Why Content Drives Collateral Design

For collateral materials like brochures, program books and annual reports, it’s content that drives design.  Without knowing the story content tells, it’s difficult for designers to figure out the most important elements of collateral design; how big will the piece be, what will it look like, how will the audience interact with it, what color palate will be most effective, will there be graphics or other visuals?

Share the story with your graphic design team

Content is the story. Graphic design is how you make it attractive and memorable.

Here is how the process should work:

Decide why you need a brochure and what you want the audience to do when they get it. Taylor your message to tell a powerful story and deliver a compelling ask.  Try to get to the point where there will be minimal if any text changes. Wholesale story changes often mean wholesale design changes and that can seriously impact design and production schedules.

Share the story with your graphic design team. Let them develop design comprehensives, including graphics and imagery. Choose the elements that work best—colors, imagery and shape that make the piece attractive and a layout the guides the audience through the story and inspires them to action. The tactile experience is also important, so designers will help choose the right paper and packaging for distribution.

Finally, think about your printer. You will want one that is particularly good at what you want to produce. What started with compelling content is now effectively doing the job of increasing sales or converting those on the sidelines into an army of supporters for your cause.

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