I have to design a brochure for a client. I don't understand much of brand identity, but my client says his brochure should reflect the following:

  1. Professional
  2. It should not be the flavour of the month
  3. Must inspire confidence
  4. Must reflect the strength of the team
  5. "Our corporate promise is: Reliable Energy". Therefore, it should inspire reliability.

My question is, while designing, what are the things that I need to keep in mind so that I adhere to what he have asked for?

I understand that the design should be simple, with standard colour and fonts. Apart from that, how can I make the brochure reflect the list above? How do you translate this in terms of design?

  • 3
    Those are 5 rather meaningless constraints. To perhaps steer you in the right direction, try to find out as much as you can about the business objectives of the brochure. Who is the target audience? – DA01 Oct 10 '12 at 3:17
  • Before I offer up an answer, did they provide you with copy (the wording) or are you writing the copy as well? – Ryan Oct 10 '12 at 13:29
  • they provided me with the copy. – Ibrahim Azhar Armar Oct 10 '12 at 14:49

The problem you actually have isn't the one you think you have, but it's one that every designer faces often: the clients actually have no idea what they're looking for, so they have given you a list of vague concepts instead of a clear design brief.

Your job at this point is not to start trying to design something. It is to work with the client as long as it takes until both you and the client have a clear idea of exactly what they want to communicate to exactly which audience. If you just sail into a design now, then unless you get very lucky you will end up in an endless round of major changes and minor tweaks that will take you far beyond the time you had budgeted for the project. Relying on luck is bad practice.

Not getting a clear design brief at the outset is the number one cause of designer frustration, extended project time and unhappy clients. It is very often the case, when dealing small-to-medium size businesses, that the client has not thought the project through in detail. You make yourself more valuable, and save yourself a huge amount of work, by helping them to do that in the beginning. If you and the client haven't clearly defined the goal for the project, neither of you will know when you've achieved it.

This article on the AIGA website will give you some insight.

  • Agree. Our sales people sell stuff all the time and then I have to do the design. They say to e-mail the client for content but that just doesn't work. I always call first, talk the client through it a little and then they'll know exactly what materials to send me so I can execute it quickly. – Ryan Oct 11 '12 at 3:39

Since you mention you don't have 'branding experience' Or you haven't done brochures before), I would begin by taking a look at what other similar companies are doing to get an idea of the public, the activities and so on. A good starting point is to see their websites, for example, and find what similarities they have: What colours do they use? How do they present the information? What are the most important keywords and concepts? This will give you a good idea of the approach you could take.

As DA01 mentioned, those 5 points are kind of meaningless and rather commonplaceish. What the client probably means is: Make it look professional, make it look clean and make it look reflective of what we do. Your keywords are probably 'Reliable' and 'Energy', so any copy that refers to those concepts should be highlighted somehow (you can use boxes, font weight, size, colour, whatever you prefer). If you are in doubt, you can find advice and inspiration checking some tips and tutorials on how to design brochures.

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