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I am soon to be working on a brochure design that kind of acts as a local business directory. The directory is split into different categories of businesses, however many of the businesses belong to more than one category.

If we were to just have the brochure split up into different chapters e.g. one category after the next, then we would end up with a lot of duplicate listings so that the companies could be shown in each category that they belong to.

Does anyone have any ideas for how to tackle this? One idea is to use a Matrix chart that could kind of act as a table of contents, so that you can see straight away what companies belong to which categories.

I've been investigating other data visualisation techniques but haven't found anything that could work as well as a Matrix chart. I imagine there are all kinds of ways to go about it but this isn't something I've had to tackle yet in print, only when designing for the web.

There is one other service I know of (an online one at that) that displays each company listing with an icon, and the icon is colour-coded to match each company's services that they offer. E.g. if the icon were 50% red and 50% blue, that could symbolise that they offer both design and development. Or it could be 25% blue, 25% red and 50% green, symbolising something like design / development / art-direction.

I think something along those lines could perhaps work too, or maybe some kind of unique pattern / texture to represent each category... but I'm keen to investigate a little more to make sure I've covered all available options!

  • It's not forbidden to simply repeat the companies in each main categories. If you use some codes, you'll also need to add a legend and make sure it's not confusing... and that you don't have too many of these codes either. Is that a big brochure or do you mean a booklet? If you don't have too many categories, you can use a big stripe of different color on each sides or on the footer of your booklet as your "code." If you have a lot of duplicates then maybe make a page with a table with an axis Y and X... and use this as table of contents + reference. X for companies and Y for categories. – go-junta Aug 5 '15 at 13:43

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