1. Decide what you are trying to achieve
When designing a promotional piece make sure you are clear what job you are expecting it to do, and that it is fit for the purpose. Is it to generate interest in a new product, encourage the reader to visit your website, or simply to deliver a corporate message to show what underpins your products? Make sure your designer is clear about what you want to achieve.

2. Follow any existing brand guidelines
Often companies have corporate or brand guidelines. This will usually include use of logos, layout and typography.

3. First impressions count
All too often the paper your leaflet or brochure is printed on is overlooked. The extra amount you may have to pay to look different to your competitors could make a big difference to how your company is perceived by potential customers. Don’t always settle for gloss art paper – ask your designer to advise.

4. Get organised
Get your creative ideas down on paper and plan your message. Quite simply, the better you articulate your requirements, the better the end product.

5. Plan your job through, from concept to print
Include mailing lists, mailing and tracking response. If your budget is limited, then work within the standard paper sizes and finishes so your mailing piece fits off-the-shelf envelopes.

6. Use a professional copywriter
It is money well spent. Produce a draft, or alternatively bullet point out the key points, features or benefits to make it easier for the copywriter to understand the message you are trying to convey. Do a word count on the relevant sections as a guide for the copywriter, this will make the production process that much easier.

7. Consistency
Ensure the message delivered in your promotional piece is consistent with your website and any other promotional literature you use. This could include prices, offers and dates, as well as the message you are delivering to your customers.

8. Draw the reader in
Make sure you identify with your chosen target audience. Brochures are often given no more than a quick glance. Break the text up with sub-headers that help draw the reader in. The more attention you create on first glance, the more chance the reader will take time to read the brochure in detail.

9. Don’t cram it in
Don’t feel you have to use every inch of white space. A good designer will be able to work more freely with a bit of elbow-room and create a promotional piece with more impact.

10. Library images
A bespoke photo speaks volumes. However, if you can’t afford a photo shoot then consider good library photos. There are literally millions of good quality, low cost images available to download online and will add impact to your brochure.

11. Direct Mail – Know your mailing weight
Essential when doing direct mail. If mailing in large numbers then have dummy samples made up of all items to go in the envelope and weigh it first. By reducing the paper weight just a fraction you could drop down into the lower mailing weight band and reduce your mailing cost considerably.

12. Proof read carefully
Use a spelling check in addition to proof reading. Ask someone not involved in the project to read independently. It is far easier to spot a spelling mistake or error in print, than it ever is at proof stage!


Peter has been responsible for a number of value added products which have been substantially beneficial to our firm, including:- Creation and roll out of corporate brochures; Redesigning and formatting of proposal and pitch documents for new business; Video production for website purposes; Creation of recruitment brochures; Ad hoc creation of other marketing materials as required on a bespoke basis.
Mario Cientanni, Managing Partner – Barnes Roffe (Top 40 UK accountancy practices)