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How Important The Graphic Structure Inside?

The graphic structure inside a brochure is critical.

The graphic structure inside a brochure is critical

If the inside of our brochure is dull appears hard to read, we will lose a large part of our audience. When a prospect opens our brochure, there should be a clear pathway for the eye, from the most important to the least important elements. We’ll probably want to have one large main headline and several smaller ones. Keep those interested readers, the ones who only read the headlines, in mind. Even if our headlines can’t convert interested readers to serious readers, they still should give them enough information to create a lasting impression. Because interested readers are inclined to read picture captions, use them. We can also use ‘call out’ boxes, with excerpts from the text run in large type. Call out boxes work very well in brochures. They give us a second crack at those interested readers; if the headlines don’t interest them, perhaps the call out boxes will. Aside from graphic structure, there are a number of simple typographical techniques that will make brochures easy to read. Some of these techniques are based solely on reader perception. For instance, people believe that plain lowercase type is far more legible and pleasing than boldface lower case type. In fact, however, they are read at the same rate. But the use of plain lowercase type will make a brochure appear to require less reading time.

Avoiding all capitalized words, on the other hand, goes way beyond reader perception. Participants in one study ranked lowercase ahead of all caps in legibility and pleasingness. And they were right. Lowercase text is read 13.4% faster than text set in all caps.  When we read a line of lowercase words, the tops of the letters t,l,f,b and d and the bottoms of y,p,g,j and q give each word a distinct shape. Because these distinct shapes make words easier and faster to read, using lowercase is critical on brochure covers- we have just a few seconds to grab readers – or lose them.

Column width is also a major influence on legibility. Very wide columns are hard to read because the beginning of each line drops out of sight as a reader gets to the end. Our prospect has to make an effort to find the beginning of the correct line as the eye sweeps back from the line’s end. Very narrow columns also slow down readers, because the eye has to scan too rapidly, and rapid left to right eye movements are inefficient and uncomfortable. Research has found that for 10 point type, an 80 millimeter line or 18.6 picas is optimal.

Brochures should be designed with as few variations in type as possible. A set of carefully conceived graphic standards will help us build maximum legibility into all our brochures. Graphics standards also give our brochures a uniform look- which helps build recognition.

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