So you just got handed the task of creating a brochure for your law firm. There are a couple of questions you need to answer before getting to far down the road. How are you going to print and distribute your brochure? On your desktop printer/copier, a local commercial printer, emailed PDF file? How much is your budget on this project? If you have more than zero dollars budgeted, keep reading. If your budget is zero, quickly find a way to pass this off to someone else.
You’re still reading. Okay, first and foremost do not try designing it yourself without a template. Trust me, operating design software is not the same as being a graphic designer. If you’re looking for a creative outlet, you will have lots of creative freedom with a well designed template and get compliments on your final product as well.
What is a template? Templates are professionally designed brochures within which you can place your own logo and information. Templates take many forms and most design software programs have their own templates.
Here is a basic rule, beware of the word “Free.” If you don't pay anything for the template chances are good that it's either a bad design or there is a catch somewhere along the line. It might be that you can only print the final design on your desktop printer or, worse yet, you spend hours putting the design together only to find that you can't save the file or print it at all without coughing up a credit card charge you didn't expect. I have found it is better to pay a fair price up front and have total flexibility to print on your desktop, a local printer, Internet printer or use it on the web.
When selecting a template don't limit yourself to the categories of law firm or professional. You might find a really terrific design that fits exactly your style in a totally off the wall category. Remember, your copy and logo will still be the focal point of the brochure.
Below are links for several reputable template vendors to get you started:
You will need some sort of design software to work within your template. The best software program to use is Adobe InDesign. It is flexible, powerful and consistent on many platforms. It is what the pros use, but it comes with a hefty price tag. If you can’t justify the expense of InDesign another option is Microsoft Publisher. You may already have it available as part of your Microsoft Office suite. Check your computer or ask your IT person. Publisher is not nearly as powerful as InDesign but it is somewhat easier to use. A warning – frustration can set in quickly with Publisher when objects don't behave as you would like. Remember, help is only the Internet away. Use it for quick tutorials and how-to tips. I would not recommend using Microsoft Word under any circumstances. While it is familiar and easy to use, the quality, flexibility and consistency are not adequate, especially for the novice. Also the specialty software packages like, PrintShop Pro, are also inconsistent and limiting. If you are using a local print shop to print your brochure, call them and ask for help. They should be more than willing to give you software advice.
Good luck and be prepared to spend a whole lot more time that you ever imagined. But the final results will be rewarding and personalized to your specific law firm.
Stan Anglen, Print Media and Production Manager