your dog in only three days, the addition of so many exclamation points in this ad “over-hypes” the message and most of us simply don’t trust messages that seem to yell at us. The ad would have more credibility if the exclamation points are left out.

How many exclamation points does it take to screw up an ad?

How many exclamation points does it take to screw up an ad?

2. Overuse of bold, italics and underlining
Bolding, italicizing and underlining some of your text (emphasis on some) can certainly help highlight what you want your readers to notice and focus on; however, when every other word is set in a different font style, there isn’t much type left that stands out and it defeats its’ own purpose. In the “Clean up” ad below (Tacky Ad #2) there is way too much going on with the text. There are words in all caps, words in bold, underlined, bold and underlined and so on. I get dizzy looking at it and that makes it hard for me to focus on the message. I have the urge to quickly find somewhere else to look to give my eyes a rest. It’s a similar feeling to wanting to throw your hands over your ears when you encounter the deafening noise of a jackhammer – or perhaps the music blaring from your teenager’s room. Take your tone down a notch and clean up the different type styles. Your readers will thank you, and hopefully your sales department will too.

“Underline, italics and bold... oh my!”

“Underline, italics and bold… oh my!”

3. Using too many different fonts.
We all love to share our appetite for different fonts by using a pinch of one and a dash of several others when creating ads or brochure designs.  Don’t be tempted to use so many or things could start to smell fishy.  Stick to just two or three fonts to keep your design tasteful.

 

Too many fonts spoil the broth - er... brochrue.

Too many fonts spoil the broth – er… brochrue.

4. Using images you have saved off of the web.

Most everyone knows how to right click on an image on the web to save it to their computer but not everyone knows how to use those images properly (and legally). Here are two reasons why you should never use these in your brochure design (or any of your printed marketing materials). First, the resolution for web images is 72dpi (dpi=dots per inch) which is far below the 300dpi needed to produce a quality image for print. So even if you do end up printing it in your brochure, the resolution will be very blurry and fuzzy. Secondly, the chances are that the image you are trying to save off of the web belongs to someone else and you are not legally allowed to use it. (Even those images found by Google’s image search, which many incorrectly think of as “free clip art”).

5. Not utilizing white space
White space is the blank, empty areas of your brochure (or postcard, flyer etc) that contains no text or images. Many people feel the need to use every bit of space for their message and consider space wasted if they leave some areas blank. This leads to crowding your brochure and can be overwhelming and confusing for the reader because there’s simply just too much coming at them. Think of white space as a “resting” place for the minds and eyes of your readers – providing a soothing effect and thereby opening them up to the message you are trying to convey. See the two images below of the Volkswagen ad and the Coca-Cola ad for examples of a wonderful use of white space. Blissful.

 

This print ad from Volkswagen is a classic example of the effective use of white space. We've included the Coca-Cola ad here (we're in Atlanta - have to include Coca-Cola) as a reminder that white space doesn't actually have to be white. The red background here works on the same premise.

This print ad from Volkswagen is a classic example of the effective use of white space. We’ve included the Coca-Cola ad here (we’re in Atlanta – have to include Coca-Cola) as a reminder that white space doesn’t actually have to be white. The red background here works on the same premise.

Did the above tips help you create a better brochure or print ad? Send us your before and after samples and we may include them in a follow up article. Email to  terry@quickcreative.net.

Need help designing or writing your brochure, flyer, postcard or poster? Call us at 404.502.5531 and let us know what project we can help you with!

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