A PDF is the same thing as a digital brochure, right?

Question: In the last six months, have you sent an email telling a prospective or current client that “an overview of our services is attached?”

Welcome to 2021 where people are still working remotely and are more likely to receive a marketing brochure in their email inbox than be handed one in-person.

So why are so many companies still using that PDF or scanned version of their printed brochure instead of creating a new one exclusively for on-screen viewing?

While it is easier to use one you already have, that PDF may not be delivering the complete message you think it is. Viewers cannot see the full spreads of the brochure at once and cannot skim all the pages as easily as they can when holding a printed brochure in their hands, and since the eye tracks differently when reading on a screen versus reading a piece of paper, some of your critical information may be getting skipped over.

Below we’ll talk about a few things to consider as your look to revamp your brochure and bring it into this decade.

Content is still king

As with any brochure, print or digital, content and flow is still the most important thing. Before you begin the design process, audit your existing copy and determine if and how the copy needs to be updated or rearranged.

Break the copy into sections instead of pages, then step back and read only the headlines of each section to see if they flow together well and tell and cohesive story.

Understand how your audience will view the brochure then design it for their benefit

Is the majority of your audience sitting in front of a computer all day and more likely to view email attachments on their desktop? Or are they more mobile and tend to view attachments on their phone or tablet?

If your audience is likely to view the brochure on their computers, consider designing the brochure in landscape orientation. This allows you to utilize the entire screen to convey your message. Explore how the message flows across the screen and how the story and the design carries from slide to slide. Remember that mobile users will have to turn their device into landscape mode in order to comfortably read the brochure, so be sure to select a slide size that fits well on mobile devices.

If your audience is mostly viewing the brochure on their phone or tablets, stick with portrait mode but consider where the user will have to scroll. Try to section off your content and design to these areas. Explore fun ways to unite the design and story as the user scrolls; and don’t forget to use larger font sizes so the user doesn’t have to zoom in to read the copy. Avoid very long pages so that desktop users can easily navigate the brochure too.

Bigger font sizes are better

When designing for a screen, a bigger font size will always be better. The standard 12pt font size used in printed documents will cause the user to have to zoom in to comfortably read the content, resulting in more side-to-side scrolling and an awkward user experience. At a minimum, paragraph font should be 16pt and headline font should be 22pt. Explore various sizes for headlines, subheads, and callouts to add more emphasis to your message where necessary.

Benefits of a digital brochure

There are many benefits to developing a brochure purely for a digital environment besides creating a better user experience. It helps keep the cost down while making the company appear modern and up to date. There are numerous opportunities to customize the brochure for each target audience and update the brochure to include timely facts and figures since there are no printing costs to consider. And for companies who struggle with color inconsistencies when printing, a digital brochure makes it easier to stay on brand.

You also have the added benefits of clickable links, the ability to send as an attachment or have it live on your website, data tracking when used as part of a digital marketing campaign, or the ability to integrate motion and animation when combined with a third-party hosting service.

Bring your brochure into the new decade and ditch that print-ready PDF for a brochure better suited for today’s digital environment.

Pro-tips:

  • When exporting your brochure be sure the file size is under 10mb for easy emailing.
  • Name the file something the client would usually search for. Include your full company name in the file name, rather than a shorthand, unless the clients use the shorthand too.
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