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Brochures & Catalogs

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Brochures and catalogs abound in virtually every society, in both physical and virtual form. The sheer abundance of these documents sometimes mask their prime purpose: to concisely deliver accurate, and intriguing information to potential customers. Great copywriting and great design not only create a great communication experience, but also restore faith in traditional media's ability to reach consumers on a personal level.

Unfortunately, brochures and catalogs have been shoved through every real and virtual mailbox, gratuitously pushed into the hands of passing pedestrians, dropped from planes, pasted on walls, and sent via SMS and MMS to millions of mobile phones every day.

Little wonder the term 'junk mail' is most applied to this type of communication. Straight from the box to the bin — this is by far the most common treatment these pieces receive. And yet creating these pieces is not inexpensive.

Organizations invest significant amounts of resources in the hopes that a potential customer will engage. The persistence of the brochure and catalog is testament to its effectiveness, when used correctly. Authenticity, above all, is the most important aspect. Any brochure or catalog that promises something great just to lure customers will never again be trusted if the promise is broken by inferior products and services. A brochure or catalog is a time-saver.

Deluging it with content defeats the purpose of getting the point across immediately, and therefore effectively. A brochure or catalog is seldom a stand-alone piece.

Most of the times there is supporting information, either on a website, or report or other piece of communication. Brochures and catalogs are conversation-starters. References to the supporting pieces is critical to continuing the conversation.

A brochure or catalog begs for great design. The organization of content is critical. If one is not a designer or page layout expert, invest in one to design the brochure.

The difference between amateur and professional design is one the easiest disparities to spot and customers are pros at doing so. Use photographs and illustrations only to augment the words. These visual pieces are more than stimuli. They are vital corollaries to the words.

They reinforce the message. They never detract from it. Grammar and punctuation make a big difference. Unlike vocabulary, grammar and punctuation have only one correct answer.

A single mistake in these areas, as well as in spelling, can severely damage the credibility of the message. Sustainability is critical. Brochures and catalogs that are perceived as environmentally friendly and socially responsible will be received with more enthusiasm.