10 Guidelines for a Useful Brochure


Rack systems managed by marketing firms can be an easy way to get your brochure in front of diverse audiences.
Rack systems managed by marketing firms can be an easy way to get your brochure in front of diverse audiences.

We once asked a state park office how often they have to fill their brochure rack. The enthusiastic clerk explained, “It’s great, virtually never. No one takes them.” Here are ten guidelines to keep your brochures where they belong, in the hands of your guests, instead of in the rack or on the ground.


  1. A colorful brochure with great illustrations attracts the eye and makes it more likely to be picked up in the first place.
  2. The title should telegraphically identify the brochure’s purpose or theme. If I need a site map, I want to be able to find it easily, but if I’m interested in the story behind the site, I may be willing to read a little more if the title is intriguing.
  3. Use illustrations and photos instead of words whenever possible. Pictures can often convey universal concepts, understood even by those who do not know the language.
  4. Make the folded shape and size convenient to carry in a pocket.
  5. Make sure the design is consistent with the distribution system. If your brochure rack has opaque covers across the lower half of the brochure, put the title or theme on the upper third where it can be seen.
  6. Make brochures readily available in a rack system or location where they are likely to be seen and used, not hidden in an administrative office where guests have to ask for them.
  7. Give people a place near exits to repurpose gently used brochures. Soiled ones can be put in paper recycling and clean ones reused.
  8. Make the papers and inks used reflect your values. Recycled paper and organic inks may be the best choice if your organization specializes in conservation stories, even if they are slightly more expensive.
  9. Think of who will use it and design to help them make easy use of the brochure. (e.g. larger print for seniors, digital app for young people, sized for convenient distribution).
  10. Hire a professional designer who knows how to use color, typefaces, spacing and overall design carefully. This may not be a project for an intern.


Enough said – Happy Valentine’s Day!


– Tim Merriman

Published by heartfeltassociates

Lisa Brochu and Tim Merriman are married and serve as Principals of Heartfelt Associates. They write fiction and non-fiction, raise miniature horses and consult with parks, zoos, museums, historic sites, nature centers and aquariums on heritage interpretation and visitor experiences.They live on the Big Island of Hawaii on a small Kona coffee farm overlooking Kealakekua Bay.

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