January 29, 2008

Doing a Brochure

I'm in the middle of dealing with a project to develop a brochure on behalf of a summer camp. In preparation for this task, I decided to do a little research. After, all, why reinvent this wheel? I decided to comb the Internet to see samples, using the terms "summer," "camp," and "brochure" on Google and restricting my search to PDF files only.

Oy vey! What a disaster. The majority were homemade affairs with little design quality. Clearly a lot of folks were building these in-house using either Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher or some other all-purpose program for amateurs. Typical examples can be seen here, here, and here. There were a few better ones, but none that were especially adventurous in design or layout. That is why I am looking forward to working with a professional designer on this current endeavor.

Still, because the summer camp decided to begin from scratch, the volunteer team devoted to this project needed to make some basic decisions. First was what kind of fold arrangement did we want. We looked a several choices, some of which were nicely illustrated at such sites as, of all places, the Library of Congress and Purdue University. As the discussion proceeded, the course of discussion turned to how brochures are handled by recipients. "Right-Angle Folds," for example, are ideal for creating handout posters, which at 5.5" x 8.5", will unfold into 11" x 17" posters; trifold and quarter-fold brochures, on the other hand, are better suited for personal use by individuals. Quarter folds from 8.5" x 14" (legal size), with their eight panels, will support more information than six-panel trifolds from 8.5" x 11" stocks.

Then there are questions of paper stocks and glosses in order to support the photographs that will need to go into the brochure. One interesting point that came up right away was the fact that most of the photographs taken at the camp during the summer with digital cameras are probably JPG files, and therefore use the RGB (red-green-blue) color space, ideally suited for computer terminal displays of data. Professional rinters, however, require CMYK (cyan-magenta-yellow-black)-based formats, such as TIFF. Conversion, however, does not seem to be a major issue with the right software in hand, although there may be some shifting around in color tones, nicely illustrated here.