Brochure Project

Project Description:
This project deals with the design of a typical
informational rack brochure. Because of client
budget restrictions you are limited to a two color
solution.The use of spot color is important. Duo-tones
and other two color effects are acceptable.

This project is designed to give the student a realistic limitation and experience in using spot color as opposed to cmyk. Even though the use of full color/cmyk has increased drastically in recent years the effective use of spot color is still an important tool in the modern designers tool box. Back in the day (my day) when a designer had to fend off dinosaurs on his way to deliver the finished camera ready art to the printer, the spot color brochure was king! Now, there has been a reversal and the use of spot color is rare and seems to give young designers a real problem, particularly with pre-press production. The first step is knowing the difference in process/cmyk color and spot color. So, do your homework and figure it out! Nothing will give you a bad rep with your client or the printer quicker than giving them what is supposed to be a two color job and it turns out to be CMYK or worse RGB. Make sur all colors are selected from appropriate spot color sources like Pantone solid coated or uncoated selection guides. Make sure all placed files are converted to spot color files like duo-tones or grayscale. There are several pit falls in preparing the pre-press files, so ask a lot of questions and double-check everything before sending the files to the printer.

When you approach the design of a new project with limitations there are always challenges to overcome. Just because there is a limited budget, it should not limit your creativity in the solution. In fact, it should increase your creativity so your concept can carry the visual solution. When working with a limited color palette, make sure your color choices are personal, appropriate and interesting. Don’t forget about the paper, it is even more important with limited color usage. It can add a tactile element that can help compensate the limitation. It can also add an additional color. TIP: when you have a limitation of any kind, go back to the basics, i.e. if your limitation is color, go back to your Design Foundation classes and emphasise other elements like line, value, texture etc. to help compensate. If you have a weakness, play to your strength!

Here are a few really old school examples to get you started. You can do a lot better than these, so get to work!

For the SNU Brochure above a soft uncoated cover weight paper was chosen in a light tan color with a natural fleck texture to add warmth to the nostalgic photo. The photo was also printed using a fine mezzotint screen to add to the “old grainy quality” of the image and paper. The ink colors were a medium brown and a dark forest green.

For the Deaconess Brochure the ink color choices were medium blue and red printed on a standard white uncoated stock. Tints of the two colors were used to expand the color palette and enhance the illustrations. Many of the topics of the conference dealt with pregnancy and babies so the color selections and tints enhanced these topics.

Sometimes you can expand the limitations created by the lack of a budget by doing “hand work.” This only works when you need a small quantity or when you plan on dispensing the project in small increments over a long period of time. The HG Brochure is a prime example of this approach. This brochure was a promotional brochure that would be given to prospective clients, no mass mailing needed. There was absolutely no money for even a simple brochure and remember this was done well before “Desktop Publishing” so there was no computer or laser printer to print a small quantity. I had paper from a previous print job that went bad. The paper was pre-cut to a specific size and it was a medium gray color, making it hard to print any color other than black. So, with those limitations I decided to work bold with high contrast images. The images were created with a plain paper copier. I just placed the elements on the copier, put a white cloth over the element and the glass and copied them. This produced a high contrast B/W image that was easily visible on the gray paper. Since I didn’t need many of these brochures at any given time I decided to add pizzazz by hand coloring them. I used opaque drawing materials i.e. prisma colored pencils and prisma crayons to very loosely scribble color over the images. I used transparent marker and highlighters to add color to reversed headlines. Once I created a pattern that I was comfortable with my employees and I would spread out about 6 brochures at a time on our drawing tables and attack them in assemble line fashion. We would do 25-30 and when we would run out we would do more.

Just because it’s a small project with a small budget don’t settle for less than your best. There is an old saying that I usually quote when we are discussing portfolios “You’re only as good as your worst piece.” If you consider (and you should) that every piece you do is part of your portfolio then this really applies here. Good luck, knock my socks off!