There are many ways to promote a local small business, with print being one of the most effective. Even in today’s connected online world, print advertising remains a top choice for neighbourhood commerce.
However, whereas posting on social media is free, print requires an upfront cost. In fact, print can become quite expensive for cash-strapped startups. So how can small businesses take advantage of print without the large initial expense?
One way is to reduce your outlay is by skipping the cost of an outsourced designer. Oftentimes the actual design of a printed brochure is more expensive than the printing itself.
Therefore, taking the time to create your own design can halve the cost of small print promotions.
But as a non-designer, how can you create your own brochure designs? As it happens, there are a variety of online tools thrifty entrepreneurs can utilize. Some of which enable even the least tech-savvy to create professional-grade design work in just a matter of minutes.
Are you ready to discover these tools? If so, let’s begin…
Canva is a web-based design tool created specifically with non-designers in mind. You can create your own designs from a blank canvas, or you can choose a readymade template.
Canva has thousands of templates to make brochures, flyers, social media graphics and more. Everyone can use Canva for free, but there are some low-cost premium options. For example, if you’d like to kickstart your design with a professionally made template, you can buy one from their marketplace. Even with premium add-ons, the cost is still much lower than hiring a designer.
Speaking of web-based design tools, Adobe, the powerhouse of graphic design software and producers of heavyweight tools like Photoshop & Illustrator, recently introduced their own: Adobe Spark.
Adobe Spark is very similar to Canva, though in some respects much more powerful as it integrates with Adobe’s entire suite of apps.
Adobe Spark is free to use, but the free version includes the “Spark” logo in the corner of your final design. If you want to remove this watermark, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium account. They also have an iOS app for creating on-the-go!
Continuing with the theme of Adobe: For those of you who’re familiar with apps like Photoshop & Illustrator, downloading a PSD or Vector template could be a better choice.
Photoshop & Illustrator are incredibly powerful tools giving you greater flexibility over your final design – especially when compared to other online brochure makers. The trade-off is they’re a little more complex to use. Sites like BrandPacks, though, have hundreds of premium brochure templates to choose from in PSD & Vector format to make designing easier. They also have a large collection of freebies, including a full range of free trifold brochures. You’ll be stuck for choice!
StockLayouts is very similar to BrandPacks in that they offer readymade templates for third-party tools. StockLayouts offer templates for Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Microsoft Publisher, PowerPoint & More.
Most of the StockLayouts templates are only available as (quite expensive) paid downloads, but they do offer a small number of free samples. If you’re a heavy user and think you’ll find value in these templates, StockLayouts have a more cost-effective subscription option (though you’ll have to fork out up front!)
Venngage is another online brochure maker, but this time, unless you’re a student, there’s no free option. What I like about Venngage is the very simple user interface, though this can limit your design flexibility.
With Venngage, you can create a variety of design layouts – including brochures – but you must pay at least $19/month to join and save your designs. With that being said, $19 is still a huge saving on hiring a designer to create your brochures for you!
Visme’s suite of design tools is mainly targetted at presentations, charts & social media graphics, though they do also have an easy-to-use brochure maker.
Visme has a free plan but limits some of the things you can do – like the number of concurrent projects you can have. For most small businesses looking to create a quick brochure, this shouldn’t be a problem.
FlipSnack is a very cool tool which enables you to create a variety of multi-page booklets. These include brochures, lookbooks, magazines, brand books and more.
The primary purpose of FlipSnack is to create online hosted brochures & magazines, though you can download the PDF version and send it for print. You can use FlipSnack to create brochures with a free account, but you’ll be limited to just 30 pages. After 30 pages (which admittedly, is quite a lot!) the price goes up to $14/month. So again, still much cheaper than a designer!
Ready to create your own brochures?
It can be a daunting task as a non-designer to create your own brochures and other print materials from scratch.
But with today’s available range of low-cost (and even free) design tools geared towards small business owners, it’s worth giving it a try to see what you can create.
Heck, you might surprise yourself and save a bunch of pennies in the process!
About the author
Jen Smith is a Content Writer and Developer at Brandpacks. She loves working in the ever-changing world of digital and is fascinated by the role content plays in today’s marketing.