MS Publisher: Creating a Brochure

A colour brochure clearly enhances the sales letter of direct marketing campaigns, does not cost much and is also easy to create using Microsoft Office Publisher 2007.

A sales letter that consists only of a written letter can very well fulfil its purpose. However, with a letter you can only address your customers with pure text, which, especially when it is too long, is seldom read in entirety. If you include a colour brochure with the sales letter, you not only gain additional space to present your product, but also the possibility to use pictures. A picture says more than a thousand words, even more since the beholder notices and comprehends a picture much faster than text. With a brochure, you can also easily demonstrate to your customers that you are convinced of your product; after all, you obviously made the effort to present it elaborately. A colour brochure does not have to be expensive. If you create it yourself and have it printed by an online print shop found on the Internet, a brochure with a print run of 5.000 copies or more often does not incur direct costs of more than 10% of the postage costs of the direct marketing campaign. With the templates included in Publisher2007, it really is not difficult to create your own brochure.

Publisher is included in the Small Business, Professional and Ultimate editions of Office2007. Furthermore, Publisher is also available as an individual product. The following steps are required to create a brochure using Publisher:

  1. Before you begin with the brochure’s layout, you should start by looking for a print shop and decide on a particular product. Depending on which product you chose, it is possible that an additional margin of a few millimetres is required, which will need to be taken into account in the layout of the print template.
  2. Start the Publisher. On the left side, there is a compilation of the different 'Publication types': From 'advertisements' to ’letterheads’, ’business cards’, ’flyers’, 'websites' and 'menus', there is a whole series of templates for anything you could want to create with Publisher.
  3. Select the category 'Brochures'. Brochures are printed on letter-sized paper and folded twice, so that they can be used as an insert in a normal letter. In order to create a print template for the whole brochure, you have to create two separate projects with Publisher, one for the inside of the brochure and one for the outside.
  4. Let’s start with the outside of the brochure. To do so, select one of the templates offered in Publisher. The page size of the template is DIN A4 and is thus 29,7 by 21 centimetres large. Now our print shop has informed us that an additional margin of one millimetre width is required on each side of the print template, in order to be able to cut out the printed brochure. Therefore, we have to start by increasing the page size of our print template by this one millimetre on each side. To do so, click on the 'Change page size' button, which is found on the left. In the next dialogue, you can change the values for the page width and height. Change these to 29,9 and 21,2 centimetres and click on 'OK'.
  5. Thus, the individual elements of the print template are moved one millimetre to the left. Of course, you have to take account of this in the layout. Orient yourself on the dimensions for the three pages of the brochure as given by the print shop, generally a width of 10 centimetres for the front page of the brochure, which can be found at the very right of the print template, 10 centimetres for the back page, which can be found in the middle of the print template, and 9,9 centimetres for the page that is hidden by the front page when it is folded. We also still have to take account of the one millimetre margin on all four sides of the page.
  6. When creating the layout for the print template, you can place different design elements on the workspace, including text fields, amongst others. Contrary to a word processing program like Word, you cannot write your text directly into the print template in Publisher. On the other hand, you can position your text anywhere on the page and even rotate it by a few degrees to the left or the right to accentuate it. Simply have a look through the menu items 'Insert' and 'Format' to gain an overview of your options for the layout design. Some of the options, such as the font style and size, among others, are found in the toolbar above the workspace. Others can be found in the context menu of the various print template elements, which can be opened by clicking on the right mouse button.
  7. Save the layout for the outside when you are finished. To avoid later confusion, the file name should reflect that it is the print template for the outside.
  8. Close the project and select the same template again for the layout of the inside of the brochure. Here also, you have to change the page size as described above, by adding one millimetre on each side of the page.
  9. For the inside, you do not need to rethink anything, it presents itself just like you would read it later, from left to right: At the very left, the left column with a width of 10 centimetres, then the middle column with a width of 10 centimetres and finally, the right column with a width of 9,9 centimetres.
  10. Save the layout for the inside when you are finished. Here also, the file name should reflect that it is the print template for the inside of the brochure.
  11. Good, now all you have to do is export the print templates for the inside and outside of the brochure in a format that the print shop can use: In the 'File' menu, select 'Save as' and then 'JPEG' from the selection list with the possible file types. The resolution is set at 150 dpi by default. However, the resolution should be as high as possible for professional printing in a print shop. Therefore, click on the 'Edit' button and select '300 dpi' for the resolution. Afterwards, you can save your print template by clicking on the 'Save' button. Do the same thing with the print template for the outside. Of course, you can also save the print template as a PDF file. However, sometimes there are problems with the colours when exporting a PDF file.
  12. Then you send the two files with the print templates for the inside and the outside of the brochure to the print shop. It is best to order the smallest print run offered at your print shop, so you can see how the results look. Print runs starting at 5.000 copies are cheapest. However, since you do not know yet how the print result will look for a particular print template, you should start by printing only a small number of copies to be on the safe side. If they turn out to be good, you can still use them for something other at a later time. By the way, the colours from the print shop are often a little different, usually lighter than they would be when printed on your own colour laser printer.

You can read about where to find pictures for your brochure in the article 'Where can I get photos for my direct marketing campaign?'.

Author: Thomas Hainke