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Advice for bland brochure

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  • Advice for bland brochure

    Hi - I'm designing a simple brochure for a doctor who wants to distribute office information to her patients. The problem is that the design strikes me as too bland: it is essentially just an 8.5x11 sheet of paper, folded in half, printed in black and white and without any images or graphics. Any typographical measures I take (one idea was rotating headers 90%) makes the information more difficult to read and slower to process. There are no images, graphics or clinic logos to display

    My question is, is there any way to liven up a bland project like this? I was considering adding a caduceus, perhaps with reduced opacity; does anyone else have any suggestions?

  • #2
    Post pics in the Crit Pit so we can see what you're working with.

    "May your hats fly as high as your dreams"Michael Scott


    • #3
      A caduceus is about the most predictable graphic ever for a medical practice, and designers rarely use the correct version.

      Why not use a picture of the doctor, or the whole office staff? The idea is to get potential new patients to feel comfortable calling for an appointment, isn't it?
      This post is brought to you by the letter E and the number 9. Those are the buttons I push to get a Twix out of the candy machine.
      "I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process."


      • #4
        Originally posted by daysrunaway View Post
        My question is, is there any way to liven up a bland project like this? I was considering adding a caduceus, perhaps with reduced opacity; does anyone else have any suggestions?
        Is it a sales flyer/brochure of some sort that is, maybe, offering a new service? Is it just meant to tell patients basic information, like office hour changes? Is it a safety message, like throwing away old pills? What's its purpose? What it's meant to accomplish will help you determine what it should be.

        Why is it just B&W on a folded-in-half 8.5x11 sheet of paper? Is it going to be printed offset at a commercial printer? Taken to a copy shop? Printed out in the office on a laser printer? Duplicated on a copier? What? It's not as though a typical doctor can't afford more than the absolute cheapest thing possible, and handing out a cheapo, run-off-the-copier flyer risks conveying a message of amateurism and lack of quality. I assume this doctor cares about the image she's portraying about her practice to her patients, right?

        If it's basic information about, say, patients not parking on the north side of the building, a B&W notice is fine. On the other hand, if its a promotional piece announcing a new surgical service, a cheap, B&W notice on office laser printer paper isn't going to inspire much confidence or trust.

        Who's going to write or edit the information? Medical people are usually terrible writers who are fond of wordy, dense, poorly constructed sentences and bad punctuation. You might not think of this as part of the design, but it is. Your job is to design something that communicates information, so you need to think in terms of how well this brochure does that. That involves both the writing and the subtle messages conveyed by its look and layout.

        Keep it simple, conservative and professional. A flyer/brochure with edgy typefaces or cutesy decorations is inappropriate for a serious, professional service, like medicine.

        When it comes right down to it, I can't give you specific instructions on how to make your project, that I know very little about, less bland. Neither could I give you instructions on how to improve your piano playing that I've never heard. There are a million different ways to design a good brochure, but making the best of those choices means considering the kinds of things that I've already mentioned.

        Shoot photos. Buy stock art. Use interesting (and interesting looking) pull quotes. Put the information in a question-answer format. Use bulleted lists. Design a graphic or a chart. Really, the possibilities are endless. Making just the right selections from those endless possibilities, then pulling it off, is the difficult part.


        • #5
          Hi everyone -

          Thanks for the valuable advice, but unfortunately much of it runs counter to the client's requests, which of course take priority.

          <b>: This is an information brochure for patients who have already booked an appointment, detailing office hours, fees for cancelled appointments, lab and x-ray result procedures, etc.

          The client has requested no photos, that it be an 8.5x11 sheet folded in half, and budget prohibits color printing. I will however have access to a full-bleed black and white printer.

          I appreciate that you cannot give me specific instructions on how to make the project more interesting; I was requesting general ideas. Thanks very much for the ones you provided, that is exactly what I was hoping for.


          • #6
            If it's informative rather than advertising, then making it clear and easy to follow is more important than making it look pretty or exciting.

            Use paragraph styles to make headers, body copy and bullets. Don't get too arty or crazy. It won't be appreciated.
            It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh


            • #7
              I'd have to agree with budafist. It seems that no matter which way you go, there isn't too much you can do other than the suggestions that buda made.

              With color printing, and using photos thrown out the window, It's always going to come out looking bland in comparison to some of the beautiful things achieved with color print and photos.

              There's a good reason why photos are used hand in hand with text when trying to get information across.

              It's effective.


              • #8
                I have not done a bare bones B&W project in years and I would love to get down back to basics and work on one.

                I recommend you to work with and pay special attention to white space and typography for contrast and weight.

                If you let me have a look at whatever draft you come up with, I'll be more than glad to collaborate with you on this.

                Good challenge.


                • #9
                  You'd be amazed at just how much you can learn from really focusing on a job like this.

                  Clarity. Hierarchy. Flow. Readability. Balance.

                  But mostly, solidly converyed communication of important information.

                  I for one am extremely grateful and appreciative to any organization that takes the time to do form work properly, and well.


                  • #10
                    Consider the stock as a vehicle to inhance boring or or bland copy. It's incredible how many stocks are avilable to choose from your printer. The only concern is to make sure the stock is from breakable cartons. If you need help, let me know. Check my web site @ *advertising link removed*. We can lend a hand.
                    Last edited by Virgo Nightingale; 05-27-2011, 09:28 AM.


                    • #11
                      Great advice Broacher. The type face of the headers become your art. Brilliant! Whoops. I'm gushing. You nailed it Broacher. Well done. Take heart days runaway. Let the type lead. Sometimes we forget to listen.
                      Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.


                      • #12
                        But I would encourage you to go for a three fold. That is certainly in your power ?
                        Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.


                        • #13
                          If you think of the list of the most commercially successful, popularized contemporary visual creatives of recent times, how many do you think worked mostly in black and white?






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