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A good brochure.

Anyone can spend $50 on letterhead and business cards and call themselves a corporation. But a brochur proves you are in business and shows you're more than a fly-by-night operation," writes advertising consultant Robert Bly in The Copywriter's Handbook.

But what defines a good brochure? Al Samuelson, executive vice president and director of creative services for Keller-Crescent, says a brochure mustr be well-focused.

"A very good brochure is an extension of a client's marketing plan," Samuelson says. "It's just another arrow in the quiver to reach one of their target audiences. And when you're dealing with a very specific audience, a brochure demands that you be highly focused."

So, wel before a brochure design is committed to paper, the market needs to be defined. Samuelson says you have to ask who is your target and what the specific appeals of your product or service are.

Those at Keller-Crescent, based in Evansville, believe that it's important for a company's image to ne conveyed throughout all forms of advertising--print, radio, and television.

Samuelson says viewers may not remember the actual product being advertised, but the company's personality will be etched into their minds.

Still others believe it's the visual impact that rabs the audience members' attention and stays with them.

"Our society sees the most impressive, best-produced visual images, and they see thousands of them a day. You can't send somebody a Xeroxed copy of anything anymore and have it represent your corporation," says Kathleen Desmond, marketing strategist for the Pitcock Design Group in South Bend. "The brochure you use ot present you product or service bespeaks the level of

professionalism of your organization."

Desmond says a good brochure must be well-designed and sophisticated. And, she adds, sophisticated does not mean complicated.

One sales piece her firm designed for a French company with a South Bend manufacturing facility was as simple as a chid's storybook. It described the company's hand-held tools, showing different head configurations that performed unique jobs, such as drilling and boring. The brochure brought home an international advertising/design award for Pitcock Design.

Many other factors go into a well-designed brochure as well. Color is a key component. Ron Konkel, production manager of Communico, a subsidiary of the Indianapolis-based Jackson Group, says if there were four equally well-designed brochures lying on a table--a black and white, and then two-, a three- and a four color pieces--it would be the four-color brochure that attracts the most attention.

Bob Lipps Sr., owner of Lipps-National Printing in New Albany, says that 75 to 80 percent of the brochures his company prints are four color. "Everybody's going to color printing today to sell a product."

Terry Lucterhand, co-owner of Lafeyette Printing, says, "There will be even more use of four color by people who haven't had it accessible to them before. The cost to produce four color is coming down, and it has been for a while."

He says better technology is responsible. As presdes become quicker, the length of time it takes to produce a four-color piece declines. This translates into a price reduction for the project.

According to Luterhand, some people who used to rely on two-color printed material are gradually stepping up into the three-color piece. "The third color givres the designer the opportunity to use black ink as a third color." He says this is important for photographs, especially if they're not in four color. Brighter colors also are brought in as the third color to highlight a particular piece of information.

Typography is important as well. With many individuals jumping into desktop publishing, there are those who believe the quality of typographical composition is slipping. "People are just slapping type out on their Macs or PCs without much regard to typography," says Communico's Konkel. "In the past seven or eight years, the quality of type has gone down tremendously. I think you can do good type on desktop; you just have to know what you're doing."

"Macintosh computers have been a real controlling force," says Greg King of Design Printing of Indianapolis. "It's brought into the equation more amateur, untrained designers and more amateur art."

improperly spaced composition is one of the biggest flaws, King says. "Those people with a computer can put together a whole publication--brochure, newsletter, whatever--and it can have the right information, but it can look ratty because no professional has fine-tuned it."

Lipps and King recommend working with trained designers for something as important as a brochure. "Competent design and photography are expensive," Lipps says. "If you're going to have a brochure sell a product, it has to be professional looking because you are competing against someone else who may have had something done professionally." He recommends interviewing several designers before making a choice. He also says hiring a professional photographer is a must, because a photograph will only reproduce as well as its original.

"If you're going to reprint a brochure every year for five years, you should spend the money up-front to have it well designed," King says.

Design trends are ever-changing as well, and only those in the business can keep abreast of the latest developments in style, color and other factors that need to be considered with advertising of any kind. These trends are often set by the large advertising agencies in the nation, usually those based in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles.

"We're seeing the best work of the biggest agencies and the biggest marketing groups in world on television every night," says Pitcock's Desmond. "On a local leval your stuff needs to have every bit of that level of professionalism."

Andy Boydon, creative director of boydon and Youngblutt in Fort Wayne, says the advertising trends for the '90's call for a sensible approach. He cites the recent Saturn car commercials and the Apple Powerbook print ads.

"They're very straightforward, simply executed ads with normal people," Boydon says. "They've gotten rid of the big fancy celebrities coming out of limousines. It's a subtle, grassroots-America type of thing.

"Everything's gone sort of earthly in the '90's," Boydon continues. "Country is really hot again. People are going back to the basics. It's 'let's take care of the environment. Let's watch out for our children's future.' It catches on just like colors for office furniture or whatever. Everyone starts heading that certain direction."

Boydon and Youngblutt has won several Addy awards for its work, whcih captures much of this sentiment. The firs Addy came just six months after opening shop in July 1990. Boydon describes the award-winning designs as being very folksy, warm, friendly and very people-oriented.

Choosing a printer is very much like choosing a designer. It's important to shop around and check references. It's not wise to choose a print shop based merely on its size. Small shops may do showcase work and larger shops can often turn out unsatisfactory work. An industry association, Printing Industries of Illinois/Indiana, recently reported that "a total of 84.1 percent of graphic arts companies have 20 or fewer employees."

"There's such a myriad of printers and with a wide range of work that they're capable of," says King of Design Printing. "You've got such an unbelivable number of choices out there."

Window shopping is not the way to select a printing company either, King adds. Look beyond the front desk, he says. The behind-the-scenes personnel are as important as the sales staff.

"The technicians and the pressman can save your project at the last minute because they may see something you may not have," he says. 0You can have your project proofed to the hilt, but there's still the chance that something won't look right when you get all the colors together."

Quality and reliability are key factors when choosing a printer.

"Look at samples of the work and check references," says John Wurtsbaugh, manager of administration for United Graphics of Indiana. The Terre Haute-based printer services several local university publishing ventures and relies on good recommendations from clients to boost business.

High-quality products and quick delivery are keys to success for Exponent Publishers in Hagerstown. "We get more clients who have been dissatisfied with other printers because they've failed to meet promised delivery dates, than for any other reason," says the company's Mark Lagomarcino. He recommends not only checking on a printer's capabilitiesking, but its delivery track record as well.

"The economy doesn't determine your success in the printing business," he says. "It's producing a quality product with a quick turnaround."

And, of course, qualioty means getting the job done right the first time.

"There's always been a trend in the industry for printers to say, 'We stand behind our work. If you don't like it, we'll reprint it,'" King says. "But more and more in this day and age, as time-sensitive as anybody's product is, every day a brochure is late you may be missing sales. It's not the cost of the brochure, it's the opportunity lost by not having it."

Price shouldn't be a decisive factor either. "I can do a two-color business card, but so can the guy down the street, and cheaper," Wurtsbaugh says. "But it may not look half as good."

Ron Francis, chairman of Impressions, an Elkhart printing company, says there was a time when people were basing printer choice on pricing. "People were bidding more and more jobs," he says, "but now a lot of people are being driven by TQM--total quality management--and looking to building partnership and relationships with printers that can meet and even exceed their needs."

All printers agree that good rapport between designers and printers is an absolute must to ensure the success of a project.

"A lot of times designers are not very printer friendly, and they design stuff that is very difficult for printers to produce," United Graphics' Wurtsbaugh says.

Communico's Konkel agrees. "There are a lotr of designers fresh out of shcool that think they know all they need to know about design," he says. "Their designs look wonderful on the computer, but because they don't knwo how a press works, they can't get what they envision."

Jack Kerner, director of operations for Jackson Press, says, "There is an important relationship between the advertising agency, design firm and the printing organization. They have to have respect for each other's abilities. This is probably paramount."

Kerner says printers lend a practical view to the project as well. "They look at things more uniformly in terms of fit an d size."

Paper size, he says, could make as much as an 18 or 20 percent difference in a project cost. "The printer works the project back through the printing process to see how well the piece is going to be manufactured," he explains. "He may say, if you don't do this 9 1/4 by 12 3/4 inches, but as a 9-by-12-inch or 8 1/2-by-11-inch piece, it's much more cost-effective."

Communication is the key for getting your brochure designed and printed exactly the way you expect. Tell the people working for you upfront what you want, and discuss budget so everyone knows what they're working with. "Designers and printers are really willing to work with the client," Konkel says. "Unfortunately a lot of clients wait until the end to tell you."
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Title Annotation:Printing & Graphics; guidelines in selecting good company brochures
Author:Prata, Kathleen
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Oct 1, 1993
Previous Article:At your service.
Next Article:R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co.

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