Brochures for dummies
January 4, 2006 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for brochure-making software needed.

I have two small businesses and want to advertise them with bi-fold and tri-fold brochures. I'm frustrated with Word, so now I'm looking for something simple and cheap to create the brochures. I really don't need templates, just something to easily format pages and add art. What works for you?
posted by sixpack to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
If you want simple and cheap, and you own Office, try Microsoft Publisher.
posted by Jairus at 11:34 AM on January 4, 2006

I've also used PowerPoint, believe it or not. Create a blank slide and you can insert text boxes and art galore.
posted by orangemiles at 11:43 AM on January 4, 2006

Or simply hire a local graphic design student, who will use professional level tools, type and images, and might be able to make something really terrific - for you as well as their portfolio.
posted by luriete at 11:59 AM on January 4, 2006

even cheaper is OpenOffice!
posted by blue_beetle at 12:40 PM on January 4, 2006

luriete has it. Save your time for something more important.
posted by i_cola at 1:00 PM on January 4, 2006

In line with luriete's excellent suggestion, check if any community college graphic arts programs are looking for a project. You get free or low-cost work, they get experience in the real world. Win-win.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 1:06 PM on January 4, 2006

Response by poster: Not to off-topic my own question, but I've got to tell you I'm tired of going to other people to do work for me. I am a strong believer that if you want it done right, do it yourself. I mean, isn't that what computers were supposed to be for?
Also, dammit, I want it done NOW. I've hired other people to do work for me. So far, I've found, they just won't get work done on my deadlines.
It's true, I'm wasting time trying to learn yet another software application. That's why I'm looking for something EZ. I'm a writer, I have a good eye for design, I shouldn't need to hire somebody else.
posted by sixpack at 1:10 PM on January 4, 2006

Scribus? It doesn't run on Windows, though.

There's Pages for the Mac. I have no direct experience with it but it purports to be a friendly layout program.

On Windows I think you're hosed unless you'd care to shell out hundreds of dollars for Quark xPress or Adobe InDesign. If you do want to pay for one of these apps, I can tell you that they're not all that hard to learn on your own, really.
posted by killdevil at 2:06 PM on January 4, 2006

Also sixpack, there's something to be said for owning the means of production, so I agree with your point of view above. It might not be a terrible idea to buy a professional software tool -- it's a one-time fixed cost, and then you're set to do your own layout work.
posted by killdevil at 2:09 PM on January 4, 2006

Then buy InDesign and do it yourself. If you are so adamant that no-one but you can do it right, stop being such a cheapskate. If you want it done right, you need the right tools.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:46 PM on January 4, 2006

Depending on what technology will be printing the leaflets, I also wouldn't rule out an image editing program like one of the cut-down versions of Photoshop or a solid consumer-level or shareware photoshop wannabee. You'll be able to do anything graphical, but you'll have to take some care you know what you're doing with regard to handling text and how the printer works - you don't want to end up trying to print raster textfrom a mediocre-definition image, or via a printer that requires font handling to achieve the definition sufficient for text. (Unless it's for photocopied leaflets, in which case anything will do :-)

Doing it the image-editor way obviously gives very powerful tools for the design layout and image/pretty elements of the brochure, but very weak tools for typographic layout - you'd want your copy already written in word, and to already know where it has to go when you paste it in, since you'll likely have to manually tweak stuff that programs like Quark Xpress automate.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:28 PM on January 4, 2006

Hire a professional. Having graphics or page layout software doesn't automatically make someone a good designer. And there's nothing worse for your business (or image) than handing out a crappy-looking brochure. It can make your whole business look less professional.

Think about it. Does having Word on your computer make you such a good writer that you're qualified to write for the New Yorker? If you buy a $5,000 digital SLR camera, will your photos suddenly be good enough for National Geographic? Doubtful.

I generally advise my clients to focus on what they do best, and leave the specialized stuff to the pros.
posted by wordwhiz at 7:49 AM on January 28, 2006

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